Unlike visual art, sound art surrounds us and has the capacity to create an atmosphere – a world.
[Note: Page numbers refer to pages in the book]
The first time I saw Paul Prudence perform Cyclotone was in the vault of a deconsecrated church at Goldsmiths College in London (pp. 249-250). The audience wore heavy coats, breathing steam. As we watched, he conjured up universes of whirling patterns, evoking four-dimensional geometry and diagrams of four-dimensional space-time out of relativity theory, which spin and morph into quasars, black holes, and the Big Bang, all accompanied by booming sound:
Prudence strives to achieve a magical blending of image and sound that sends the listener into another dimension. Here is a recent piece he calls Ungear Moi. It will keep your eyes moving, pulse pounding and foot tapping:
Sam Auinger, harvester of sound, uses cities as his canvas. He applied his artistry to the plaza next to a railway station in Bonn, by day bombarded by unpleasant noise and unpleasant by night (pp. 238-39):
Auinger uses sound tubes “to refine the ambient sound, such as the heavy traffic and other infrastructure sounds from railways, highways, and ships on the river Rhine. These refined sounds are played on the speaker in the cube at the foot of the plaza (center of photograph).” Focusing on this speaker we hear:
A second speaker, at the top of the left hand set of stairs, from time to time plays sounds harvested by a water harp actually set in the river:
Both speakers combine to give a calming undercurrent of sound. “Spaces are reanimated through the energy of sound.” They appear softer to the eye:
In 2011 Jo Thomas put a microphone into the electron beam in the Diamond Light Source at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire (pp. 247-49).
This is the artist at the Diamond Light Source:
And this is what she heard: