Making inaudible sound visible

To round off the 2023 Artist in Residence project in style, the participating students wanted their audience to experience something very special in the Blauwe Zaal of the Auditorium. Something that nobody experienced ever before. That’s also what Gover Meit (FKA Stefano Keizers AKA Donnie Ronnie) set out to do with ‘his’ students after all. He took them on a creative journey through the artistic landscape, although it wasn’t always clear who was in charge of what. “The whole project was very vague.”

photo Maud Staassen

Ben Esseling is one of the 22 participants. Prior to the closing performance, he tried to explain to Cursor how he experienced the creative expedition. “The whole project was very vague. That’s probably the best way to describe it. But all in all I’m very positive; I experienced things I never did before.” Which is the exact point of departure for the journey the group was taken on by Meit. Although to be fair, the group pretty much carved out its own journey, Esseling says. “Gover is a scatterbrain, to put it mildly, and I don’t think he himself knew what he was going to do. For me, that was great to see. I found it appealing that he’s as free as can be.”

That freedom is a huge contrast with the way in which Esseling spent the past few years. After rounding off a double bachelor’s degree (Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics) and sitting on the board of two student teams, his only current commitment is being a member of Studium Generale’s film committee. “As I’m in a bit more of a quiet place at the moment, I wanted to get to know someone who has a totally different take on life. Gover behaves exactly like he does on TV. He yanked us out of our comfort zones and we had a lot of fun learning about art and the duality contained therein.”


The project is called ‘Creativity beyond Borders’ and consisted of ten sessions. At each of them, it was entirely uncertain what would happen. The group, for instance, visited the Verbeke Foundation near Antwerp, talked to one of the light artists participating in GLOW, sang karaoke and played a trading game.

Evi Kulker, who is enrolled in two master’s programs (Human Technology Interaction & Data Science and AI) and just launched a dancing school, also found that unpredictability appealing. “I like to plan things out, because of my studies and the dancing courses I teach. It’s difficult to be spontaneous under those circumstances. Stefano has an entirely different approach. And what I also wanted to learn from him was to stand in front of a crowd of people and entertain and inspire them.”


In the Blauwe Zaal, Meit addresses those gathered with the greatest of ease. “I still can’t believe Studium Generale thought it was a good idea to get me to be their Artist in Residence. The students here are hard workers and take a very pragmatic approach to my questions. If I ask them for an example of a bad experience, they might say ‘waiting’. If I ask them what waiting is, they say ‘a waste of time’. If I ask them what love is, they resort to Google. ‘Love is emotion plus feeling,’ the answer will come back, leaving me in amazement.”

The artist promises us a science experiment like nobody has ever experienced. He had the students delve into the science behind optical illusions and Thijs Jenneskens presents the findings. He makes reference to Hering’s color theory, the McGurk effect and ultrasounds, providing a background to the sensory contradiction we’ll soon experience.

On the podium, there’s a blank piece of paper. Meit plays inaudible sounds on his laptop. Nobody in the room is sitting down. Everyone has been asked to stand up and stare at the white sheet until they see it change color. Once they do, they have to sit down. According to Meit, this means they’ll have seen the inaudible sound.

After five minutes, over half the audience is sitting down, but I’m not among them. According to Meit, it’s because of the background noise caused by the air circulation in the Blauwe Zaal that the experiment wasn’t a success for everyone. People that are seated say they saw blue, something dark, greenish, violet. Esseling participated in the experiment before, in a room in MetaForum. “There I saw a light yellow to ochre-ish shade, a bit different from the blue people say they saw here. It would seem the acoustics in MetaForum were better.”

To me, it would seem there’s a reason it’s called the Blauwe Zaal (blue room).

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