The architecture of the building enters into an acoustical dialogue with the invisible, or intangible aspects of interior ‘empty’ space and the way people engage with it. The juxtaposition between exterior city sound and the interior spaces of the Museum draws attention to sound that makes up the acoustic landscape of the city.
Chõros highlights the acoustical problem that a city is, and the degree to which architects and designers think about the way buildings and architectural materials affect sound in urban environments. Given the constant presence of human-generated sound in the urban environment, it is easy to dismiss sound as part of the experience of daily living. As cities increase in size across the globe, the ability to find truly quiet, empty space is increasingly rare.
We process sound on a subconscious level that informs our sympathetic nervous system. Quiet is integral to our understanding of ‘awareness’. Sound, like colour, has a phenomenological effect on our subconscious landscapes and informs our understanding of our place in the world.
The juxtaposition between city sounds in the ‘day’ exhibition space and sounds generated by the human body in the ‘night’ exhibition space draw attention to the relationship between our conscious and subconscious landscapes. But also creates a soundscape that illustrates the relationship of the individual to interior spaces, or the interior space of the body to the environment.
As people move from the first exhibition space, down the stairs to the second exhibition space, visitirs follow the course of transition from dusk until dawn as it takes place over the course of Nuit Blanche.
Chõros illuminates the process through which people inscribe meaning into social space, and raises questions about the degree to which ‘empty’ space is inherently meaningful. By transforming the space with light, Chõros illuminates the immaterial, and increases our sensitivity to the way we interact with our environment.
This piece incorporates chance-based aleatoric methodology into the creative process. Chõros relies on participants to activate the sound in the exhibition. This piece is comprised of sound harvested from the streets of the city. Chõros is a phenomenological soundscape made up of sounds deeply associated with experiences of every day life. By stripping sound down to its bare essentials and presenting sound in its most basic, abstract form, Chõros renders these sounds as indistinguishable. The content in this piece is composed of sounds that a teacher would be familiar with, a chef, or perhaps a taxi driver. In removing associations to the original source, the project recycles sound through a rethinking of the way we use public space.
In Exhibition Space 1 Chõros opens with light, airy and ethereal tones and, as visitors move down the stairs, the piece progresses through sounds that are darker, subdued and minimal. As visitors enter the basement exhibition space the atmosphere deepens to reflect the shadowy resonances of the city at night. Noises that hum, echo, thud and reverberate are evocative of the body and conjure a dreamlike quality. As visitors progress from the street to the underground level of the museum, Chõros moves from the landscapes of conscious daily life to the dreamlike landscapes of the interior and the subconscious. As visitors emerge from the underground level, the sound returns to the celestial, gossamer swish, clatters, crashes and jingles that characterized the lighter tones of the ‘day’ in beginning of the piece.