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LUMEN Resonant Sound Space

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LUMEN RESONANT SOUND SPACE

  sited at the Atlantic Salt Co., Staten Island, New York as part of the LUMEN Festival, June 25, 2016.

Lumen Resonant Sound Space is a site-specific performance installation concerning itself with place / site / geography and the layers of resonance that places hold. Sonically, resonance is “the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.” A separate explanation of resonance references things that are personally meaningful and how those ideas move through time. It is with these definitions, and others, that this work was created. The work can be thought of concentric circles of audio and mental resonance that move out from the location of the installation, and through Staten Island as a whole.

The interior of the site is set with contact microphones. Once activated (through electronics or through acoustic means, such as sruti boxes) the site itself becomes resonant and active. A recording of local icons Wu-Tang Clan, stretched beyond recognition, also joins this resonance. This is the base sound of the resonant space upon which other layers are placed.

At intervals, pre-recorded field recordings of the site as well as other locations in the Atlantic Salt grounds are presented inside the resonance of the space. In effect, this pre-resonance will be put into the location, a co-existence of different time spaces. As the work moves through time, recordings of other locations in Staten Island, such as Great Kills Park and Little Sri Lanka in Tompkinsville, are projected.

Text readings and use of voice move the installation beyond the realm of the strictly musical. There are two different texts: one, an early history of Staten Island (Richmond County), and one regarding the population diversity on Staten Island. The Acadian and agrarian view of the island is contrasted with a new influx of immigration. Vocally, the use of resonant phonemes (sonorants) is utilized. The chamber of the mouth becomes another resonant space when intoning certain sounds (such as vowels and particular consonants).

Towards the end, a final performance fuses all layers together and includes recordings of the Sinhalese language from Sri Lanka, one of the most recent additions to the tapestry of the island. All of these layers form an auditory image of place, area, and this particular time; a psycho-sonic-geographic portrait.