Resonant Architecture, space, sound and image


As Europe’s industrial districts are gradually replaced by office blocks with curtain walls, sites once filled by the clamor of machines are turned into glossy and silent images for architecture magazines. In the window of time between closure and demolition or repurposing, unused buildings offer themselves as sites for self-directed activities. The urban explorer movement is known for breaking into off-limit areas to emerge with spectacular photographs of urban decay. But place-hacking the city, as Bradley L. Garret refers to the urban explorer movement, can have also other declinations beyond the visual. Just like hardware hackers circuit-bend consumer devices to make electronic music, buildings never designed with acoustic purposes in mind can be reclaimed for sound making and be temporarily wired as integral parts of a musical instrument. Sound artist Mark Bain is well known for shaking structures with his earthquake machines – large eccentric motors that he uses to resonate buildings by anchoring them to walls or pillars. Artist collective Art of Failure in their project entitled Corpus have been using transducers and subwoofers for the same purpose. Attaching them to walls, ceilings, roofs, metal panels and various fixtures and furnishings, they inject low frequencies into materials, which respond with a quivering of overtones, shaking and rattle-harmonic drones blending with indeterminate noise. They capture their performances in a series of videos that portray the sites set into vibration by unseen agents. A synthesis of space, sound and image in which the apparent lack of human activity manifest in the visual component is betrayed by the soundtrack. Matteo Marangoni


Resonant Architecture