Steve’s Super Surround Sound Space
My class recently went down to the University of Washington district to check out a interesting studio with an awesome sound exhibit created by a man named Steve Peters. The room itself is kind of hidden, but that almost adds to it. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by eight pairs of candles, two or so in each set, position atop eight speakers, which are covered in a light cloth, that gift you with the only light in to the room: an orange, peaceful low level light. Four of these speakers are snug in the room’s corners, and the others places against the walls. Your seating will simply be a couple of benches.
That’s all you need.
Place yourself in the middle if possible, and listen. Listen to the birds, the bells, and the songs of the people, and try to avoid throwing your head over your shoulder when a whispers creeps out, tempting as it may be. Use the rich stereo image to vicariously interweave yourself into the world it creates. Become the audience for the voices, as they are there for you.
I really enjoyed this exhibit. At first, I was wondering how long my attention would last, but I was greatly surprised by the loss of time: when my eyes closed, it captured me, and I was immersed. The whispers in particular, and ironically, stood out the most. Being so quite, it was very difficult to tell that the sound was from speakers, and it genuinely seemed like people where there with me, only to disappear if I attempted to look. In fact, if I did open my eyes after many minutes had passed, only to see my fellow students sitting so still, as if unconscious, it really emphasized the power of the experience, and now I want to create something with 8 channels of surround. For those of you in that area, I would definitely try and get in for a listen. Here’s the website: http://www.jackstraw.org/
As cool as it was, he’s not the only one doing this. Trimpin is another local Seattle sound artist who creates some interesting projects. He was actually born in Germany, but managed to find his was to the United Sates in 1979. Also, According to his biography page on his website, www.trimpinmovie.com, he does not allow his recordings to be “commercially released” or to be represented by a gallery or dealer. He does, though, have some previews there: http://www.trimpinmovie.com/#/selectedworks/
And just in case you’re not satisfied, here are two more artists/pices, a Jim Green the jokester: http://jimgreen.org/home.html and an interesting concept found here called Immersed: http://sarahlayne.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/installation-concept-immersed/