Reaching Towards Stillness, Falling Into Sound

Reaching Towards Stillness, Falling Into Sound is a site specific sound installation with wall reliefs, programming, hand-built circuitry, and handheld sculptures.  Participants interact with a moving soundtrack and handheld and wearable sculptures to “make” the installation by playing the space, using touch-based sound to sculpt their experience.  Embedded piezo speakers, custom-designed circuits, and programmed Arduino microcontrollers drive sound through a set of wall-hung, modular, topographic, wooden sculptures, one sixteen feet, two eight feet, and one four feet in length in one arrangement.  Patched together, the sculptures create a system that feeds off the noises, actions, and gestures of participants through sensors and microphones, accumulating and remaking them.

Participants use Listening Periscopes,  handheld, custom-built sculptures that direct and amplify sound, and Finger-tip Amplifiers to explore modular, wall-sized topographies shaped from recycled wood and embedded with handmade speakers; the covered walls and floor resonate with the re-mix of sounds produced by viewers acting in the space.

The sound for this installation was made in collaboration with sound artist AJent O.

I designed and built custom relay circuits inside the sculptures to move and shift sound across the surfaces of the entire space.

Instead of just using a device, the viewers’ bodies become extended through a device and their movements are a trigger that alters the experience. Participants explore the boundaries of their bodies in a living environment through the very acts of listening and making sound.  Instead of distancing them from their bodies, viewers are aware of how entangled they really are as they use technology and how blurry the boundaries are between “natural” and “produced” as they feel and sound their way over the sculpted, sensual surfaces of the walls and floors.

This project was partially supported by a grant from the Albert P. Weisman Award, a private trust affiliated with Columbia College Chicago



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