To understand our culture fully, we must understand our noise. Odland and Auinger decode the urban culture from a hearing perspective. They've listened for three decades to the cultural waveform. Cities live. O+A add harmonic structure and resonance.
O+A Sound Stories are a collection of short videos created over the years while working together on projects. On the one hand, the videos talk about acoustic and psychoacoustic phenomena, musical situations, and how we operate and explore. On the other hand, they question our mostly urban living environments with a Hearing Perspective and Thinking With Your Ears.
This Sound Installation for Europaallee in Zurich opened in September of 2020, turning ambient city noise into a field of harmony. A humane gesture to the ears of the public in the new walking street at the heart of the city.
July 14, 2017 Rotunda and Palace of Galerius, Thessaloniki, Greece July 15 –September 17, 2017 State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki
Arseny Avraamov’s Symphony of Sirens (1919–1923) is a sonic legend, a gigantic public event that was impossible to record or to transmit. Text scores and some articles by its creator—an eccentric author, composer, researcher, and inventor—are all that remain. Symphony of Sirens is a beautified translation, the original title, Symphony of Factory Horns, refers to the steam powered timekeepers of the modern industrial age. Fascinated by the noises of the future, Avraamov employed all of the “modern” sounds available to him—military boats, artillery, guns, locomotives, and hydroplanes—which transformed entire cities into enormous musical instruments or gigantic orchestras conducted by Avraamov from telegraph poles. The symphony was conceived to celebrate the 1917 October Revolution, passionately producing as much “modern” sound as possible.
Today, we choose to listen. Almost one hundred years later, O+A reflects upon Avraamov’s sounds of the future, transformed into the present by listening to our machine-dominated soundscapes and tuning them. Interested in the history of noise and silence as part of their practice, the artists research the sonic sites of Thessaloniki and its noise and soundscapes. Their Symphony of Resonances consists of three parts.
Friday July 14, 2017 4–10 pm, Rotunda and Palace of Galerius Thessaloniki
Prelude, Tuning the Ruins Taking place in Navarino Square, where Roman ruins are tightly surrounded by densely packed 1960s and 1970s apartment blocks, A+O use this built environment as their “resonating chamber,” activating the ruins of the Palace of Galerius with the sounds of today’s Thessaloniki, reduced to harmonic proportions through their “tuning tube.” We listen to harmonically tuned “modern” noises—sound waves from traffic, jets, motorcycles, the entire swarm of activity produced by large cities today. Sound – Thomas Koch
Friday July 14, 2017 Requiem for the Extraction Economy Performance for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass soloists, and the eight-channel Orchestra of Cities 9 pm, Rotunda of Galerius
The Rotunda is one of a few buildings that remained intact after Thessaloniki was destroyed by fire in 1917. Having been used as a mausoleum, a church, and a mosque, it is ideally suited for the resonance of the human voice—chanting or in song. The scale of four perfectly matched unamplified human voices within this space will be in a dramatic struggle with the recorded resonances of the city. Singers – Sarah Chalfy – soprano, Hai-Ting Chinn – mezzo-soprano, Christopher Sokolowski – tenor, Mark Sans Uhleman – bass. Sound – Mark Fuller Orchestra of Cities – Sam Auinger, Conductor – Bruce Odland
July 15–September 17, 2017 Coda by O+A State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki Coda will be played at the State Museum of Contemporary Art, which holds the Costakis Collection of works from the Russian avant-garde, one of the most remarkable examples of the migration of modernism. Assembled by George Costakis at a time when avant-garde was outlawed in Russia, the collection includes rare archival material on musical experiments of the avant-garde artists. O+A’s Coda will resonate in museum’s space until September 17th, the closing date of documenta 14 in Kassel.
About O+A (Bruce Odland / Sam Auinger) O+A have been listening to and recording the sounds of modernity in cities around the world for thirty years. They believe that we will not understand ourselves until we understand our noise. In the 1990s they began using “tuning tubes” to transform city noise into harmony, and find musical information in the sounds of daily life. They soon realized that they were listening to the music of the human hive, the rhythms of rush hours, the pulse of the economy.
Curated by Elena Sorokina and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung Organization documenta 14 | City of Thessaloniki – Department of Culture and Tourism | State Museum of Contemporary Art | Artecitya by Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki | Artecitya by Helexpo | ArtBOX Creative Arts Management
Support General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage |– Ephorate of Antiquities, Thessaloniki | Bundeskanzleramt Österreich | Kulturland Oberösterreich | Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) | Creative Europe program from the European Commission
May 8, 2017 – September 5, 2017 Ruggles Station, Boston, MA
O+A tuned the soundscapes of two communities adjacent to Boston’s Ruggles Station, and created fields of harmony connecting Lower Roxbury, and Northeastern University. The installation was part of the Gardner Museum’s “Listen Hear: The Art of Sound, and was sponsored by Goethe Institut Boston and Northeastern University.
A tuning tube placed at Haley House Cafe in Lower Roxbury generates harmonic resonance in response to the human-scale sound environment of voices, bicycles, cars, occasional buses and the buoyant community scene at this location. A microphone placed at a harmonic interval within the tube transfers the signal in real-time through the internet to speakers on the large wall at the Northeastern University entrance to Ruggles station. A plane of gently tuned harmonic sound from Lower Roxbury emanates in real-time from this wall, functioning as a community gateway, and a new sonic identity that aids in way finding. The real-time harmonic sound plays in the entrance to Haley House Cafe as well.
A tuning tube placed above the entrance to Shillman Hall on the Northeastern campus generates a harmonic series in response to the soundscape of the open green space with its many passing students and activities and the distant arrivals and departures of trains and buses from the nearby station. These harmonized sounds are played in real-time from the vaulted ceiling over the exit towards Lower Roxbury, creating a harmonic identity and way finding sound-field on the southeast end of Ruggles Station.
By collecting human scaled activities from Northeastern and Lower Roxbury – essentially severed by the architecture and functionality of the station – and sending tuned versions to the other side of the station, O+A hope to create a sonic conduit between the communities meanwhile altering the sonic identity of the station itself with a harmonic transformation in scale with human perception.
The 7 red objects are special made speakers to project the transfer sound from Haley House Cafe on the huge wall at Ruggels Station
A sound installation by O+A (Bruce Odland / Sam Auinger) at Laboratorio Arte Alameda / Mexico City
Resonating Mexico City was part of the exhibition “Zwischen den Grenzen / entre limites” produced by the Goethe Institut Mexico and singuhr – projects Berlin as part of the dual cultural year „Germany/Mexico“.
The Site The Laboratorio Arte Alameda is a center for contemporary art in Mexico City. It is located in a former Catholic church built in the late 16th century, historically significant as a main headquarters of the Spanish inquisition. Today this institute finds itself at the center of cultural and economical change in this mega city. The Cathedral is surrounded by Central Park Alameda, a busy market area, two major thoroughfares (Paseo de la Reforma and Av. Hidalgo), a metrobus-station, a subway station, and a helipad for a news headquarters.
The Installation A “Tuning Tube” was installed on the roof of the church overlooking this active sound environment in order to reduce all surrounding sounds to an resonating overtone series in E flat. (As if the city was playing a vast digeridu) A microphone placed at a harmonic node in the tube, sent real time audio from the tube to a mix position in the Cathedral. This single channel was split into 6 separate feeds which were equalized and tuned to both the special speaker systems, and the very specific attributes of the architectural space. The resulting sound field was spectacularly spatial as low, mid and high sound sources activated a dance of harmonic spaces in the church. The lowest overtones went to a sub-woofer on the floor, activating long rolling wavelengths from one end to the other; low-middle overtones to a large speaker in the choir loft, activating the arched ceiling through the length of the cathedral; mid -high overtones were tuned to specific ceiling arches on opposing ends of the building; and a specially constructed two-channel high frequency “chandelier” was suspended pointing upward into the central dome. This approach allowed O+A to tune the tube’s overtones very specifically into the architectural and acoustic features of the cathedral, much as an organist tunes the registers of pipes on a church organ to activate the space to greatest effect.
The result was a meld of acoustics, music, architecture, with the real-time input of the sounds of a city and all that implies – society, economy, scale, energy, and the humanity and rhythms of life in a megalopolis- Mexico City was heard as a song of itself, dancing in the spatial grandeur of one of its early historical sites. . . . . an acoustical “mural” of current urban life, 2016.
The soundscape of Modernity, with its overwhelming array of machine generated standing waves amplified in canyons of glass and steel, has through the vicissitudes of history passed Brugge by. One can still take delight in Brugge’s human scale sound space of passageways, plazas, canals, cobblestones and courtyards without being overwhelmed by electrical hums, diesel motors, helicopters, ventilation, air conditioning and constant media sounds. Brugge has a very valuable acoustic commodity: quiet. In a time where our accelerating economy generates an inhuman barrage of conflicting and confusing sounds out of scale with human perception Brugge’s quiet provides space to think. Quiet is the New Loud.
O+A were invited by the festival curators to create a large scale sound installation for the city center of Brugges, Belgium. They decided to bring to attention the city’s remarkable quietude in this noisy world, quiet thinking space is valuable. It’s an attribute worthy of notice, celebration, and protection.
O+A and their team created floating loudspeakers to accompany festival walking through a map of “songlines”. The speakers emitted particular frequencies at GPS coordinates. These sounds were specially selected to produce an echolocation readout that highlights the pristine Medieval architectural spaces.
April 30th, 2013 in the subway tunnels underneath Köln, O+A, Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger transformed the urban soundscape into harmony in real-time and created a dramaturgy of overtones and underground urban resonating spaces. The audience enters this underground dramaturgy of sounds and spaces in groups of 15, walking the resonating tunnels between underground stops, finding their way through the ghost space of Chlodwigplatz where invisible urban travelers from Grand Central leave footsteps in the unfinished construction zone. Auinger, Odland were joined by Hannes Strobl in a 6 hour performance in the second tunnel, creating new urban music by further filtering and transforming the harmonized city-scape. Curated by Carsten Seifarth.
Linz R2 is a real-time resonance work, a sound installation in a public space—the long, open courtyard area adjacent to the Lentos Art Museum’s entrance. Auinger and Odland’s work is an acoustic transformation experience: two resonance pipes perform a real-time transformation of the surrounding urban soundscape into a harmonic drone sound that is made audible by two loudspeakers. (text from the ars electronics program flyer)
Sonic Vista, by O+A, Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger, is a permanent sound installation commissioned for the 20th anniversary of the Frankfurt Greenbelt. It offers visitors the perfect site to hear the whole city. A gentle halo of harmonically tuned real-time sound emanates from two “Sphere” loudspeakers which radiate the sound in all directions without “hot spots” and function as a visual attraction seen from the whole city. This listening spot now connects the north and south portions of Frankfurt’s famous Greenbelt.
in 2010 the Austrian sound artist and composer Sam Auinger lived and worked in town as Bonn’s first city sound artist. this research residency within the context of Bonn Hoeren resulted in his piece Grundklang Bonn (Bonn basic sound) that can now be experienced in public space until the beginning of may 2011. Auinger‘s installation transforms the square in front of the railway station into a permanent sound box for the city’s natural and human- made sounds. in its composition of subtle sounds of the nearby Rhine and real-time sound transformations of the traffic flow in front of the railway station, the artist‘s two-part work responds directly to the location and so changes the way the place is typically perceived.
Grundklang Bonn is part of the series of resonance pieces by O+A.
by O+A Vocal score, Bruce Odland Sound score, Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger taken from recordings of their installations turning city noise into music. Martha Cluver-Soprano, Hai-Ting Chinn-Mezzo, Geoffrey Silver-Tenor, Mark Uhlemann-bass Video Produced and Edited by Stuart Culpepper Camera Operators Milton Kam, Steve Celestin, Jesse Cowell Audio Recording by Ed Haber for NEW SOUNDS LIVE, WNYC Presented by John Schaeffer of WNYC Produced by Arts World Financial Center Performed November 12, 2010 at the Winter Garden
The sonic commons can be defined as any space where people share an acoustic environment and can hear the results of each other’s activities, both intentional and unintentional. Our eyes and ears are forced to deal with those results. This performance uses 4 Ear (dual binaural) recordings, live re-tuned city sounds, speech and images to decipher the cognitive dissonance of the NYC sound environment.
O+A bravely take on the Politics of the Senses by brazenly relying on their ears in this visually-dominated era.
commissioned and produced by electronic music foundation ear to the earth 09 with additional support from the experimental media and performing arts center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, linz kultur, kulturland oberösterreich, ske austro mechana.
O+A led a week long workshop with artists and students exploring and mapping the Seoul soundscape via the Insa Art Space of the Arts Council Korea.
(think with your ears) since the renaissance we have had an agreed visual perspective, and language to speak accurately about images. this we still lack in the world of sound, where words fail us even to describe for instance the complex waveforms of an urban environment, much less what those sounds do to us and how they make us feel. we are lost in a storm of noise with no language for discussion. (O+A)
Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger create an instrument that transforms the noise of daily life in Manhattan into a living harmonic series, allowing the visitor to hear the city as a symphony.
A tuning tube suspended from the railing collects the sound of traffic, helicopters, and boats, all visible from the plaza, and transforms them into harmony which is then played back in real time from three blue cement cube speakers on the walkway. This makes a humane and gentle musical atmosphere, tuned to the volume of conversation which humanizes the rather violent sounds of fossil-fueled daily life and enhances the garden atmosphere, while engaging the visitor to sit and think, feel and hear the city.
A real time sound installation that transforms street noise into harmonic sounds from the bus stop at the south-east corner of the intersection, creating a psycho-acoustic effect in public space in real time. The sound of traffic resonates as an under tone to the ambient sound and the resulting harmonies are played from two loudspeakers housed within the cement sculptures. There is no tape or CD. The sound emanating from the artwork is the music hidden within the traffic’s roar at that very moment. Collaboration with Compound Design Collective, Bill Ballou and Cecile Boucher.
Music, J.G. Thirlwell; Sound designers, Bruce Odland, Sam Auinger. Actress: Samara Golden
A young woman descends into madness in a gripping one-hour looped film by Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley. That’s what seems to happen, anyway, as the film’s nonlinear narrative and mix of grainy black-and-white and lucid color tend to confuse what is real and what is hallucinated or dreamed.
By turns funny, sad, mysterious and scary, the film’s events take place in a squalid studio apartment. A young woman played by Samara Golden arrives carrying a suitcase and begins cleaning up. At one point, she extracts a corpse resembling her from behind a radiator screen and tends to it as though preparing it for a funeral. In other scenes the room violently shakes and water starts to flood it. Light bulbs pop and overloaded electrical connections crackle and buzz. Finally, she transfers her doppelganger’s body from the refrigerator to the suitcase she came in with and departs.
Film students will detect references to famous movies — Roman Polanski’s ”Repulsion” most conspicuously. But because Ms. Golden plays her role with such understated earnestness, the film isn’t just an arch exercise in appropriation. It immerses you in a harrowing dark night of the soul. -KEN JOHNSON (New York Times- December 23, 2005)
In July, 2004, O+A presented an early version of Requiem for fossil fuels which played for ten days at the Sophienkirche in Berlin. This first version was a concert installation for 8 channels of recorded sound, midi-controlled pipe organ, and video.
The installation was commissioned by Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD and presented by 2004 Inventionen Festival in Berlin.
O+A, Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger. This temporary installation re-tuned the soundscape of the New York Harbor into a harmonic series, mixed by the moon and tides. It reconnected visitors to the environment, the cycles of the tides and moon, as well as the rhythms and power of modern city transport. 5 cube loudspeakers constructed for O+A by Harvard Design School, altered the social interaction on the plaza with sound, light, and street furniture.
The most important new element of the project is the box: a shipping container, which has been prepared to receive a maximum of 10 listeners at a time. Its green color makes the box stand out distinctly from its surroundings. The tuning tube is on top of the box. It is mounted on a specially designed acoustical structure consisting of a barrier with two swiveling reflectors by means of which the acoustical coupling of the tube can be modified. Input that is too powerful can be screened out, source sounds redirected, and feedback controlled.
Visitors enter the actual listening room through a small antechamber, where they remove their shoes. The interior is fitted out like a “chillout room” with soft carpeting on the floor and on the walls, cube-shaped seats and dim lighting. A video screen shows real-time images from the tuning tube while an oscilloscope screen graphically displays the sound waves. The exterior world can be dimly seen through a small tinted glass window. A “Memory-Station” documents previous sites with an archive of recordings, available over earphones.
LOCATION klangkunstforum, parkkolonaden, potsdamer platz / berlin (D)
pool ist eine klanginstallation von sam auinger und bruce odland. das klangmaterial der installation ist sogenannter umgebungslärm am potsdamer platz. drei resonanzrohre werden am gebäude der hvb projekt installiert und transformieren den lärm in musikalisches material. der installationsraum ist so gestaltet, dass er an eine schwimmhalle oder einen ruheraum erinnert. klang und licht sind dynamisch verkoppelt und ergeben gemeinsam einen ort der beobachtung und entspannung.
Das Klangkunstforum präsentiert mit der begehbaren Skulptur Pool eine Klanginstallation von Sam Auinger, Linz, und Bruce Odland, New York, die den White Cube des Galerieraums als akustische Schwimmhalle interpretiert. In dieser Umgebung besteht die Möglichkeit, sich mit einem akustischen Bad zu entspannen. Badeschuhe dürfen benutzt werden. Pool funktioniert wie ein Filter, der die tönend bewegte Atmosphäre als akustisches Material der Umgebung aufnimmt und es bearbeitet im Innenraum erklingen lässt. Dabei unterstreichen die minimalen Setzungen die Künstlichkeit eines Ortes, der nun auf das Zusammenspiel des optischen und akustischen Eindrucks abgestimmt ist. So werden die großflächigen Fenster des Raumes wie ein Art Membran behandelt. Sie sind nicht mehr nur die durchlässige Grenze zwischen Innen- und Außenraum, zwischen privatem und öffentlichem Leben, sondern ihre Bestimmung ist die einer künstlichen Haut. Der Blick von drinnen nach draußen lässt nur noch die Konturen der bewegten Menschen und Objekte erahnen, die verschwommen gesehen werden. Teilweise ist auch deren Bewegung zu hören. Mit drei Resonanzrohren, die über dem Eingang des Kopfbaus des Gebäudeensembles Park Kolonnaden, in der Nähe des U-Bahn-Ausgangs angebracht sind, werden die wechselnden Geräusche und Klänge des Potsdamer Platzes aufgenommen. Solche Klänge und Geräusche eines Ortes, die oft als Sound-scapes bezeichnet werden, haben einen einmaligen und unverwechselbaren Charakter, der durch das zeitliche Zusammenspiel vorbeifahrender Autos, Stimmen von Menschen, der Schallentwicklung des Platzes und anderer Faktoren bestimmt ist. Häuserwände, Material und Höhe der Bebauung, die Größe des Areals und die Wetterlage kennzeichnen die akustische Atmosphäre, die im Verlauf eines Tages deutliche Schwankungen zeigt. Während manche Künstler, die mit Soundscapes arbeiten, sich Jean Jacques Rousseaus Parole: Zurück zur Natur! zu eigen gemacht haben, führen uns Auinger/Odland in die verborgenen Welten täglicher Klänge, und legen deren Schönheit frei. Dies geschieht durch die Ausrichtung der Resonanzrohre, mit denen sich die gewünschte akustische Perspektive eines Ausschnittes wählen lässt. Entfernt ähnelt ihre Anlage jenen Richtmikrofonen, die im Bereich der Abhörtechnik der Polizei verwendet werden; mit dem Unterschied jedoch, dass die Rohre durch ihre Innenräume selbst schon Resonanzkörper sind. Mit Hilfe solcher sensiblen Instrumente erkunden Auinger/Odland seit Jahren öffentliche Räume mit einer poetischen Intention: „Wir lernen, der Klangumgebung, in der wir leben einen Sinn zu geben, indem wir zuhören, lauschen, erforschen und versuchen, sie wie eine Sprache zu verstehen. Wir sammeln, filtern und erweitern Klänge, die wir in der Natur und in den Städten finden, um die verborgenen Stimmen hörbar zu machen” (Auinger/Odland). Will man nun die Arbeiten von Auinger/Odland historisch im Feld der Klangkunst einordnen, so lassen sich vielleicht die folgenden Kennzeichen benennen. Seit 1990 beziehen sich die Installationen auf die akustischen Situationen der Orte, an denen sie realisiert werden. Durch die Bearbeitung der Soundscapes mit digitalen Filtern und Matrixmixern entlocken Auinger/Odland dem akustischen Material feingliedrige Klangfelder und melodische Strukturen, die in eine Art Echtzeitmusik gebracht werden. Eine ungewöhnliche, reichhaltige Farbpalette entsteht durch die Auswahl einer Obertonstruktur, die sogar harmonische Konstellationen hervorbringt. Die Anordnung der Lautsprecher im Raum ist so konzipiert, dass Klangschichtungen und Wellen durch den Raum fließen und den Besucher zu einem akustischen Bad anregen sollen. Es bleibt nur eine Bitte an die Badegäste: Bitte folgen Sie den Anweisungen des Bademeisters. Vorwort zum Ausstellungsprogramm von Christoph Metzger
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago has more than six thousand musical instruments in its collection. It’s opened its vaults and worked out a way for the public to hear them. Many have not been seen or heard in a hundred years. They are from all over the world.
Sounds from the Vaults is a collaboration between The Field Museum and 30/70 Productions.
30/70 Colloborators: Artistic Director – Bruce Odland Set Design – Cecile Bouchier Work Station Design – Chris Salter, Bruce Odland, Sha Xin Wei, Jensen & Sun Work Station/Touch Pad Sculpture Design – Bill Ballou Work Station Programming – Marc Antony Fernandez of tomandandy Virtual Instrument Design – Marc Antony Fernandez of tomandandy Video Design – Chris Kondek Website Design – Marc Antony Fernandez of tomandandy Sound and Interactivity Design – Bruce Odland, Sam Auinger “Vault Grooves” Composition – Bruce Odland, Sam Auinger Audio Engineering – Dave Naunton, Nick Gibson, Mark McCoin Graphics Engineering – Eugene Alcides Betancourt Technical System Design – Gerald Schalek Technical Director – Bill Ballou Business Manager/Project Coordinator – Sally Odland
The Field Museum Collaborators: Community Advisor – Leddie Garcia Lighting Design – Gosia Koscielak Graphic Design – Lori Walsh Production Supervisor – Susan Phillips Coordinator – Mia Schillace Curator – Alaka Wali Content Specialist/Ethnomusicologist – Carolyn Schiller Johnson Anthropology Archive Researchers – Carolyn Schiller Johnson, Barbara Russi, Patricia Sandler, Michelle C. Miller Exhibit Developer/Project Manager – Michelle C. Miller
Cloud Chamber is an artistic exploration of the question: Can a city be heard as a harmonic symphony? It presents recordings from their sound installation series in which cities were made to resonate, and includes excerpts from their latest collaboration presented at New York City’s performance space. The Kitchen, in March, 1997. For the “Cloud Chamber” event, the two sonic alchemists installed a laboratory for transforming the New York City landscape into real-time ambient music. The installation functioned as an instrument, an “industrial digeridu” that was played by the city’s roar. Random city sounds caused an overtone series to resonate sympathetically. The chaos of cars, planes, people, motors, and construction was reduced to the order of the Pythagorean harmonic series. Hidden melodies and harmonics were revealed.
In 1997, before MASSMoCA opened, Director Joe Thompson decided to activate the town of North Adams with sound art.
O+A noticed that the town and museum were divided by Highway 2 overpass, and the resulting road noise coming from the bridge made this division worse. They decided to bridge this division with harmony. They installed two 16 foot “tuning tubes”on the bridge to generate harmony in response to the sound of passing traffic. . The transformed sound plays back through two specially designed “Cube” loudspeakers beneath the bridge. The “Cubes” create omnidirectional domes of sound which activate the found “gothic” acoustics under the bridge. The installation has been transforming noise into harmony for 20 years now.
O+A made this video for those who want details but cannot visit the bridge
BALANCE 1.0, Sonambiente Festival, Berlin 1996 Sonic Alchemist’s Laboratory installed in the cellar of the Akademie der Kunst for its 300th Anniversary. Explorations by visitors hearing multiple perspectives and spaces simultaneously. O+A Planetspeakers 2.0 form separate listening chamber.
For the MANCA Festival in Nice, France, Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger (O+A) created an architectural sound performance.
Custom parabolic speakers beamed sound which bounced off the iconic Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art building. Sonic reflections were distinctly perceptible from the plaza below.
O+A conducted a sonic “duel” with sound beams. Casual passersby stopped and listened to the building. Skateboarders stepped off their boards to listen. The space came to life as an aural playground.
When architectural space is activated sonically (with knowledge and purpose and the appropriate technology) people are capable of echo locating. Great detail appears from the resonant characteristics of architecture, material, and space.
Max Res was an installation by Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger which linked the Linz Railway Terminal , the Train Platform and the Ars Electronica Festival in a harmonic and melodic interface of human, machine, and information. The installation brought up questions of Public and Private Space ( which space is in your headphones if its a simultaneous transmission of public area cross town?), If this is interactive then why can’t we control those people on the screen? (they are real people not a video game) and sense ration: our choice was 30/70, eyes to ears.
On the Platform
The various sounds coming from trains on many platforms, people, announcements, automatic doors, and baggage carts are reduced by a tuning tube to one harmonic series. The mic inside the tube hears all of these activities as a shifting chord based on the fundamental length of the tube and its partials. This sound is sent into the control room to a computer where it is digitally filtered.
In The Terminal
The humanoid figure of MAX greets you as you arrive from the trains. His head is a binaural microphone sending a clear stereo mix across town. His chest is a TV monitor with real-time images from inside the tube on the platform clues to the source of the sounds you are hearing. His feet are a cement “Cube” loudspeaker, playing back harmonically tuned version of whats going on outside real-time.Overhead a surveillance camera sends an overview of the current situation over ISDN lines to the Festival.
At the Ars Electronica Festival
A remote sensing station stands a setup similar in nature to Max’s over at the Station. Three sets of headphones are available for listening through Mas’s binaural ears. There is a computer linked to the computer filters at the train station. Select a filter change and you are shifting the harmonic balance of a public space cross town and hearing the shift in that space instantly on your phones in binaural stereo. You are also seeing the response if any on the surveillance video. There is a train schedule posted on the wall announcing such arrivals as 6:23 “The Rosenkavalier” . A clock on the wall keeps you in time with the rhythm tracks. None of this careful planning could have predicted that the kids at the station would learn to use Max’s binaural ears to control the festival guests in the Brucknerhaus.
Peter Erskine’s erskinesolarart.net solar spectrum environmental art installation, “Secrets of the Sun” at Rome’s Trajan’s Forum was supported by a sound installation “Traffic Mantra” by O+A, Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger. In this excerpt, they demonstrate how to turn traffic noise into music using a Roman Amphora. In 1989, Peter Erskine created a new, immersive Solar art medium he named Secrets of the Sun: Millennial Meditations (S.O.S.) S.O.S. is about the beauty and dangers of Sunlight: the beauty of the rainbow and the horrors of global warming, ozone depletion and mass species extinction. Erskine leverages the emotional impact of art to address the full range of Nature from her most elemental expression as Pure Light, to her most complex expression as Global Ecology. In his installations, our life-giving star, the Sun, is the energy source, subject matter and medium for the art.
In 1990, word of Secrets of the Sun drew curators and museum directors from around the country to Erskine’s Venice, California studio. In 1991, he was invited to create an installation for the Projects Room at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and in 1992, the S.O.S international exhibition tour opened in the 2000-year-old buildings of the ancient Roman Forum. His Solar Spectrum Environmental Art has received broad coverage in the global media including seven magazine cover stories in four languages, over 150 press articles, and six global satellite broadcasts. TV and radio stories featuring his work have been broadcast in over 150 countries. Erskine has collaborated successfully, in over 25 public projects in five countries, with project stakeholders; architects, engineers, contractors, railway, government and Arts Agencies, and community members. He knows that all stakeholders play a vital role in developing a narrative that turns into successful and enduring public art.
Resonating the old city of Salzburg to the six cardinal points for the 200th Anniversary of Mozart’s Death. 2000 years of history presented as sonic hologram for 25,000 spectators… w/ guitarist Adrian Belew. O+A 2nd act mock baroque battle of fireworks with Hohen Salzburg in background.
In honor of astronomer Johannes Kepler, O+A created a sound cosmology, Garden of Time Dreaming. On the 400th anniversary of the city of Linz in Austria, this cosmology played throughout the gardens of the Castle of Linz. 400,000 visitors attended.
Commissioned by Ars Electronic and the Schloss Museum.
At this point in time (1990), with borders falling, roles reversing, technology exploding, nature besieged, human understanding overwhelmed, frailties exposed – we ask the same question Kepler asked. Can humanity find a harmonious way to live in the cosmos?
Garden of Time-Dreaming Yes, but what is it? It’s a personal cosmology of time, space, and dreaming, dedicated to the life and work of Johannes Kepler and the people and history of Linz.
It’s meditative space where the visitor explores and finds his own path through geometries of sound suggesting planetary orbits.
Sound environments shift as sound “movies” in time. Sounds change from dawn to night time from moon to moon and from spring to fall so the installation grows like a true garden.
Alchemy, Science, what next? Notes from a Time-Dreamer
In the process of developing the initial idea into Garden of Time-Dreaming O+A had many experiences which came into the piece. From the start, perspectives must be human judged in relationship to nature.
So O+A visited the ancient Anasazi ruins of the celestial city at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. These people lived in a type of “Harmonica Mundi” where all the important events of their society were aligned to the motions of the sun, moon, and heavens. Their city ruins offer ample evidence of construction oriented to the sky.
Recordings made at this time such as Sunne, and Narrend Mond, present a completely different feeling of time and space than recordings made in New York and Europe. O+A returned determined to make the Garten der Zeiträume as a round-earth project.