A site-specific resonance sound portrait of the i360 XR Theater in the Glenn Hubert Library at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus in ATMOS 11 format. Cylinder premiered September 27, 2023 as a six-hour-long sound installation as a stand-alone Subtropics 2023 Marathon Satellite event.
Cylinder is the culmination of my first year-long artistic residency at the i360 Theater. It’s not just an installation, but a testament to the my journey and exploration of sound and physical space — a journey that will soon become a permanent part of the Theater’s collection.
My installations, including Cylinder, are acoustical portraits renowned for their ability to make audible the unique personality of a particular space. The sustained tones that resonate with the architecture invite the audience into a deeper understanding of the unseen dimensions of space and a heightened state of consciousness.
During the event audiences are invited to step into the installation, to sit, stand, and wander through the space and engage with sound and space in an entirely new way.
What you hear in this recording of the sound installation Cylinder is not the entire phenomenon that occurs in the space as the piece plays over time inside the room. Since certain resonances manifest themselves three-dimensionally only in specific locations of the space and not others, it is impossible to hear the same thing from a specific location as someone sitting on the opposite side of the room.
This is similar to looking at a sculpture; what a person sees while standing at the front of it isn’t the same as what another person sees while standing at the opposite end.
In contrast to a sculpture, a sound installation unfolds over time. Walking around and seeking a perfect perspective on the sound may reveal previously unheard sounds, but it may also occur at a time when something more interesting is about to happen in the original location. Who is to say which location is best or whether walking around amplifies the likelihood of a more comprehensive experience?
I made a stationary recording because, for me, the point of experiencing Cylinder is to embrace what is given and to trust that every possible perspective is as valid as the others, despite its uniqueness.
Another aspect of this recording is related to its dynamic range. For example, the recording begins with a slow fade-in that doesn’t reach a very loud peak. My recommendation is to resist the temptation to adjust the levels since they are partly influenced by the microphone’s placement, and there will be moments when the resonances hit the microphone at a strong amplitude level.
Certain pure tones may feel uncomfortably loud when the level is raised to settings louder than 75-80% of the system’s capacity. If adjustments are necessary, I would suggest adjusting the volume control of your unit while listening for a sound that emerges not as a direct signal, but as one that allows you to hear the room as well.