Sunken Gardens

is a performative audio installation, in  which a new layer of sound — a sonic  underwater world full of bubbling noises,  creaky technology, sonar sounds, oddly  vibrating chords, surprising fragments of  text, and so on — is added to the existing  landscape. These sounds will be inaudible  to the naked ear, but visitors, with the help  of special receivers amplifying this sound  field, will be able to sonically navigate this  invisible landscape, creating their own  musical form by walking amidst the many  musical elements which make up its sonic  and geographical structure. Like a piece  of music, Sunken Gardens will contain  fragments of narrative and harmonic  structure; unlike traditional music,  visitors will play the piece non-linearly  simply by walking through it.

The technology for Sunken Gardens —  ‘induction loops’ or ‘hearing loops,’ as they  are more popularly called — is decades old,  but is regaining popularity because it’s so  helpful for those with hearing loss. Most  hearing aids (and the receivers visitors will  use) are equipped with telecoils, which  amplify the electromagnetic waves given  off by the induction loops, and enable the  listener to hear concerts, lectures and in  this case, an invisible sunken garden.


2014 Exhibit. Video by Caryn Waechter.


Betsey Biggs. Photo by Michael Sarff

Photo by Michael Sarff

Betsey Biggs

Betsey Biggs is a composer and interdisciplinary artist whose work in music, sound, video, and installation aims to expose the beautiful in the everyday, to actively engage the audience, and to transform place into creative interface through psychogeographic practice. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross has described her work as “psychologically complex, exposing how we orient ourselves with our ears.” She received her Ph.D. in Music Composition at Princeton University, writing about public sound art, held a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University, and is currently a Sawyer Fellow at Harvard University.


2014 Installation and Interview. Video by Caryn Waechter.