At the recent Dumbo Art Under The Bridge Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y., I heard two rather amazing sound installations.
OrganicInterfaces is a collective of artists, scientists, engineers, and musicians and their installation, Mocean was a truly enveloping sound experience. Their Web Site describes it this way, Mocean is a site-specific sculptural sound environment. It consists of a large water tank and a forest of antique organ pipes...digital technology translates the (water's) ripple patterns into sounds played by the repurposed organ pipes, establishing a relationship between water and sound. For the DUMBO Art Festival, we used a 12-foot diameter swimming pool and some new technologies, expanding the range of possible interactions and sculptural interventions..."
At the DUMBO show, Mocean was located in a small warehouse garage, open to the street. Flat stones were placed in the pool to serve as a path for people to walk over. The organ pipes hanging from the ceiling were tuned to different pitches and their sounds were complex and surprisingly musical. I listened for quite a while and found the sound absolutely mesmerizing.
Actually, the best part was watching how different people reacted to the sound as they walked over the stones. Some realized their movements changed the sound, and they "played" the organ pipes by swaying their arms and moving about. Little children were the best; they were totally uninhibited about making weird sounds.
Then there was Ted Southern's sidewalk sound show. … Read more