Art of Sound in Place

A enquire into different artworks involving sound that effect perceptions of space.

 John Berger & Simon McBurney

“This way please, this way, down the tunnel…”

The Vertical Line

The sound work is a walk in a tunnel called the vertical line, creating a narrative along a timeline. History and stories are used along the journey, making the storyline a perspective of time and space. The content involves female and male narrators speaking with different accents mixed with found sound clips. You can hear a slight echo in the recording giving the impressions of being recorded within the tunnel and the recording constantly uses panning to left and right tracks to create a claustrophobic space.

Bill Fontana

“It was, and still is my belief that the world at any given moment contains unimaginable acoustic complexity. My methodology has been to express this wide horizon of possibilities as a spatial grid of simultaneous listening points that relay real time acoustic data to a common listening zone.”Fontana[1]

[1] Fontana, B. (2002). MUSICAL INFORMATION NETWORKS. Available: networks.html. Last accessed 8th October 2016.

Landscape Sculpture With Fog Horns [KQED-FM, 1982]

An outdoor sound sculpture of the San Francisco Bay, The soundscape translates ‘Place’ into sound by exploring the real-time acoustic relationships between site and landscape.[1] The meditative sound of the sea mixes with the mechanical sounds of foghorns. Each horn echo’s near and far providing an illusion of space, time and distance.

[1] Fontana, B. (2002). MUSICAL INFORMATION NETWORKS. Available: networks.html. Last accessed 8th October 2016.

 White Sound

A clear sound of crashing waves rhythmically washes against a pebbled beach. The stereo sound almost gives you the feeling of  binaural sound recording. By listening to this sound in a different place the work challenges our sense of place, from the physical location of being to the sensation of being transported by our thoughts of the rhythms of the sea.

“Sitting in traffic queues, time can appear to slow painfully, but the seascape evokes a natural activity that moves towards a deeper time: a continuous cycle carried over thousands of years. Placing the hypnotic sound of Chesil Beach on the congested Euston Road, White Sound raises questions about our understanding of stillness and movement, in both urban and natural environments.”[1]

[1] Unknown Author. (2014). White Sound: An Urban Seascape | Bill Fontana. Available: Last accessed 30th October 2015.

Achim Wollsheid

Sound Boxes

The box reminds me of a quote from Deleuze in his “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” about seeing a book as a box and finding it’s meaning outside of the text.

“you either see it as a box with something inside and start looking for what it signifies, and then if you’re even more perverse or depraved you set off after signifiers. . . . [Or] you see the book as a little non-signifying machine and the only question is ‘Does it work, and how does it work?’ . . . This second way of reading’s intensive: something comes through or it doesn’t. There’s nothing to explain, nothing to understand, nothing to interpret. It’s like plugging into an electric circuit.”[1]

On the surface, the sound box monitors, records and transmits electronic sounds from its located space. What if I think about the signification of the sound box? It’s not just a transmitted sound but also sounds defining an invisible and open space, changing my perception of space in place.[2]

[1] Deleuze, G (1997). In Negotiations, 1972–1990. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press. p3-12

[2] Uknown Author. (2007). Sound Box. Available: Last accessed 21st November 2016.

Toshiya Tsunoda

Toshiya Tsunoda is another artist who plays with un-locatable sound. Creating a sonic event of taps, deep frequencies, and high-pitched tones. Altering perceptions of space using vibratory phenomena[1].

Fragments for Stereophony 1

[1] LaBelle, B (2015). Background Noise, Perspective on Sound Art. 2nd ed. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. P235

 Max Neuhaus

“It doesn’t exist in time. I’ve taken sound out of time and made it into an entity.” Neuhaus

Times Square

Max Neuhaus has a permanent sound installation in Times Square located beneath a sidewalk grate. The site-specific work permanently plays on repeat, twenty-four hours a day. Radiating a sound that brings together sound, place and the presence of everyday life among the busy touristic area of Times Square.

Maria Fusco

“ Master rock is a repertoire of a mountain”[1] Fusco

 The sound work is based on the Cruachan Power Station in Scotland. Recorded inside the mountain as a play with three characters: an Irish tunnel tiger, a forgotten artist, and the voice of the 450 million year-old granite.[2]

The sound performance is full of substance, histories, and drama. A juxtaposition of accents, characters and times, echo within a cave-like space. The voice used for the granite has an over-theatrical tone, but what does stone sound like?

[1] Fusco, M (2015). Master Rock. London: Artangle and Book Works. P85

[2] ibid