Sound Design: Trimpin's "Hear We Are" Exhibit
I first "heard" a Trimpin installation at EMP Museum a few weekends ago in Seattle. The giant tornado of guitars on the second floor is a symbol of the Frank Gehry-designed museum, and then you find out what it does. Listening through on a set of headphones, you can hear a real-time, computer-generated composition played on the strings of the various guitars in the tornado, in various styles of music history. If VI Was IX: Roots and Branches is pretty genius, and I'm sure Jimi Hendrix would have been proud.
My oldest and dearest friend who I was visiting works in the art world and knew the gallery that was showing his current exhibition, so we brought our kids. "Hear We Are" is an exploration of sound design through vintage pieces. Vinyl recordings of voices, a Seattle philharmonic score made of sketches and colors and a self-operating surround sound of ambient noise. Sound art, sound design or "sound sculpting" is an area of music and art I'm not familiar with, but fascinated by. It reminds me slightly of the soundscapes I make when I travel, just put into a visual interpretation. I loved watching my friend's incredible daughter immersed in the soundscape coming through the headphones.
Trimpin's been awarded the MacArthur Award and the Guggenheim Fellowship for his work with acoustic music in spatial relationship. And the best part- he's German! I knew his accent sounded familiar: Born in the Black Forest in the southwest, not too far from where I live in Bavaria.
The exhibition goes through March 9 at Winston Wachter Fine Art.