DOGON I have just completed a group of new compositions for a wonderful evening of music and dance performances related to traditional art from the Dogon (Mali) along with contemporary clothing design by design students of the ENSAD in Paris.
I am thrilled to announce the completion a new sound installation for presentation at the Acquario Civico di Milano, from the 14th-19th April. The work was commissioned by Paola Bjaringer, founder and director the Slott Gallery in Paris for the exhibition "Préliminaires" as part of the Salone Del Mobile in Milan. It will accompany design work by Matali Crasset and Florence Jaffrain.
For much more information and directions, please visit the Slott Gallery website: Slott I have included a short program note about the work, below, and have posted a short compilation mix on my Soundcloud page or download the long version (mp3 28mb).
Thanks for visiting! Best to all. Leon.
“Clemente”, Sound installation for the Acquario Civico di Milano and Slott Gallery
“Clemente” is a festival of sound in space. A liquid space. A world equally ample and weightless, surrounded by subtle light and filtered tonalities. It offers us reflections on our origins and parallels with our future. It is a universe of frequencies, where sonic communication seems to have evolved to a minimum, becoming undeniably tailor-made and masterfully efficient for those living and interacting in this element.
In parts of this work we can hear: The Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae), Blue Whale (Balaenoptera Musculus), Orca Whale (Orcinus Orca), Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus), Pilot Whale (Globicephala melaena), Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), Risso's Dolphin (Grampus Griseus), Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus) and the Grey Seal (Halichoerus Grypus).
St. Clemente is the name of the island off the California coast where I spent many quiet days on the ocean with my father. This work is dedicated to him, along with my appreciation and thanks to Paola Bejeringer and Slott Gallery for commissioning this project.
Our presence on and in the seas, including the noises that we create and inject into it has an impact on the life and well being of that world and on ours.
I have recently received a new publication by Swarovski Crystal Palace on Arik Levy's Osmosis exhibition in Milan, 2009. I contributed an essay in this book about our experience in creating the interactive video for the exhibition.
Above: An image from the interactive video by Arik Levy.
My deep thanks to Arik Levy and the Swarovski team for this unique artistic and human experience. And to artist, Natasha Newton, for her constant encouragement and for her unparalleled precision in helping me to edit and proof-read the text.
Below is a quick photograph of the article. Following it, I have pasted the original text, as well as some page views and a downloadable example of the sound environment in mp3 format, for those interested.
Best to all,
Interactive Arena, article by Leon Milo.
Having completed the sound design and programming for Arik Levy’s Osmosis exhibition, I am thinking about the choices that we made. The choice of sounds, their qualities and their origins. The density of textures and how they fill a space. The way in which the transformation of these sounds might enhance a viewer’s perception of an object (either real or as an image), and ways of accompanying the experience of being confronted with an image which reacts to one’s every move!
Osmosis is the latest in a series of installations with Arik Levy, starting more than a decade ago, in which we explore and play with the relationships between art, design, sound and space.
But this installation was different. Unique in it’s enormity and unique in it’s amplitude. Unique in the variety of objects as well as in their variations of form, texture, color and function. My part in this 800 square-meter exhibit was to create an interactive sound world which would accompany a 5x8 meter, 3D image in the form of an interactive, floating and multi-faceted diamond shape. These same sounds would also be used as the audio environment for the entire exhibit.
After walking through the 100 meter x 8 meter installation, (a veritable “Mystery Tour” of color and form) we come into a space made especially for interactive video, in constant motion and constant transition. A geometry formed and reformed, exploded and reconfigured by the presence and movement of people at the ultimate arrival point! A model of transition from one state to another, and a game allowing us to take part in the creativity and transformation of elements.
I often think of objects (and spaces) as being resonant. Of tending towards a certain type of sound or sonic ambience. Perhaps as a percussionist, after years of seeing and trying out everything as a potential instrument, I began to feel as if I could intuitively see how an object would vibrate! Of course, all matter is made up of atoms in motion. The ability to excite these atoms allows for sound waves which move the air. It is certainly possible to analyze and recreate the sound of a specific object using physical modeling software. It is a technique which I have frequently used, with results producing very musical sound material!
But when conceiving a sound environment for an exhibition such as this, imagining ways which help a viewer feel a physical and emotional link with what they are experiencing, I first of all let intuition be my guide. I imagine sound, textures or sonic spaces driven by a feeling or abstract idea. It may be a suggestive shape, an ambience, or simply a quality of light. Sounds which may give the impression that the objects themselves are in vibration, as if the molecule’s movements were being scanned by a giant sonic microscope!
The original sounds for Osmosis came mostly from samples of glass, resonant crystal, ice, rock, earth movement and various bowed metal instruments recorded in my studio. At first, extremely quiet and subtle, the sounds become huge when modified by two harmonizer software treatments, changing the pitch, length, sound quality and frequencies, etc. by way of movement in front of the video. This movement is captured by a video cam, sending the information to the video and sound treatment software. Completely fluid, these sounds become super visions of what they were originally, as if changing from cold to hot, brittle to flexible, liquid to solid!
Eight stereo sound banks play back the treated audio at different speeds, with various 4-channel panning, volume, and mix of pure and treated sounds, depending on the number of people and level of movement in the viewing area. As the public moves and plays with the image, the sound follows with different intensities and varying qualities. This sound is diffused in real time on the other side at the start of the exhibition, and audible in the distance on either side throughout the space, giving us a preview of what is to come!
When the visitor finally makes his way through the path of Arik’s larger-than-life creation, he finds himself confronted with - but in control of - this huge shape in space.
Exhibition « Preliminaries » : design at the threshold of love.
an extension of a project on the theme of love, SLOTT gallery have invited four designers to play out their
fantasies, giving shape and meaning, breathing life into their
conceptions of preliminaries. They have approached this subject from
different and complementary viewpoints that together offer a panorama
of creation like no other seen before.
Levy's major part of this exhibition, for which I contributed sound and interactive programing, unveils his work on the spoken and the unspoken of intimate
relations with his series of installations entitled « Confessions »
that includes, among other elements, an examination of the iconography
of sexuality alongside a kind of modern home confessional.
Like the color of a sunset in mid-summer or the smell of Sunday
dinner, sound has an effect on our perception of the world and of ourselves. The
sound of our shower, experienced every morning but never heard, or a
response to a question which we could have only hoped for in an inner
voice, and heard in an unlikely context, places a spotlight on our lives
and emotions using a sense which is too often ignored.
Arik asked me to make what he now calls a "Voice Positivisor". What we see of this is a white computer screen and a microphone. On approching the screen, we see a faint line of text. When one speaks in to the mic we hear phrases spoken back to us by one of six voices which I recorded especially for this experience. Arik gave me 29 written phrases which were recorded independetly by 3 women and 3 men. One never knows which voice or which phrase will come back to us, but it is always a good surprise which leaves us feeling very positive and smiling! When the voice speaks, the corresponding text is shown on the white screen.
Other abience consisted of a multi track recording which I made during a dinner party hosted by the gallery owner the night before the opening in the exhibition space. I also recorded the sound of the gallery's shower, in the bathroom of the exhibition space. These sounds, contribute to the feeling of a most convivial and loving living environment!
It was an interesting acoustic addition and nice surprise to have diffused these sounds in the same resonant space to which they were recorded. It created a sonic unity and non-obtrusive quality which is at times difficult to achive when using ambient sound to accompany art and create a sonic environment.
To top off the sensory experience, Arik baked a cake in the gallery's kitchen for the opening, adding a warm and fabulous chocolate perfume to the evening!
As Arik said, we would all be better off, instead of saying to one another "Why don't you hug me?", we would just say, "Hug me!".
Here are a some images from the sound design programming for the exhibition.
Until February 12th, 2010.
Please contact me if you would like more information.
Best to all for a wonderful, loving New Year!
Here is Screenshot of the voice program, open for editing.