Research Sound Sculpter – Bill Fontana

Bill Fontana, initially a composer but I think his recent work ties in with the work we have been concentrating on in our SISE project in terms of creating a sense of place. Fontana became interested in exploring how every day acoustics of the world can become musical. He has recorded a number of sound portraits around the world. Fontana presented the installation ‘Vertical Water’ in New Yorks Whitney museum in 1991, this sculpture involved the use of sound taken from Niagara falls played through speakers placed in the concrete facade of the museum Different frequencies were played from different speakers placed around the wall. The sound of the falls created an effect that masked out the general sound of the street.

“ Fontana’s sound environments renew our awareness of the places we inhabit and the
powerful role sound plays in both our sense of self and memory. Fontana’s work is
predicated on a sophisticated investigation into how we perceive sounds in the world.
He has created a series of compelling projects that subtly treat the interplay between the
origins of sounds and the contexts in which we perceive them, causing the viewer to
become conscious of himself and his senses as he hears and perceives anew the world he
inhabits”
John Hanhardt, Guggenheim Museum

This is the most inspirational soundscape for me so far by Bill Fontana of San Franciscos Golden Gate Bridge.  I was thinking of using bridges in my project an I think it would be really interesting to create something like this and relate it to images of the bridge.

The images put the audience at the location and we can relate to the sounds but without them (and with them to a point) the sounds are very unnerving especially the sound of the fog horn which also reminds me of the communication between the spaceship and scientists in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters’ movie from  1977

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