Ohrwurm Beschleuniger, 2004
Ohrwurm Collider

The German word „Ohrwurm“ stands for small insects. People believe that they crawl into human ears and start to live there ("earwigs“). But Ohrwurm also stands for a piece of music that you hear and you can’t forget anymore. Melodies that come back into your conciousness when you expect it the least. And you can’t let them go. They are strongly connected with your emotional state and flow of associations.

With the Ohrwurmbeschleuniger you can accelerate the development process of Earworms. You can operate the object like a commercial microwave oven. But instead of putting food into the oven, you have to focus your attention to the „Accelerator-Tube “ at the inside.


It is mounted instead of the rotary plate. Using the „Ohrwurmpipette“ (Earworm Pipette) to apply the Earworms to your ear, you can listen to the availabe Earworms. Therefor the Pipette must be very close to the ear. Two of the Earworms must be chosen for the process of acceleration (also referred to as “collision process”). At the outside of the Accelerator-Tube there are microwave-sensors which continuously measure the microwave field. During the process the Accelerator-Tube rotates according to the cooking program chosen. The cooking program also influences the microwave field inside the oven. If you choose for example „defrost“ the Tube rotates slowly and the field is rather weak. If you choose the highest cooking program the Accelerator-Tube rotates very fast and there is a stable 700Watt microwave field generated inside the oven.

a) Electric field magnitude at 2.45GHz
b) Pattern scanned by microwave sensors

During the collision process the two Earworms are accelerated and merged into each other. Their musical form destabilizes and they are fixed according to the pattern of the microwave field measured by the sensors. To start the acceleration process you have to choose the duration. The longer you choose to cook the deeper the Earworms are merged on a structural musical level. In order not to destroy the cultural material and with full respect for the beauty and value of each Earworm the process can only last up to 20 seconds. The result of the Collision is a new Earworm that has features of both of its ancestors and can be used in the next process. So it can be collided again with another one. Although many people think of the Ohrwurmbeschleuniger as a fake, it’s not.