Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY has mounted a unique sound art exhibition “In the Garden of Sonic Delights”. This innovative and timely sound art presentation brings to light 16 artists working in sound art within the landscape. Sound Art is a genre which explores using sound as an artistic material. It has recently gained a resurgence of interest due to the emergence of innovative software and the ground breaking exhibition “Soundings: A Contemporary Score” displayed last year at MOMA. Now Caramoor has made their mark on the topic with a selection of contemporary practitioners that augment, shape and alter nature with sound.
While wandering through Caramoor’s beautifully manicured property, the visitor is greeted with a variety of stunning landscapes including the Sunken Garden, the Cedar lined pathways and a Spanish courtyard. From the wide diversity of spaces available the selected artists were able to find perfect location matches to complement their work. This attention to establishing the right acoustic environment for each piece results in the visitor encountering a full range of wonderful sonic surprises at every twist of their path.
The works presented range from well-known artists like Laurie Anderson to new arrivals on the scene such as Betsey Biggs. Laurie Anderson, in collaboration with Bob Bielecki
who created “We Fall Like Light.” Anderson’s interest in stories that have a time component led her to make a fountain that gently trickles while seeming to flow backwards when seen through the supplied digital glasses. Stephan Moore’s “Diacousticon,” is a work he describes as a “platform for experimentation.” This piece listens to its environment, then generates a wonderful selection of algorithmic sonic responses to what it hears, creating an interaction between the piece and its aural environment. Another fascinating piece, “Sunken Gardens” by Betsey Biggs uses closed loop radio receivers, letting visitors hear and play sounds that others cannot hear without the help of the receivers.
The Curator and Artistic Director of the exhibition, Stephan Moore is a visionary. He has succeeded in marrying sound within the landscape to give us an unbridled view of the range of this cutting edge art while pioneering sonic art exhibitions. Mr. Moore works from a strong sound base that begins with 15 years of experience working in experimental audio for such luminaries as Merce Cunningham and Pauline Oliveros. In addition he is comfortable with sound design, composing, improvising, theatrical sound design and installation art work. In the final steps of completing his PhD this well rounded sound art curator is one to watch.
The exhibition “In the Garden of Sonic Delights” is open only through November 2nd. So, the time is ripe to plan a fall trip to Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts before the show closes.