Given.Taken. is an installation for one user at a time.
It is the first installment of Nicolas Hermansen’s “Cycle” trilogy, which aims to question our constitution as human kind. Given.Taken.
calls the primary layer of any human being to mind : its birth and its death.
Invited to participate at a masquerade, the user, ignorant of the plot, accepts his protagonist role. What seems to be at first an
interactive humanist game, or an echo of our youth (shall we play doctor?), suddenly transforms itself, through contrasts, into a crude
reality. The dialogical possibilities are annihilated; the almighty protagonist has to submit him/herself to a law (of life or from this
ephemeral installation?) that he/she will never dominate. The hidden machine is ready for a new cycle.
A part from the no time limit rule, no indications are given to the user when he/she enters the installation. It’s up to him/her to decide,
or not, to follow/obey the sign’s indication.
If obeyed and when first experienced, the word “cruel” and “disturbing” often come out as a way to express the reality check of our
own fragility. Listening becomes a perturbing factor. A heightened awareness for one’s own presence develops (auscultation from the
Greek ‘Auscultatio-onis” means ‘to listen attentively’). The new interpersonal communication created by hearing and thus materializing
our ‘inside’ confronts the user to a new perspective. The death notice just underlines what was intuited. The phrase “Listen to your
heart” now carries a double meaning.
Given.Taken. was made possible thanks to an artistic residency at
MediaEstruch - Fàbrica de Creació de les Arts en Viu, Ajuntament de Sabadell - Spain.
Given.Taken. was showcased to the public for the first time at Estruch Medialab - Sabadell, Spain in 2013
Title of the installation: Given.Taken.
Creation: Nicolas Hermansen
Video: Jeanne Leroy, Nicolas Hermansen
Max/Msp consulting: Lina Bautista
thank you to
Victor Molina, Oscar Abril Ascaso, Manel, Lina Bautista, Almudena Manzanal, Román Torre
video to be used for promotion: http//
Created with the support of MediaEstruch / Estruch - Fàbrica de Creació de les Arts en Viu, Ajuntament de Sabadell - Spain
Contact: Nicolas Hermansen - - tel: +32 470 255916 -
About the artist
Nicolas Hermansen is a Belgian director and sound performer. He has been highly influenced by Richard Foreman and the Ontological
Theatre whit whom he worked. Taking direct experience of the dramaturgical compositional techniques and the way to treat sound for
the stage by the north-American director.
Nicolas Hermansen has a Bachelor degree in Theatre studies ‘DAMS’ (Italy, university of Bologna) and a Master degree in Theatre
Directing from the Insitut del Teatre (Spain, Barcelona). He obtained an Associate degree in sound engineering from Full-Sail University
(USA) and has followed various workshops by the likes of Michele Monetta (mime, ICRA project), Domenico Castaldo (actor, movement),
Fabrizia Baresi (voice training) and Enzo Pezzella (danse, movement).
As an actor, he was part of the cast of Terra di racconti (2001 Teatro del Crack, IT), Notte Silenziosa (2002Tra un atto e l’altro, IT), Fellini’s
party (2003 Fondazione Federico Fellini, Festival Federico Fellini, IT). As a Director assistant he has worked on Quando Teresa si arrabiò
con Dio (2002/2003 A. Malfitano Company, IT) and Affetti(Malati) (2005/2006, IT).
As said previously he worked as an assistant for the Ontological Theatre / Richard Foreman on Panic, How to be happy, (2002/2003 USA).
He created various sound, light and video creations in collaboration with various artists: Lady Macbeth (2002, A. Malfitano, IT), Hambre
(2003 Nicola Laudati dance company, IT), Donne resitenti (2004 Francesca Mazza, IT), Nero Fuoco (2007 Francesca Mazza, IT), Christine
(2008, Els Mullats, ESP).
In 2010 he directed Atraco Poético in Spain. In 2011 he worked as a choreograph assistant for Musicolèpsia (Rapsòdia per a set putes,
Lanonima Imperial company, ESP) presented at the Catalan National Theatre. In 2012, he directed his second creation: Matèria Viva
where sounds (on top of music) are used to evoke emotive feelings.
Given.Taken is his first interactive installation and is the first installment of his “Cycle” Trilogy.
2013 will also see the birth of a new sound and dance piece called “Sampling” in collaboration with the Spanish dancer Lorena Nogal
Technical rider
Project’s explanatory video: (only for programmers and production purposes. Please do not use for promotion)
Equipment to be provided by the hosting organization:
1x Audio mixer with minimum 2ch. line inputs and 3 band EQ per channel (ex: Mackie 1402, Soundcraft EFX 12, Behringer Xenyx
2x Video projectors SXGA with minimum 3000 lumens 500:1 contrast and 1 VGA input (ex: BenQ MW663, Hitachi CPX417…)
2x Ceiling mounting devices specific to the projectors brand (see plans for locations of the projectors in the room)
1x Auto amplified Subwoofer 70W RMS (recommended: Genelec 7050BP)
1x Auto amplified speaker, power rating LF 40W RMS, HF 40W RMS (recommended: Genelec 8030A, it needs to be a high quality
monitor with a small form factor)
1x Small A4 laser or inkjet printer Mac OSX and USB compatible (ex: HP deskjet 1000)
1x Ceiling mounting device adapted to the printer model provided
2x PAR 36 lights
1x Ceiling mounting device for the 2x par 36
1x MacBook Pro with minimum OSX 10.7, Max/MSP 6.1 and Jitter installed
Various cables to connect the audio and video system (XLR, ¼”, VGA…). Take notice that one XLR needs to be long enough to allow the
microphone to be hanged from the ceiling (see plans for details). Same applies for the VGA cables
Various IEC and AC cables to connect the various elements of the installation
Equipment to be provided by the artist:
1x microphone Behringer C2
1x Macbook pro with Ableton Live 9 installed and Max/MSP
1x Behringer DSP shark 110 Microphone amplifier and feedback destroyer
1x “Listen to your heart” sign (100cmx20cmx4cm)
1x Neon light (30 cm)
1x Apple airport express WIFI printer connection
1x Stethoscope head
2x red light filters
2x USB soundcard
Technical description
Given.taken. is an interactive installation for one user at a time.
The user is invited to enter a dark closed room. Inside there are 2 illuminated objects: a sign located on the floor (illuminated by the
neon light), that says "Listen to your heart" and a stethoscope connected to the Behringer C2 microphone lit from above by the 2
The user can wander around or do what the sign says: "listen to your heart". When the user puts the stethoscope on his chest, the
system (MAX/MSP patch) of the second Macbook Pro will register the start time (in HH:MM:SS) and will start reproducing (the first
Macbook Pro is used for sound processing) the user's heartbeat in the room through the mixer, monitor and subwoofer.
If the user listens to his heart (i.e.: leaves the stethoscope on his chest) for more than 30 seconds (if he doesn't the system will stop) a
pre-recorded 3d ultrasound of a fetus will be displayed with the 2 projectors (connected to the second Macboo Pro and controlled by
Max/MSP-Jitter) located on the ceiling on the installation' side walls (side walls must be of light color, better if white or light grey).
When the user decides to take the stethoscope off his chest, the system will stop the audio, the video and register the end time of the
A death notice will then fall from the ceiling through the printer (connection between printer and Macbook pro via wifi). The user can
exit the room or start a new cycle. The system auto re-starts itself.
Required spaces
ideal room: Closed dark empty room with light colored walls, white or light grey best (a room that can be isolated from the exterior
surroundings and from exterior light (curtains to isolate from light is acceptable. [ex: a room that can be closed by a door and windows
with darkening shades]), the project can’t share space with other installations).
7 meters by 6 meters and minimum 4,5 meters of height. I can adapt the project to other formats, but it needs to be able to be isolated.
Machine room: A space adjacent to the installation room to install the 2 computers, the mixer and the preamp. It could be installed in
the installation room if a closet is provided to hide these elements.
Technical requirements
- Ceiling structure that can support the weight of 2 projectors, 2 PAR36, a printer and a microphone.
- Hanging system for 2 projectors, 2 PAR36, a printer and a microphone
- A room with light colored walls, white or light grey best. Use of curtains to isolate from light is acceptable.
- 1x (one) full day (8h) prior to exhibition to install the elements and to tune the system for the room
Required assistance during installment:
2 (two) technicians to mount the various elements from the ceiling and to help with connections of the system
Required assistance during the exhibition:
1 (one) person to control the flow of the entrance/public, since it’s a one person at a time installation with no time limit.
Number of people coming with the artwork:
1 (one) person - Nicolas Hermansen
Dimension and weight of the work
1 (one) case 120cm x 60cm x 20cm - 15kg