Harmonic Conduit – Boston

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