One first senses a disquieting buzzing sound

[Image: A glimpse of Chizhevsky Lessons by Micol Assaël; image courtesy of ArtForum].

Named after a Russian scientist “who explored the correlation between solar activity and historical events,” Chizhevsky Lessons is an art installation in Basel, Switzerland, by Micol Assaël.
The gallery it’s displayed in looks a bit like an empty room. You do see a series of copper plates hanging above you in space, and there’s a triangle, attached to wires, hovering alone in the center, like a Modernist chandelier.
But aside from those somewhat occultish pieces of interior decor, the place looks perfectly normal.
Still, it doesn’t feel right:

Upon entering, one first senses a disquieting buzz sound, followed by a tickling of the skin as one’s body hair stands on end. It’s the loaded atmosphere that precedes a thunderstorm, but re-created artificially with a cascade generator, a transformer, copper plates, and, hung three meters above the floor, a thin wire net that fills the room with negatively charged ions. One cannot help but experience an immediate physical reaction…

Sure, it’s basically just a huge science experiment – but I can’t stop myself wondering what a slightly less powerful, much more well-hidden model could do for you.
If you installed it in, say, a corporate board room: the CEO looks down upon her minions with derision and rage – because they didn’t finish the monthly report. As she speaks they hear a disquieting buzzing sound, followed by a tickling of the skin as one’s body hair stands on end…
It’d be like the Greek myths, reenacted through 21st century technology. The divine encounter: install six of these in St. Peter’s.
Or, for that matter, install one, secretly, in your bedroom – and wait for the sparks to fly.

(Thanks again to Dan Polsby!)

2 thoughts on “One first senses a disquieting buzzing sound”

  1. This should be installed in rain- themed amusement park rides, along with large banks of Tesla coils. Dangle a melting iceberg from the sky with helicopters and you could reproduce famous historic thunderstorms. Call it Weatherland.

    Aren’t negative charge ions supposed to be therapeutic? The CEO’s wrath resolves in a sense of relaxation and refreshment, and the hypercharged employees complete the tardy monthly report juts minutes after the meeting.

    Or, following Tesla’s proposition of wireless electricity, could you make the air around you into a battery through massive ionic charges?

  2. Correction: Rather than a helicopter, a zeppelin should dangle that iceberg. The airship’s top is an Olympic swimming pool full of several tons of dry ice, so in addition to rain there’s a bank of fog dropping from the sky, and it’s all freezing cold. This ride should be built in Arizona, where there’s already a large community of people who’ve moved there for therapeutic reasons and benefit from the dry desert air – while still fighting against heat stroke. Not only would the ride benefit the floundering zeppelin construction market, it would cool off the therapy/retirement community AND give them some treatments of negatively charged ions….

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