Tonally Inclined (2019)
Reitzenstein and Young first created collaborative installations combining sound with visuals in gallery settings in the late 1970s. In 1994 they created the first of a series of outdoor sound installations using tuned resonators, entitled Tuyaux Sonores. Visitors were invited to listen to environmental sound through a series of resonators of different lengths, each listener creating a unique melody determined by his or her chosen sequences.
In Tonally Inclined, their new installation for Caramoor, three stainless steel resonators are combined to create a structure that elevates a red cedar tree that has been pulled from the earth, its roots in the air. This tree was to be cut down to accommodate a site renovation, and is now displayed where a viewer can observe intricate details of the tree’s root system and branches that could not be seen while the tree was growing in the earth. Trees consist of clusters of tiny vertical tube-like columns that transport water, and here, rendered horizontal, the tree is supported by vertical resonating columns that transport sound, bringing our attention to unseen and unheard elements that surround Caramoor.
Visitors to Caramoor who listen closely through the resonators will perceive intricate details of the soundscape – the overtones of overhead airplanes, bird calls, the voices of other visitors, and more. Within each resonator, sounds of the artists’ voices are heard, intoning the names of the surrounding trees in several languages.
Each resonator has its own fundamental pitch and overtone series, determined by its length, and each responds differently to surrounding sounds, interacting with the existing soundscape, and together creating an ongoing musical composition in collaboration with the environment.
Since the mid-1980s Richard Reitzenstein, the Allegorical Minimalist, has inverted trees in many large-scale outdoor installations in locations as diverse as Taiwan, Santiago, Caracas, Pittsburgh, Trois Rivières, and Sault Ste. Marie. Through his permanent lost-wood bronze works, often incorporating water features and green-space design, he has immortalized moments in the history of the natural world. These works are situated in public and private gardens and parks across North America and Europe.
Since 2000, Reitzenstein has served as the Head of the Sculpture Program at SUNY Buffalo, New York. In 2019 he will inaugurate the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s year-long artist in residence program, during which he will produce works in collaboration with gallery visitors and surrounding communities, within the context of a shifting exhibition of his sculptures, drawings, photos, wood cut prints, installations and other works dating back to the early 1980s.
His installation Transformer was featured on the cover of “Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature Since the 60’s,” published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2018. With Transformer — a one-hundred-foot inverted tree suspended between two hydro-electric towers — on a cliff — above a hydro-electric dam in northern Quebec — Reitzenstein welcomed this new millennium. He is represented by the Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto, Canada and Indigo Art in Buffalo, New York.
In her music, Young explores the nature of environmental sound, intensifying our auditory experience of the world around us through recordings ranging from ocean waves interacting with shoreline rocks, waterfalls, ice, fire, thunder storms, highways, and trains. These sounds are often recorded through tuned resonators and treated electronically to highlight specific acoustical components. Young integrates unusual tunings with soundscape and electronics, performing on three instruments she designed and built to facilitate explorations in microtonal harmony, the Columbine, the Amaranth, and the Allium.
In her sound installations she has worked with long strings in two-dimensional matrices situated within resonant architectural environments, and created outdoor works inviting public interaction with found objects such as beach stones and resonant hardwood shaped by beavers. Her commissioned works for electronic and orchestral instruments often invite musicians to interpret notated music through their responses to texts written by Young.
As a writer Young discusses the histories and intentions of innovative composers and instrument designers including Pauline Oliveros, R. Murray Schafer, Michael Snow, and James Tenney. She authored the biography of Hugh Le Caine (1914-1977) the foremost Canadian inventor of electronic instruments, portraying a fertile period of invention in science and the arts from the 1930s to the 1970s. She edited Musicworks Magazine for over two decades.