Sonic Vista is an installation in a large-scale urban sound space (Deutschherrnbrücke, a railway bridge over the River Main) that helps an observer listen into the inner workings and complexity of the city and hear its patterns of sound as a whole in the moment. The urban sound sources are subtly transformed in real time, with “tuning tubes” enhancing harmonic patterns that the human brain can read out as music, as rhythm. The ear and eye of the observer become engaged in noticing the city’s sonic patterns and forming a new mental map of the sources of its vibrations. The effect is one of decoding new information, hearing the sound of your culture as a sophisticated whole organism for the very first time. It is the sound of ourselves, our “hive,” our cultural inputs and outputs heard as an advanced urban-music pattern.
The opportunity to make this dream come true came through the 20th anniversary of Frankfurt’s green belt, supported by the Deutsche Bahn, the City of Frankfurt, and the European Central Bank. The north and south portions of the green belt are to be joined together at this very spot, with its classic “postcard” view of Frankfurt. To draw people to our Sonic Vista we create two large, bright spherical loudspeakers as visual icons and attractors, which can be seen from a long way away. But when people approach to investigate these objects they find a gentle field of sound—the city is harmonically altered, playing in real time.
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