Seven Bells for Stone Barns
is a sonic treasure hunt of bells and sounds and acoustical ecosystems that together reveal the rhythms of life that make up the farm. The central experience is the “Bell Tower” where the Titanium nosecone of a solid fuel rocket from the 1950s is suspended in a 60-foot stone silo. It hangs in dynamic tension with the randomly oscillating movements of a heavy steel mallet, which strikes the titanium “bell” at unpredictable time intervals, causing the whole acoustic of the silo space to resonate for up to three minutes. The reverberation of this extraordinary object as it vibrates the column of air within the stone silo is a magnificent treat for the ears and the whole body.
From this central ear awakening, visitors can go on a sonic treasure hunt throughout the Stone Barns’ beautiful grounds to find other bells and systems of bells that reveal the complex interplay of rhythms and activities of the farm: bells rung in response to wind, water, sunlight, animals, and insects. Each experience reveals a rhythm, an acoustic space, and sonic information about the complex functioning systems of the farm.
Bruce Odland is an artist who thinks with his ears. A pioneer in sound installations, his first public sound installation, “Sun Song,” broadcast a four-channel cloud of reverberant sound over an outdoor festival in Denver from the clock tower of East High, back in 1977. Since then, he has discovered resonance and beauty in the fractal music of nature, and in transforming vast industrial soundscapes of the cities into harmonic music. In 1987 he founded O+A with Austrian sound pioneer Sam Auinger. Together they have developed a hearing perspective of the culture we live in, and they have responded with installations that change the perception of public space. “Blue Moon” (2004) re-tuned the post 9/11 soundspace of the World Financial Center plaza by turning noise into harmony mixed by the tides and moon. “Requiem for Fossil Fuels” (2007-2010) brought together four virtuoso voices, the Latin Requiem Mass, and an eight-channel orchestra of tuned city resonances. “Sonic Vista” (2010), a permanent piece, united the north and south GreenBelts of Frankfurt, Germany at a new focal point of listening: a “tuned” railroad bridge crossing the Main river. “Harmonic Bridge” (1998) for MASS MoCA, reclaims an underutilized city space with harmonic resonances. Their latest collaboration is a permanent installation: “Hearing View” (2013), which contains a library of healing sounds for the Rheinau Psychiatric Clinic — the oldest psychiatric institution in Switzerland.
Over the years, Odland has lent his ears to many collaborative projects in film, dance, museum installation and theatre with artists such as Laurie Anderson, JoAnne Akalaitis, Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, Peter Erskine, The Wooster Group, Tony Oursler, Dan Graham, Robert Woodruff, Dave Davidson, Bill Morrison, Stacey Steers, and Ron Miles. He recently co-directed a major outdoor sound installation with Laurie Anderson for Novartis in Basel, Switzerland. Currently he is founding the TANK, a center for sonic arts and experimentation in a giant abandoned water tank in the high desert of Western Colorado.
Bruce Odland’s Seven Bells for Stone Barns was created with master of mechanical interaction Bill Ballou.