aural architecture

Meditation102 installation @ The Yard (Handcock Tower) Boston MA

Shots from my recent installation for Non-Event’s 2018 Showcase @ The Yard (Handcock Tower) Boston, MA

As a meditation on home, this 2 channel installation piece incorporates location recordings made from inside the house. sounds include electronmagnetic recordings from blinking basement lights, water heaters, electronics, transmitted spaces with use of the intercom system, and voice (Alyssa Irizarry)":

“Floating—the tips of my toes grazing the ground. Almost, but not quite. Grounding. Getting to know the slope of crooked floors, the rattle of steamy bones, the smell of each corner. Imprinting on each other—creating new patterns, guided by floorboard grooves.”

Running time: 21.30 minutes.

Learn more about the event and the other artists whose work was also featured here.

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reflections of a thousand faces

Reflections of a Thousand Faces is a site-specific, 12-channel, generative sound installation in a stairwell in the Wiesner Building at MIT. 

For me this was first time working with multi-channel sound in both performance and installation settings. For this particular project, site-specificity was crucial in the understanding and experience of the 12-channel installation that sourced sounds from the stairwell. In order for the focus to be on the content, I designed the speaker mounts and wiring system to be as minimal as possible. Running the wire along the railings also helped ensure building occupants could egress without difficulty in the event of an emergency.

It’s more important to me to create a system or an environment where people can experience the sounds for themselves, without me adding any sort of meaning system beforehand. This is why I chose to invite users to walk the space while I performed, using the space as an instrument. The element of chance is also important, as the installation kept generating new sounds for a week. My work often explores space and place and its relation to the content being produced from and within it. Also, it is of interest to challenge traditional modes of how one receives a work of art. The fact that the stairwell is a public and liminal space impacted the generative nature of the sounds, making it a unique and ever-changing experience for anyone passing through.

Sound, by its very nature, is simultaneously now and always becoming. According to Salomé Voegelin, the listening experience engages us with life’s contingency as a dynamic process of embodiment. At a place like MIT, often facilitated by the incessant drive towards what lies beyond, there exists a confrontation with the present moment and the promise of the future. Further, this focus on the persistence of tradition concerning the production of knowledge occurs in spaces that are supported by complex building systems. Hidden away and inaccessible, these intricate sounding spaces employ various technologies that enable our architectural experience to exist as we know it.

The differences of now and then, here and there, and the beyond implies temporal movement, passage, and a notion of progress. Thus, the resonant space of a stairwell is explored, evoking ideas of evacuation, journey, and transition. This liminality refers to what Marc Augé called, a non-space. These non-spaces are not concerned with identity, and are void of relational and historical notions of definition. As such, the spectator-traveler experiences a disorientation that occurs throughout the journey. Reflections of a Thousand Faces is a multi-channel sound work that uses installation to probe a means of possible spatial reorientation. A tension occurs, and the suspension of time is a momentary detour that relocates a new experience, expands present circumstances of the space, and attempts to create a deeper relationship between listeners and their environment.

Concrete Antenna

A five minute introduction to Concrete Antenna – a sound installation and vinyl LP by Simon Kirby, Tommy Perman and Rob St John. For further info on the project please visit: concreteantenna.org

Louis Kahn - The Room, The Street & Human Agreement

"So sensitive is a room.

The plan is a society of rooms.

The rooms relate to each other to strengthen their own unique nature. The auditorium wants to be a violin. Its lobby is the violin case.

The society of rooms is the place where it is good to learn, good to live, good to work.

Open before us is the architect’s plan. Next to it is a sheet of music.

The architect fleetingly reads his composition as a structure of elements and spaces in their light.

The musician reads, with the same overallness, his composition as a structure of inseparable elements and spaces in sound.

A great musical composition is of such entity that when played conveys the feeling that all that was heard was assembled in a cloud over us. Nothing is gone as though time and sound have become a single image."

-This is an excerpt from an essay in A+U January, 1973

Bernhard Leitner’s Le Cylindre Sonore, 1987

Bernhard Leitner is an architect, sound artist, and researcher exploring the intersection of the aural and architectural. As one of the few physically built works of his, Le Cylindre Sonore operates within the landscape to enhance the sonic qualities of the environment. As one engages with the space by walking in and through it, one notes the change in acoustic characteristics of the area. He describes the project as, "a cylindric space that allows a concentrated listening of the place, a contemplative rediscovery of oneself in the transcendence of the place." This correlates well with a notion presented by sound theorist, Salome Voegelin in Sonic Possible Worlds:

"Listening to the landscape’s pluralities and possibilities, hearing the dense multiplicity of its mobile production, allows us to challenge the singularity of actuality and articulate a different sense of place and a different sense of self that lives in those possibilities and shows us how else things could be."

 

Sound Mirror

A sound/acoustic mirror is a structural instrument used to reflect and focus sound. Formally a Royal Airforce site, Denge is the location where numerous experimental listening apparatuses were built during WWI. The image to the right features a 30ft concrete dish that still retains the microphone pole at it's center. An individual would be located in a chamber below ground listening for any possible attacks.

The Sound Mirrors Project:

“The history of the sound mirrors is a story of research, trial and error that left a legacy of enigmatic, monolithic ruins, suggestive of previous civilizations and strange practices. The original acoustic mirrors listened to the sky in apprehension of an invasion; our continuing fascination comes from their very human atmosphere of longing and solitude. The mirrors seem to be yearning for contact, an image that is echoed in today’s radio telescopes, listening for extra terrestrial voices.”

aural architecture

"Whether it is snapping fingers, whistling notes, singing songs, or remaining silent, a space responds. The listener is immersed in the aural response of the space, as if in auditory dialogue with the environment. By responding to human presence, aural architecture is dynamic, reactive, and enveloping. In contrast, because humans do not have the means of creating the presence of light, a space does not react to our visual presence, but is only manifested through the interruption - as shadows or reflections."

- barry blesser & linda-ruth salter