Relay Room is an experiential sound sculpture installed in the freight elevator at the east end of the 401 Richmond Street West building.
Completely lined (walls, floor and ceiling) with 128 relays and electromagnets that work with a MIDI computer control to produce a full range of percussive sound timbres, the "room" becomes a sonic environment that immerses the body in waves of sound coming from above, behind, beneath, beside and in front. Small lights have been added to each relay to visually enhance the sound patterns heard, and the piece is exhibited in complete darkness.
Relay Room uses technology to push forward and backward at the same time – mixing the high-tech of the computer with the low-tech of the relays and electromagnets, and using electronics to emphasize the physical or mechanical action taking place.
Laura Kikauka was born in 1963 to Latvian parents in Hamilton, Canada, and at an early age could usually be found playing with her father's art supplies while in her mother's glamour wear. She found sanction in the arts and found that making art was not a choice, but rather a destiny.
Upon graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1984, she received the Lieutenant Governor's Medal and the Joan Chalmers Scholarship and then became an instructor of courses in technology for artists at OCA.
In 1992 she moved with Gordon Monahan to Berlin. Here she discovered she was a techno-nymph and profi-bastler, among other things. Her Berlin projects include The Funny Farm East, her ongoing "personalization" of her living and working environment, the stage design for Chrisoph Schlingensief's Shlacht un Europa at the Volksbuhne (1997) and numerous installations that function as social meeting places and "irritainment." Kikauka has toured her work throughout North America and Europe.