When you open the door to the Lower Gallery at Modern Art Oxford and enter The Dark Pool instillation that encompasses the entire room, you feel you are intruding on someone’s private space.

It seems indecent to go further — yet something compels you to wander in. Is it the intermittent sound of banging water pipes or the whispering voices that invites you to explore? Perhaps it’s the sight of open books, cake crumbs upon a plate, garments swinging casually from a cloths rack and the everyday detritus littering the space that pulls you into this abandoned room? But is it abandoned, or is something or someone haunting this room? If it were empty, fragments of sound would not follow the intruder as they do, and at the most unexpected moments.

Without question this is a most intriguing work of art — as are the rest of the installations that will be on show at the gallery until January 18 next year.

The Dark Pool (1995) is one of seven installations created for the exhibition The House of Books Has No Windows by the internationally acclaimed artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. They have not been exhibited in the UK before. The couple are known for their immersive, hypnotic installations involving sound, images and sculptural environments that engage the viewer’s senses.

Opera For a Small Room, on show in the Upper Gallery, has to be approached in complete darkness. Only when you press your nose against the glass window of a small shed do you see the thousands of second-hand records, record players and speakers placed together to suggest the owner has just left for a moment. Sounds of rain, trains and the fragmented musings of an opera lover add their own dimension.

Walk on, once your eyes have adjusted to the darkness and you encounter The Muriel Lake Incident (1999), which allows you to look at a miniature theatre, hearing the sound of a full movie recorded inside a large cinema. Then you reach The House of Books Has No Windows (2008) created from 5,000 books, which was made especially for this exhibition. There are no subtle surprises here. This really is a house of books.

But the best is yet to come. Walk on and you will encounter The Killing Machine (2007). A large red button invites us to press it, thus starting the action. That’s a difficult one. Do you really want to press a button that governs a machine with the power to kill? Press it and robotic arms begin to dance backwards and forwards towards what could be a dentist’s chair. It’s a hypnotic, mesmerising scene, particularly when the music intensifies and the robotic arms become more and more aggressive, stabbing and stabbing at the empty chair. And all because you obeyed instructions and pressed a button!