Sounds of Ambience

Sounds that play the space

Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet (2001), is an installation piece consisting of 40 recorded, voices singing in harmony as a reflection of a choir. The work explores the variety in which sound can travel and be heard. Commenting that “While listening to a concert you are normally seated in front of the choir, in traditional audience position. With this piece I want the audience to be able to experience a piece of music from the viewpoint of the singers. Every performer hears a unique mix of the piece of music.” Her ideas are then demonstrated through a range of speakers placed in an oval, in which the audience is able to move towards sounds and in doing so drowning out others from their focus. Thus, allowing a sense of intimacy with each individual voice, and experiencing different sounds simply through moving to a different location in the same room. Saying this, the work enables an audience to move throughout the space, experiencing different consistencies of sound. and. intimately connected with individual voices. the voices. Cardriff describes her piece as revealing a changing construct being interested in “how sound may physically construct a space in a sculptural way and how a viewer may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space.”

Sound piece.

Moving through the MCA and the stimulation of sounds from different installations.

Through interrupting a choir Janet Cardiff expresses a kind of depth or new perspective on the range of how sounds are heard. In presenting a reflection of her installation, I attempted to express her ideas of immense variety of sound and its ability to. travel and around a space in wide range, in an action of being mixed, and overlapping each other while exploring moments of intimacy. There is this similar sense of mixing, overlapping and moments of intimacy that is explores within an art gallery. Considering the unique structure of the MCA, the structure is intentionally designed to have moments of concentrated sound but then the structure begins to unintentionally echoed throughout the level until the audience involved themselves in a moment of intimacy and focus with a specific installation.

Communicating the explosive noises of an installation piece
An expression of the music of an installation presenting a busker and his acoustic guitar
The echoed sound of scrunching and unscruching of a plastic water bottle
n a laughing installation that consisted of many voice laughing together in different tones
Sn expression of a giant clock ticking at different speeds.

The use of plastic sheets allowed the layering of each sound, expressing the sounds playing together in a state of a singularity and harmony (Much like Janet’s Cardriff’s choir piece) but allowing the pieces to be taken apart in moments of focus. Where Cardriff’s allowed an audience to concentrate on a piece through moving closer to a speaker, in visually representing this idea, I created pieces that could be taken apart or brought forward into focus and emphasis.

Using red to express which layer is on top, expresses a intamate understanding when focused on a specific installation piece, or in Cardriff’s case, a specific voice – in a state of stimulation. As well as a fading in and out of sounds as the move forward to the top or bottom of the layers.

In conclusion, the use of plastic sheets and the ability to seperate, over lap, shift and mix sounds allowed me to communicate the sense of variety and range in sounds when played in a space that Janet Cardriff expressed in her works. In which a structure that allows sounds to travel and bounce of each other can create fading in and out of sounds in a space. Where each location expresses different level of each sound.

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