… Project 2: Transformation

DUE IN 3 WEEKS (Nov 2)

For this project, you must use sound to transform a space in a meaningful way. The venue and strategies are yours to decide.

  • Be honest, not merely clever. It’s easy to play loud sounds and say you’re “commenting on noise pollution”, but irony is not necessarily commentary. A more articulate method is usually harder to perfect, and much more rewarding.
  • Consider your means. I want you to try new techniques, so keep your ideas simple enough to finish on time.
  • Stay in touch. I’m around, so find me before disaster strikes.


We have discussed R. Murray Schafer’s notion of the “soundscapes” in relation to modernity, ecology and the exercise of power. We listened to how “noise” transformed 20th century music and how Alvin Lucier explored architectural acoustics with simple gestures. We will hear how Janet Cardiff inserts pre-recorded drama into the “live” experience of walking. A Max Neuhaus installation is changing the sound of a Times Square sidewalk as you are reading this. According to the Muzak Corp., music can influence customer’s buying habits (or “soften” inmates in U.S. military prisons). Later in the semester we will visit Lamont Young’s Dreamhouse where massive sound waves change a carpeted room into a timeless mathematical harmony.
(Search this syllabus for these artists, or take a trip to the internets.)