TUNING IN (2011)

Multichannel site-specific sound installation

Commissioned by Gaudeamus Music Week 2011, Utrecht - NL

Tuning In is a site-specific multi-speaker sound installation which audiences encounter as they enter Vredenburg Leeuwenbergh to attend a concert. The sounds used in the installation consist of numerous recorded samples of different instrumentalists playing a single note "a" across octaves (the usual tuning reference) plus single strokes on non-pitched percussion instruments. All the sounds are found on and downloaded from the website www.freesound.org without being processed in any way. Distributed over eight loudspeakers, the recordings are being played back as if the people playing the instruments are trying to tune and prepare for the concert. A poster with the list of all used sounds, their descriptions and their authors is exhibited as a part of the installation.

Even though the recordings of the tones were made by different people on different locations (sometimes years apart without being aware of each other) they share the similarity of their conception, the focused intention to produce, record and share a simple musical sound of a certain frequency. The connection between the random and non-performative sounds is thus established not because they occupy the same place and time, but by a corresponding gesture.

As it plays back the collected recordings in the given situation the installation relates to the moment just before the concert starts when the musicians gather in a physical space and consciously coordinate the tuning of their instruments. Conversely, the isolated and scattered occurrences of the note “a” (which could have been played anywhere and at any time) form an unintentional but homogenous and ongoing sound. Not located in any particular place, this sound exists in time alone.

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