2YouTopia / Vertical City @ Nuit Blanche Toronto 2014

Shhh!

a sound installation for large public spaces

Created for a single audio speaker in a large public space, this audio installation works at framing and punctuating the struggle to control our acoustic surroundings and be heard above the communal din. It consists of twenty-four 1-hour tracks running sequentially in the space at a matching ambient volume level. Like Still(ness) Ringing, this installation also works at blurring the listener’s ability to distinguish between the naturally-occurring sounds in a physical space and programmed or pre-recorded sounds.

Commissioned by Art Gallery of York University’s Audio Out exhibition series

Gallery note: A good shushing (like your grandmother probably used to give you), is like an arrow shot through shared airspace. It pulls focus away from self-obsessed interior gazing and casts it out into the world, framing and punctuating the contribution each of us makes to the collective soundscape of the commons.

A good shushing can also wake you up – if only for a moment – to the struggle that each of us experiences in trying to control our surroundings and be heard above the communal din.

Many elements in this work were first presented as part of (((Cocktail Party Effect))) ‘The Audio Waiters’, a guerrilla performance project, produced and performed in collaboration with InterArts Matrix. Both of these works are available for presentation in other spaces and situations.

©Richard Windeyer 2010

Death By Water (2004/2008)

View of the shed and performers with audience inside, listening on headphones.

An excerpt from the soundtrack for Death by Water, a performance installation created in collaboration with Toronto/Brooklyn theatre company bluemouth inc.

Death by Water is a performance installation that places a listening audience with headphones in a small wooden shed in the middle of a city park in winter. While their visual focus is directed out through a large plexiglass window towards performers moving through the park landscape, their headphones are fed a real-time binaural mix of live and pre-recorded sources – signals from the performer’s (Lucy Simic) wireless microphones, fragments of manipulated found sounds (turntable noises, the voice and shamisen of Japanese-Canadian musician Aki Takahashi, archival recordings of Hibari Misora and binaural field recordings of the park made at various times of the year).

The view from inside the installation shed.

Like much of my headphone-based audio work, this project seeks to challenge the perceivable boundaries between inside/outside, actual/fictional, real/imagined from within poetic and environmental contexts.

The Hunger at Harvest

The Hunger – a multimedia installation by interdisciplinary artist and designer Margaret Krawecka was recently adapted for presentation in the heart of a forest at the (ever-inspiring!) Harvest Festival (Autumn Equinox Arts & Music Festival) held every September at Midlothian Farm, Burk’s Falls, Ontario.  While technical limitations forced a scaling-down of my sound design for it, all went very well. You can find more photos and full production credits here.

 

Sound design for ‘The Hunger’

Immediately following the DANCE MARATHON performances I dove straight into completing the sound design work for a performance installation by Margaret Krawecka / Uncanny House Collective – The Hunger.

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Shh! A 24-hour sound installation for public spaces

Shh! is a sound installation for a single audio speaker in a public space. It consists of 24, 1-hour tracks running continuously in the space at an overall volume level which matches the ambient sound level of the space.

Installation gallery note:

Shh!

A good shushing (like your grandmother probably used to give you), is like an arrow shot through shared airspace. It pulls focus away from self-obsessed interior gazing and casts it out into the world, framing and punctuating the contribution each of us makes to the collective soundscape of the commons.

A good shushing can also wake you up – if only for a moment – to the struggle that each of us experiences in trying to control our surroundings and be heard above the communal din.

– RCW
(October 2010)

First presented by the Art Gallery of York University’s Audio Out exhibition series, October – December 2010.

You can listen to the ‘condensed version’ here:

In this version, all 24, 1-hour tracks have been layered together to form a single 1-hour listening experience. The contents of each track was first mapped out to form a 24-hour cycle analogous to the changing dynamics of the site’s soundscape. The individual moment-to-moment placement of sounds in time was determined using generative processes then digitally rendered and arranged as a continuous, sequential playlist.

Many elements in this work were first presented as part of (((Cocktail Party Effect))) ‘The Audio Waiters’, a guerilla performance project, produced and performed in collaboration with InterArts Matrix.

Both of these works are available for presentation in other spaces and situations.

Still(ness) Ringing

Gallery sunlight on Still(ness) Ringing
Photo by Micheline Roi

Presented at St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Anglican Church, Toronto Island in 2005, this immersive listening experience considers the impact of the city soundscape on physical memory and perception from the quiet solitude and sanctuary of an island church pew. A single pair of headphones rest on a church pew, fed by a direct audio signal from binaural microphones affixed to the underside of the pew. The signal is fed to the headphones through a custom-built software program (built in MaxMSP) that simulates hearing loss, applying specially-designed filters and synthesized simulations of tinnitus to the signal. As this simulation eventually recedes, portions of the microphone’s signal are then delayed and looped, producing an experience whereby sight and sound gradually become unsynchronized.

The above audio example is a direct feed of the signal heard through the headphones.

Commissioned by New Adventures in Sound Art (Toronto)

Gallery note:

For generations, Toronto Island has been an essential means of escape from the noise and pollution of the city. The pews of St. Andrews church, and many other island locations are commonly regarded as choice locations for experiencing both a quiet relief from the city, and moments of peaceful introspection.

Still(ness) Ringing is an interactive sound installation exploring the impact of the city soundscape on physical memory and perception. Situated in a single church pew, its goal is to provide participants with a heightened contemplation of those sounds which are commonly and irrevocably etched within the ear through prolonged exposure to urban environments. As a listening experience, ‘Still(ness) Ringing’ underscores the impact of this condition on the participant’s sense of personal connection with the outside world.

©Richard Windeyer 2005