Rosenthal Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, 2014
2012 _ 007 Urban Songline (Latitude: 40.721514° N - 40.721384° N / Longitude: -73.997295° W - -73.996943° W) - Storefront for art and Architecture, New York, USA
Vito Acconci and Steven Holl's façade and inner space of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York transformed into a musical instrument by stringing up the inner space allowing visitors to configure the panels and play the building. Contact-microphones connected to software generate endless personalized compositions that are possible topographies of the building.
During the closing event several string instrumentalists and dancers played the space. The recordings were pressed into vinyl and played back into the space on which they improvised anew. A total of 9 tracks or layers were superimposed deconstructing the space into white noise.
Part of the project Urban Songlines, a utopian/dystopian series of collaborative translations of buildings, urban structures and public spaces into music through site-specific sound-generation inspired by the tradition of the Songlines, a system for relating to-, mapping of- and caring for their land among Aboriginal Australians. These performances are a way of connecting to places by listening to them as well as a research into how we use and experience the public domain and to what degree we can claim ownership over it, discussing notions of inclusion, becoming and belonging.
The installation consists of an interwoven network of strings throughout the façade designed by Steven Holl and Vito Acconci in 1993 and the gallery space that transform it into an interactive, responsive musical instrument. When a panel of the façade moves, the strings physically activate the totality of the façade and acoustically transform the space of the gallery making the different spatial transformations audible for visitors through electronic transformation. Scenarios of sounds are generated back into the space as soon as people play this building. Visitors become performers and are encouraged to manipulate the installation as they transcend the space by moving the panels of the façade and stretching and playing the fields of strings with their hands and bodies, thus constructing and transforming the acoustic and visual topography of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City.
Start your performance at home.
1. When on the sidewalk walking to Storefront let loose. Listen.
2. Drag your feet over the sidewalk's surfaces, feel the rhythm of the pavement's joints. Listen.
3. Walk in a constant speed, feel the change in the materials' density. Listen.
4. Stop, jump. Listen.
5. Walk on your toes and your heels; feel the softness. Listen.
6. Knock on all façades, stone, metal, glass, plastic and ceramic surfaces; feel the depth and hollowness of this city. Listen.
7. Try to move anything that might move; feel the weight. Listen.
8. Touch, pull, scratch, hit (lovingly) anything that might sound. Listen.
9. Go to Kenmare Street, number 97, caress the façade. Listen.
10. Turn the panels while entering Storefront. Listen.
11. See the strings all over the space; don't touch anything. Listen.
12. Play the Storefront with your hands, body, teeth and feet as you crawl, pluck, lick or tick the strings. Listen.
13. Play it again, think of the music, Storefront is recording your performance, synthesizing it, streaming it. Listen.
14. Leave. Perform. Listen.
15. Come back at 5pm and listen to the daily concerts composed by visitors throughout the day. Listen.