Emperor Worm

Emperor Worm is an interactive sound installation by Imre Mark Petkov, Morten Poulsen and Jens Bugay-Hovgaard.
“The two men are discussing something. Their voices are muffled by the breathing apparatus of their hazmat suits and the constant whir of the small portable power generator. The one who is not short holds some sort of device with a small screen. The one who is not tall takes notes with a pencil. Now they both look at the cluster of metallic worms hanging from the ceiling. The worms are nested in cylindrical tubes once part of the now defunct ventilation system spanning through the entire complex. Their surface glossy, gelatinous. The one who is not short gestures at the worms with his pencil. The one who is not tall hesitates. It is his turn. His partner insists. The worms are waiting. His partner nods. The one who is not tall reaches out towards the worm with one hand, holding the device in the other. He holds still for a moment. His partner nods. He reaches further. The worms lash out at him, writhing hysterically. A high pitched metallic scream echoes through the now defunct ventilation system. The motion subsidies. Only the dust stirs in the glare of the cold, fluorescent light. The one who is not short takes notes with a pencil…”


The installation is presented in the narrative frame of a “techno biological” field research, investigating an infestation of a fictional creature, the Tremastoma Imperatoris aka. Emperor Worm. It was conceived specifically for the post-industrial setting of the Mørke Dage Festival. The three artists transform the exhibition space into a nesting ground of an eerily organic machine organisms of a dystopian future. Long spirals of metal drill shavings are suspended from the ceiling, brought to life by electric actuators and capacitive sensors. These worms react to human proximity, shaking and convulsing, with the vibration of the animated scrap metal processed and amplified, creating a thick industrial soundscape of noise. The installation is a speculative take on the future of nature in a world of machines, twisting the tropes dystopian science fiction, investigating what highly evolved synthetic life-forms would see as primitive organisms on their terms.


Exhibition history:
– Mørke Dage pre-event 23rd of January 2015
– Mørke Dage Festival 23rd and 24th of October 2015


Photo by Lise Johansson.


Emperor Worm at Mørke Dage 2015 was supported by KulturKanten.