A Delight for the Ears

By Gil Kaminer

Sound Art is coming to Caramoor! In the Garden of Sonic Delights, an ambitious and comprehensive sound art exhibition, will be presented at Caramoor and partner sites across the Mid-Hudson region beginning in June 2014. At Caramoor, it will be enjoyed by visitors who might be expecting to hear more traditional sounds emanating from the theaters and gardens. The exhibition will consist of 15 works of sound art – a feast for music and art fans alike.

Sound art, a diverse field of artistic activity, is a bridge between visual art and musical expression approaching its environment and audience through technology, acoustics, and an engagement with human perception. The program, scheduled to run next year from June to October, focuses on artists who will look to “engage and explore the intricate connections between nature, sound, and music,” said Stephan Moore, Curator and Artistic Director of the exhibition. “This project transforms Caramoor and its partners into a gigantic outdoor gallery of sound art, offering transformative experiences of sound, nature, art, and technology accessible to everyone.”

“We are proud to be engaging with this exciting and inspirational artistic  movement as sound art is gaining popularity at  a rapid pace,” said Caramoor’s Managing Director, Paul Rosenblum. The genre’s rising notoriety is demonstrated by the significant sound art exhibition opening in August at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In the Garden of Sonic Delights picks up the conversation from MoMA while offering its own twist – matching artists with mostly outdoor environments and commissioning new works in response to the places the work will inhabit.

These adventurous explorations of sound, taking various forms such as sonic installations, sound sculptures, and sound walks, might seem far outside Caramoor’s usual artistic traditions, but Mr. Rosenblum would disagree. “From the 1930’s, Caramoor’s co-founder, Lucie Rosen, embraced new approaches to sound and technology,” he said. “She was a patron of the pioneering musical inventor Leon Theremin, and an accomplished performer on his signature instrument, the theremin, the very first electronic instrument. Caramoor’s engagement with sound art today is an extension of this important legacy.”

Mr. Moore, the vice president of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, has been a pioneer in the contemporary experimental audio world for the past 15 years as a sound artist, curator, improviser, composer, and programmer. He said the artists will “create a web of sound art woven into the fabric of the region,” and added that Caramoor’s educational programs will be expanded to include sound art as well.

The artwork presented will be accompanied by performances, discussions, sound walks, workshops, an online resource guide, and a catalogue and video documentation. Keep your eyes – and your ears – on Caramoor’s website for an announcement this fall about the exciting artists who will be participating, as well as the sites in and around the region that will be hosting this innovative exhibition.

In the Garden of Sonic Delights is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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