Proposal for Sound Installation at Bloch Gallery

October 7, 1984

        Music has been traditionally organized as the progression of changes in vertical auditory space over time, i.e., horizontal auditory space. Sound objects have been perceived as transient phenomena arising from silence, filling a certain vertical space, and ultimately returning to silence. The main goal of the present work is to shift the axes of traditional sonic organization in such away as to present a vertical structure that changes not over time but over space.
        In order to achieve such a goal the dimension of time must be substituted by the dimension of space. Here and there replaces now and then. The sound-space is to be perceived as an eternal non-changing entity. What changes is not the structure itself , but the observerís relationship to the structure. The perception of the structure changes as one moves about within it but it should always be clear to the observer that the structure itself does not change.
        As a realization of these ideas I propose the following: A number of small loudspeakers are placed strategically throughout the gallery at a height of about 5.5 feet. These may be suspended from the ceiling or placed in columns. From each speaker a tone of fixed pitch is emitted at very low volume. These are tuned in such a way as to create tension with some of its neighbors and repose with others. The consonant/dissonant sound-space thus created has an architectural structure of its own which may be shaped so as to complement or to contrast the architectural space which contains it. In an art gallery, for example, the architectural function of the sound-space might very well be to direct observers towards the exhibits by creating consonance in the vicinity of the exhibits and dissonance elsewhere.
        The result of this project is the creation of a temporally static multi-dimensional sound-space through which an observer is free to explore, to feel the vertical attraction and repulsion that is inherent in the perception of multiple tones, and to discover the topography of  what is essentially a piece of frozen music.

        Stephen W. Boyer
        October 7, 1984

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