I Am Sitting in a High- Dimensional Room

by Philipp Schmitt and Anina Rubin,
in collaboration with Dr. Felipe Orduña Bustamante

Listen to the Conversation

Presented in association with 1014

The sound simulation takes the listener into a high- dimensional space extending in many more dimensions than the three you are now in.


The piece is based on American composer Alvin Lucier’s seminal work “I Am Sitting In A Room.” Lucier explored the acoustic properties of three-dimensional, physical space by tape-recording a spoken text in a room. He then played the recording back into the room and recorded again, and again, repeating the cycle until only the natural resonant frequencies of the room remain, articulated by speech.

In “I Am Sitting In A High-Dimensional Room,” the artists leave the physical world behind. Narrated by a neural-network-synthesized voice and performed in a high-dimensional room simulation by Dr. Felipe Orduña Bustamante, the piece offers a sonic experience of an invisible, unimaginable space. As high- dimensional, mathematical spaces underpin, for example, artificially-intelligent neural networks, the work alludes to dematerialization and abstraction in contemporary science and technology, as well as the virtualization of culture during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet the Artists:

Philipp Schmitt (b. 1993, Germany) is an artist, a designer, and creative researcher based in Brooklyn, USA. His practice engages with the philosophical, poetic, and political dimensions of computation. Philipp’s works include installations, artist books, websites, photography, and sound. Philipp’s work has been exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery London, Philadelphia Museum of Art, MAK Vienna, Science Gallery Dublin, Link Art Center, and Triennale Milano. It is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Ars Electronica Center and the MoMA Library. Currently, Philipp is a Berggruen Institute ToftH Researcher at NYU Center for Data Science.

Anina Rubin (b. 1988) is a Luxemburgish-German media artist whose works focus on the presence and effects of sound, voice and story-telling. She uses computers, high tech media and instruments, including her voice, to pursue and develop her projects. She studied languages, photography and media art in Berlin and Karlsruhe, Germany. Her works have been shown in many countries, amongst the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Tate Modern in London or the ZKM in Karlsruhe.

Dr. Felipe Orduña Bustamante is a Professor at the Acoustics and Vibration Group at ICAT-UNAM, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He holds a BSc degree in Physics (UNAM, 1987), as well as MSc and PhD degrees in Sound and Vibration (University of Southampton, UK, 1990, 1995). His research topics include Acoustic Instrumentation, Acoustic Measurements, Signal Processing, Musical Acoustics, and Music Technology, author of numerous peer review journal publications, congress papers, technical reports, and international patents. He is an amateur musician, player of the classical guitar, baroque transverse flute, recorder, early and electronic keyboards, and choral singer.