Sound is an integral part of the way we understand the space surrounding us. Size, quality, timbre, texture and the atmosphere of a space can all be inferred by the way in which we experience sound. Based on ideas from the Suffolk island of Orford Ness, Ric Lipson’s acoustic theatre ‘Hear Here” has been developed over a preoccupation with the acoustic qualities of circular spaces and ambient sonic landscapes. His work features in ‘Digital Architecture: Passages Through Hinterlands‘.
Ric Lipson‘s Hear Here concerns itself with sound and the body aiming to generate a physical construct that, while taking physics, music and architecture into account, sets out to explore how space can be understood through sound. If architecture is the manipulation of space, then the built form is a way of capturing the ambient. At the core of this question is the way space is experienced as a function of the sounds found both within and around the space, and the sounds that result from occupancy of the space.
The building is the final movement in the score of this experiential journey concerning itself with sound and the body. By giving concepts physical form, the experience can be explored. It is a tourable, demountable structure. By exploring concepts of resonance, reflection, absorption, forced and natural, the work creates a ‘sonic geography’ framed within a physical construct that invites you to explore, listen, improvise and experience.
Comprising a monocoque, aluminium, open cone wrapped within a closed, tensioned, plywood structure, the two spaces act in combination to echo the form of the ear. The outer ear is the space in-between the wooden and aluminium skin, and it has a soft acoustic. Sounds reflect around the walls in a whispering gallery-type nature. The audience follow the sounds around the dark outer corridor and are ‘cleansed’ of what John Cage would describe as the “chaos of the everyday sounds”. The journey around the structure leads the audience into the inner drum. The aluminium cone is open to the world. It is bright and metallic, both in form and acoustic.
This ‘Acoustic Theatre’ combines the world of manufacture, with the ephemeral nature of the ambient. The structure becomes a frame for the sound to exist. The audience are invited to enter and listen. The inner metal skin acts as an instrument, listening to the outer world and playing it back through a set of speakers. These sounds reflect and reverberate around the space. Essentially the pavilion is an ear capturing sounds from its immediate environment. Its geometries can intensify, resonate and distort these found sounds and act as a passive instrument, playing sounds of the city based on the occupier’s position within the structure.
At Crown Point high above Burnley town UK the ‘Singing-Ringing Tree’ – a unique musical sculpture in the form of a tree appears to bend against the endless winds that pass over the hills. Designed by award-winning architects Tonkin-Liu. The wind produces a low and mellow hum through pipes which are tuned so that they do not disturb the wildlife.
It was designed as one of four large-scale sculptures commissioned, designed and constructed over a six year period in the North West of England.
It involved the construction of series of 21st-century landmarks, or Panopticons (structures providing a comprehensive view), across East Lancashire, England, as symbols of the renaissance of the area. An interesting article by the independent newspaper can be found here.
Declan Shaw’s of Interactive Installation, Bird Soundscapes incorporate a dynamic three dimensional acoustic environment of birdsong which perform accelerated diurnal cycles. Individual ‘birds’ occupy positions in space, which move about in birdlike patterns and also reacting to the movement of the inhabitants. This is accompanied by a coloured light cycle which denotes the times of day.
In this manner the listener may hear an accumulating dawn chorus of bird personalities while her environment is filled with an intensifying morning blue light. She may go on the hear crows and blackbirds interacting in a red evening dusk. Shaws work was developed within the Bartlett School of Architectures Anechoic Chamber hence the menacing image of the spikey walls but the intention is that the constructed environment would be placed within an existing negative waiting space, such as a hospital ward or waiting room, with a view to encouraging positive waiting behaviour in its occupants.
As well as the installation Declan produced a series of college images depicting this changing acoustic environments intended effects in the hospital patients experience of these spaces.
Declan describes how “the context of this project is the construction of a space for waiting and for exploiting the possibilities of waiting. While drawing distinctions between waiting situations as pleasure/play and waiting as punishment/pain, I fixed on the notion of reverie as a crucial condition for the encouragement of the positive possibilities of waiting, which include: rest, renewal, inspired creativity and a sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.” Declans doesn’t have a website but his work and work of many other students from Unit 14 at the Bartlett can be found here
Korean artist, Choe U Ram, creates massive, precision engineered sculptures with an eerie organic feel. He uses cut and polished metals, machinery and electronics to create kinetic sculptures inspired by sea creatures and plant life.
Exploring the boundaries of archeological discovery and developmental morphology, Choe’s explanations and Latin titles for these creations follow the linguistic traditions of scientific nomenclature.
Telling stories using gestural transformation and the tracing of imagined evolutionary stages, these pieces take on the silhouette of actual life forms, as intricate automata express a refined delicacy and weightlessness.
Unexpected and fantastical, Choe’s kinetic simulations cyclically breathe with movement that recalls aquatic propulsion, flight and ritualistic courtship displays.