Sonic Arboretum – Guggenheim NYC 2010

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Description

The Sonic Arboretum is a collection of horn loaded speakers created for a collaborative project between Specimen’s Ian Schneller and composer/violinist Andrew Bird. It is comprised of a ground cover of smaller horns existing among larger horns that punctuate the space and also add dynamic physical movement. Andrew sends musical information to different groups of horns via multiple loops played live on violin and other instruments.

Features
  • Thirty-two Hornling Horn Speakers

  • Sixteen Hornlet Horn Speakers

  • Four XL Horn Speakers

  • One Janus Double Spinning Horn Speaker

Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010

For its debut, the Sonic Arboretum was presented to a sold-out crowd at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for a one-night only performance on August 5, 2010. The event supported the museum’s three-part series of live music performances and takes its thematic cue from the conceptual threads that weave through their exhibit titled Haunted: Contemporary Film/Video/Performance.

The horn collection featured two new Specimen horn speaker designs: the Hornling which stands 2-feet tall and the Hornlet, which is slightly smaller at 1-1/2 feet tall.

For the Guggenheim show, Specimen created 32 Hornlings and 16 Hornlets and arranged them around the museum’s rotunda floor. These new horns were punctuated with four of Specimen’s 8- foot tall XL Horn Speakers and the Janus Double Spinning Horn Speaker.

The spatial imaging of Specimen horns is unique and powerful. Both specific image placement and ethereal effects can be achieved with these custom horns. An exquisite sonic field is punctuated by very specific commanding voices emerging from the XL horns and the spinning Janus Horn.

Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010

Collectively, these horns and Andrew’s compositions formed a fireworks display where the subject matter is not merely incendiary, but orchestral in nature. Beautiful sounds, not just explosions. Panoramic and all encompassing, enveloping the listener, immersing and carrying them away to another place. The environment created by this assembly of horns enables sonic theatrics unobtainable with typical sound systems. Imagination becomes reality. Function as a flight of fancy. This is the Sonic Arboretum.

Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird & Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum show at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller's Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC 2010