Room Pieces_71 h_Roma

23/02/2006 - 26/02/2006

    ROOM PIECES – 71 Hours …multi-channel extended duration sound installations that use a modular compositional approach characterized by a wide variety of sonic material. The context of presentation is crucial: each manifestation of ROOM PIECES takes on a unique identity based on the nature of the space in which it is installed. defines points in space and coordinates these points by the juxtaposition of related sounds, weaving a spatial geometry, a continuously shifting grid of multi-point relations with the listener as axis. Rather than “virtual space”, an imitation of a world outside this one, ROOM PIECES intersects the real world, sectionalizing space according to acoustic phenomena. …works with memory to create grids of time as complements to the geometry of space. Autonomous sound elements combine to form clusters of disparate structures, shifting contexts and remembered places and moments. Personal memories clash with collective; cultural influences beyond any individual vision inform the reception of compositional decisions. Every element remains highly independent, articulating its unique path into the future, but tied at every moment to coincidental, unpredictable simultaneities. ROOM PIECES is a counterpoint of fully-formed voices, separated, juxtaposed, in space and time. To date there have been 34 instances of ROOM PIECES beginning in 1991 with a 12 channel installation in an apartment on Sullivan Street in New York City. Subsequent realizations have taken place in a variety of settings, including a bar, art galleries, museums, public spaces, a hi-fi store and concert halls. The latest realization is a 24 channel version in an apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that runs 24/7. ROOM PIECES is about listening, calling conscious attention to a mechanism that is normally instinctive. It is about the natural ebb and flow of our engagement of sonic phenomena, how we are sometimes attentive, sometimes distracted, sometimes mindful of our environment and “in-the-moment”, and other times self-absorbed. These different “states” have associated modes of listening, all of which are explored in ROOM PIECES. The timing and placement of the various sounds that make up the installation mimic how sounds occur in the “real world”, some loud, some soft, some near, some far, some disturbing, some mundane, some persistent, some abrupt, some that force themselves into ones consciousness, others that drone on and are only noticed when they fall silent. The structure is modular, consisting (to date) of about 200 components that are re-assembled to create a specific instance of the piece. For any given realization there may be a significant number of new modules created, given the unique character of every location. The basic organizing principle is the alternation, in each module, of sound and silence. The ratio of one to the other, which is flexible, determines the textural characteristics of a particular installation. A “module” is defined as a specific sound as well as the process used by the computer to execute the sound in “real-time”. Sounds include simple sine tones, both sustained and articulated, instrumental sounds, synthesized sounds, field recordings, and sounds culled from various sources like the World Wide Web, films and CDs. ROOM PIECES explores the repercussions of utilizing the computer as a medium for creating art, examining issues and aspects such as algorithmic structure, controlled random processes, data volatility, system stability, the nature of memory, both human and digital, and the role of the composer given a medium that takes over so many of the tasks traditionally executed by human beings. ROOM PIECES is a work-in-progress. It includes work from the late 1980s and continues to evolve with new sounds and refinements of the formal techniques. There have been a number of distinct phases in its evolution, each characterized by an expansion of the sonic material. Michael J. Schumacher, January 2006