Sound movement through the atmosphere is affected by wind profile, open landscape and winter temperatures that can bend the wave front, causing sounds to be heard where they normally would not, or vice versa, creating acoustic shadows. Building upon the archive of altitudinal sounds from Nikel and other areas we have visited, our next work Acoustic Shadows and Boundary Reflections centred on a new model of verticality. As an imaginative figure we experiment with sorting our archive of sounds by height. From the bottom of oceans, to the planetary boundary layer with land formations and weather shaping sounds, up through clouds to the outer atmosphere. Various locations (Sint Jansklooster water tower, Fjell Festning) were in 2017 re-imagined into models of the atmosphere to study this further.
Sint Jansklooster water tower, 1. February 2017 and 23. February 2017: The water tower is a 46m tall building located in northern Holland. The main space is 25m high with a spectacular staircase leading up to two top chambers, one with a concave-shaped floor and one with 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape. The audience was welcomed outside by our “station” with wind instruments and the rest of the performance took place in the 25 m high space, used as a model for our vertical studies. Most of the sounds we worked with were created by wind-recording instruments. We also ran an experiment on the vertical life of birds, in which we created a model of bird songs from around the world sorted by frequency. Through our vertical speakers, telescopes with speaker elements, we could play sounds on the whole vertical axis of the space. By expanding the telescopes, different zones for the sounds of the archive were created. Resonating rods were fixed to the railings and functioned as impulse response instruments; when being resonated, their frequencies “cut” through the zones before filling the space with their omnipresence. After the performance in the main space was over, the audience were invited to walk further up to the “globe chamber” were a horn speaker were playing out noise from the wind-section of the archive.
1 – 25 February 2017: an installation version of the work was open for visitors every Saturday during February.
Acoustic Shadows and Boundary Reflections I was commissioned by the Sonic Acts Festival with support from Norsk Kulturråd and Borealis Festival. Many thanks to David Kuhlemeier, Natuurmonumenten (Bezoekerscentrum-de-wieden), Froukje & Elbert, Annette Wolfsberger and the rest of the Sonic Acts team! Photos by Pieter Kers: