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Temple made of speakers a modern Delphi oracle

Call 1-800-greek-temple. Artist Benoit Maubrey models a giant public sound sculpture on the temple built at the famed site of the Delphic oracle.

Modern Delphi Temple
Benoit Maubrey

How do you create a 21st century version of an ancient Greek temple? How about building it from a giant pile of old electronics and making it talk?

For his electro-acoustic sculpture "Temple," artist Benoit Maubrey compiled 3,000 recycled loudspeakers, 10 recycled amplifiers, 10 recycled radios/tuners, and a mixing board and soldered the gear into a replica of part of the Greek temple at Delphi. The modern-day temple stands outside the ZKM center for art and media in Karlsruhe, Germany, where it will remain through March of next year as part of an exhibit on sound as art.

The sound, in this case, is white noise punctuated by the voices of people who call in to a German telephone number (072-1810-01818) that automatically broadcasts their musings through the sculpture's loudspeakers as if through an answering machine. Anyone can call in, and they can talk for up to three minutes.

Maubrey is director of Die Audio Gruppe, a Berlin-based art group that builds and performs with electronic clothes.

His Temple measures 23 feet high by 46 feet wide and is shaped just like the tholos at Delphi built between 380 and 360 BC. In ancient times, circular buildings called tholoi served as sacred sites for communicating with the gods, and Delphi is probably best known for the oracle at the sanctuary that was dedicated to Apollo, god of music, poetry, light, knowledge, and more, during the classical period.

Maubrey's temple, it should be noted, isn't dedicated to any deity in particular -- unless, of course, you worship the god of gadgets.

Building Temple
Assorted electronics parts, including thousands of used loudspeakers, went into Benoit Maubrey's sound sculpture. Benoit Maubrey