The 2010 winner of the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Award, Organ of Corti, is an experimental instrument which reframes sounds recycled from the surrounding environment, and questions whether more noise is truly needed in a world already filled with sounds.
The project boldly aims to draw attention to the surrounding soundscape, offering a ‘frame through which to listen to the sounds around us,’ explain Liminal, the English partnership between architect Frances Crow and sound artist and composer David Prior. This scientific art project does not actually produce a sound of its own, but instead ‘uses’ surrounding sound, offering new ways of listening to what is already there.
Named after the organ of hearing in the inner hear, Organ of Corti uses the acoustic technology of sonic crystals to accentuate and alternate frequencies to create an ‘evolving sound environment that relies entirely on the sound energy already present in the place in which it is installed’. Depending on the position of the listener, the noise will sound differently since different areas of the frequency spectrum will be accentuated or attenuated. Listen!
Organ of Corti is built using four-meter high acrylic cylinders, that form a lattice where the sounds are produced. ‘This instrument is a device that, for us, rematerializes our experience of sound, inviting us to listen to ourselves listen,’ conclude Liminal.