Sound Installations and the Open Window

Sound installations will run from 2PM to 6PM throughout the conference, and will be featured as destinations on daily sound installation tours. Proposals should include a description of the installation, a clear designation as to what specific aspects are needed within the installation space (e.g., darkness, public space, preferred dimensions of a space, etc.), equipment necessary to realize the installation identifying any equipment the host must provide. Diagrams and media documentation (sound or video recordings, photos) and diagrams are highly appreciated.

The Open Window is a collection of collaborative frameworks that explore structured juxtapositions of individual sound works in contexts outside of conventional performance contexts.  We invite submissions that contribute to each of these frameworks.  In addition,  we are happy to consider proposals for additional Open Window Units that enable conference participants to collaborate in the creation of a new musical work.

The current collection of Open Window Units are:

The Musical Singularity (concert works)

The Musical Singularity will focus on works specifically involving organ and electronics. The Memorial Chapel’s organ has MIDI control of registration as well as note events, so preference will be given to works that utilize those capabilities. Recordings and/or scores of works are requested although a proposal and score can suffice. Works roughly ten minutes in duration are preferred.

The Non-Aggressive Music Deterrent (collaborative installation in a public space)

“The non-aggressive music deterrent” is  Jonathan Sterne’s term for the use of muzak to structure the use of public space. Middletown’s own example is an extensive parking garage that is accompanied day and night by light classical music. We have arranged with the owners to replace the normal program during the weekend of the conference. We invite submissions of works, collections of works, or other programs of material to be diffused through this system. Individual projects may be of any duration ranging up to 24 hours.

Rainforest: A Bring Your Own Object Realization (performed installation)

David Tudor’s Rainforest is based on the image of a chorus of loudspeakers, each with its own distinct voice. The speakers are made from found objects activated by audio transducers. (The Rolen Star transducer is traditional, but piezoelectric elements and automobile “bass shakers” can also serve. Transducers can be obtained from online sources such as Amazon or Sparkfun.)

Multiple versions of Rainforest exist. Rainforest IV, the version most often performed, creates an immersive heterophony of many objects sounding uniquely. But Tudor conceived an alternative version where only a few sounds are heard at any one time and those sounds wander between the objects. This latter version will be performed at SEAMUS by each of the contributors to the project as a series of late evening performances. The individual realizations will be recorded and replayed as an ongoing installation throughout the conference.

Proposals should provide a photograph of the object to contributed and, if possible, an audio recording of a short performance that reveals its musical potential.

For a more detailed description of the piece, consult “David Tudor’s Rainforest: an Evolving Exploration of Resonance” by John Driscoll and Matt Rogalsky in Leonardo Music Journal December 2004, Vol. 14, Pages 25-30.

Rock’s Role (after Ryoanji) (a “group show” of sound works)

Rock’s Role (After Ryoanji) explores the possibilities open to sound works that embrace the leakage and overlap that is an inescapable aspect of sound.

Ryoanji is the title of a series of pieces by John Cage composed as musical transliterations of the famed Zen garden of the same name. In Cage’s understanding, the basic emptiness of the garden intensifies one’s experience of the 15 large stones found within it. In the music, the emptiness of the raked sand is enacted with a slow, irregular pulse and the “stones” are solos for different instruments (bass, trombone, flute, voice, etc) performing glissandi between chance determined microtonal pitches. Rock’s Role (after Ryoanji) observes the same distinction between discrete and continuous elements. Sound works can be submitted as either

“sand” – a long recording that provides a discrete, irregular articulation of time

“rocks” – a collection of individual objets sonores of varied duration and continuous internal structure that can be freely overlapped with other such sounds.

Contributions to the project will be given distinct spatializations within a collection of fifteen loudspeakers arranged in the manner of the stones in the Ryoanji garden. The overlap and sequencing of contributions will be randomly determined within constraints based on each contributions duration, transparency, and overall prominence relative to other contributions.