Soundscapes: Frequent Sea

May 2–July 1, 2014

Exploratorium, Pier 15, Kanbar Forum

Included with museum admission.

Soundscapes is a series of innovative listening experiences designed especially for the Kanbar Forum and its Meyer Constellation Sound system, one of the most advanced in the world. Artists create these audio experiments, which explore the spatial potential of sound and how it’s experienced in different locations in the theater at a moment in time. 

Frequent Sea
by Meara O’Reilly and Barry Threw
May 2–July 1, 2014

Tuesdays, 2:00–5:00 p.m.; Fridays, 1:00–5:00 p.m.; First and third Sundays, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (subject to change)

Most of the time we think of listening as a static act. Yet changing positions can greatly affect our perceptions of sound and space. A room’s architecture and its resonances can create radically different listening experiences in different places. And many of the principles of hearing that help us locate objects or navigate a space also influence how we hear music.

Specifically designed for the Kanbar Forum’s Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system, Frequent Sea is a dynamic composition that visitors perceptually co-create by walking through the space and standing in various locations. As steady, pure tones are gradually introduced at different points around the room, increasingly complex polyrhythms and melodies emerge from the physical collision of sound waves in both space and ears, providing each listener with a singular, embodied experience.

Meara O'Reilly is an artist and educator specializing in auditory perception. Her blog Illusion Songs is a collection of auditory illusions found in indigenous folk practices, popular music, and scientific research. Most recently she contributed to the Song Reader issue of Pop-Up Magazine and completed her first permanent exhibit at the Exploratorium, entitled Chladni Singing. Her collaboration with design firm Snibbe Interactive on sound-based “cymatic” concert visuals for Björk's Biophilia album was part of the world tour.

Barry Threw is an artist working in immersive and interactive experience. He works in collaboration with institutions, artists, and organizations at the intersection of technology and culture. Focused on forward-looking artistic projects creatively (mis)using experiential technologies, he leaves behind installations, performances, and artefacts.