Sound art

Close your eyes, listen. What do you hear around you? A clock ticking? Birds singing? Rain outside the window?
We are surrounded by ambient sounds however, often times these sounds that accompany us throughout the day may be overlooked. This invisible dimension, the sound space, is a primary interest of artists focused on sound art direction. In their works, they investigate the nature of sound and its impact on people. Creative experiments are embodied in the most diverse forms. Let’s take a look at some of them below.

Sound and Electricity (1919)

Physicist and musician Lev Termen created an electric instrument known as the Termenvox (named in his honor). Playing the instrument looks quite impressive as one never physically touches the instrument. To play this instrument, the performer (known as a thereminist) conducts the air in front of special antennas and sound arises without touch, as if it came from nowhere.
At one time, this method of sound production was considered innovative.
Interestingly, the Termenvox cannot be classified as percussion, string or a wind instrument.

Sound and Silence (1952)

Composer John Cage came up with the concept that any sound is music. He revealed his idea in the play “Four thirty-three”, which was first performed at Woodstock. The pianist went on stage, sat down at the piano and did not play for exactly 4 minutes and 33 seconds.
During this time the audience remained quiet but didn’t know how to react to the pianists silence. Involuntary sounds such as coughing could be heard in the distance. Some members of the audience whispered, others laughed and some became indignant.
Imitating silence the pianist was able to create a space filled with sounds, transforming members of the audience from mere spectators to performers.

Sound and Sculpture (2006)

Architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu created the Singing Ringing Tree Sound sculpture, located in Lancashire County, Great Britain.
The sculpture, which bears resemblance to a 3 meter tall tree is made of galvanized steel pipes that generate melodious sounds with every gust of wind.
Depending on the strength and direction of the wind, the tree’s song can be tender, mournful and even scary.

Sound and Artificial Intelligence (2018)

Yamaha, in collaboration with dancer Kaiji Moriyama, presented technology that translated dance into music with the help of artificial intelligence. From the audience, everything looked as if the dancer played the piano with his body without touch, only by movement. While Kaiji Moriyama created choreography on stage, through sensors attached to his body, a computer transformed the movements into notes.

Author: Tasya Popel

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