Go on transforming a square canvas
in your head until it becomes a
circle. Pick out any shape in the
process and pin up or place on the
canvas an object, a smell, a sound
or a colour that came to your mind
in association with the shape.
— Yoko Ono, “Painting to Be Constructed in Your Head” from Grapefruit, 1964
The dismal drum of Huichilobos sounded again, accompanied by conches, horns, and trumpet-like instruments. It was a terrifying sound, and when we looked at the tall cue [temple-pyramid] from which it came we saw our comrades who had been captured in Cortés defeat being dragged up the steps to be sacrificed. When they had hauled them up to a small platform in front of the shrine where they kept their accursed idols we saw them put plumes on the heads of many of them; and then they made them dance with a sort of fan in front of Huichilobos. Then after they had danced the papas [Aztec priests] laid them down on their backs on some narrow stones of sacrifice and, cutting open their chests, drew out their palpitating hearts which they offered to the idols before them. Then they kicked the bodies down the steps, and the Indian butchers who were waiting below cut off their arms and legs and flayed their faces, which they afterward prepared like glove leather, with their beards on, and kept them for their drunken festivals. Then they ate their flesh with a sauce of peppers and tomatoes.
What may emerge as the most important insight of the twenty-first century is that man was not designed to live at the speed of light. Without the countervailing balance of natural and physical laws, the new video-related media will make man implode upon himself. As he sits in the informational control room, whether at home or at work, receiving data at enormous speeds — imagistic, sound, or tactile — from all areas of the world, the results could be dangerously inflating and schizophrenic. His body will remain in one place but his mind will float out into the electronic void, being everywhere at once in the data bank. Discarnate man is as weightless as an astronaut but can move much faster. He loses his sense of private identity because electronic perceptions are not related to place. Caught up in the hybrid energy released by video technologies, he will be presented with a chimerical “reality” that involves all his senses at a distended pitch, a condition as addictive as any known drug. The mind, as figure, sinks back into ground and drifts somewhere between dream and fantasy. Dreams have some connection to the real world because they have a frame of actual time and place (usually in real time); fantasy has no such commitment.
Norway. In the cold and the silence, the visual field empties. Sounds, on the other hand, are strikingly close. Nostalgia for a primal nature, an imageless depth, a depth without signs as far as the eye can see. This very soon becomes unbearable: it is in the artificial and the superficial that we are like fish in water.
Andy Warhol Interview on BBC, 1981
- Edward Smith: Why is it more of a pleasure to do 30 or 40 pictures than to do just one?
- Andy Warhol: Then I can, uh, listen to my soundabout which looks just like the thing that I'm wearing now, and you can listen to opera and stuff like that.
- Edward Smith: Does that mean you don't have to think when you're painting?
- Andy Warhol: No, you can listen to really good music.
- Edward Smith: So, what, painting is an excuse to listen to really good music?
- Andy Warhol: Oh, yeah.
Ian Simpson Architects, Beetham Tower, Manchester, England, 2004-6
'An intermittent hum, in windy weather, is believed to emanate from the roof's glass blade which was first reported in May 2006 - just weeks after the tower opened. It is close to standard musical pitch of B3 (247 Hertz) and has been compared to a “UFO landing.” Work to reduce or eradicate the noise took place in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Foam pads were installed in 2007, aluminium nosing in 2007 and further work done in February 2010, but attempts to eradicate the noise permanently have been unsuccessful. In January 2012 strong winds caused very loud humming and the architect apologised. It was suggested that the decorative glass blade could be removed to solve the problem.’
I hear the whistle of the locomotive in the wood. Wherever that music comes it has its sequel. It is the voice of the civility of the Nineteenth Century saying, ‘Here I am.’
There is a beautiful saying by an American philosopher, Alan Watts. He used to say that through our eyes the universe is perceiving itself, and through our ears the universe is listening to its cosmic harmonies. And we are the witness to which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.
BAM + ARUP, Renderings of the Nature Gate, Nanjing, China, 2013
"The simple and elegant form of the gate performs naturally as an enhanced acoustical device. Sound from the inside of the Nature Gate, like the cascading fall of water, is projected into the Jiajing Riverside Park. And conversely, like an ear, the Nature Gate amplifies the sounds of the external environment for those standing inside of the gate."