Lonely Planet Writer

Step inside an immersive sonic sound exhibition in New York this fall

An exhibition that features a range of immersive and interactive installations, solo projects and commissions all centred around shaping space with sound has opened for autumn at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

MSHR's, Knotted Gate Presence Weave at Sonic Arcade.
MSHR’s Knotted Gate Presence Weave at Sonic Arcade. Image by Jenna Bascom, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

Called Sonic Arcade, the exhibition is running until 25 February 2018 at Columbus Circle, and brings together over twenty different creatives that explore sound as a physical entity and display objects that have been specifically crafted to transmit it in a range of diverse and imaginative ways. The exhibit is spread over three gallery floors and even expands to the stairwell and Turnstyle Underground Market at the 59th Street Columbus Circle subway station that sits beneath the museum.

Installation view of Polyphonic Playground by Studio PSK as part of Sonic Arcade.
Installation view of Polyphonic Playground by Studio PSK as part of Sonic Arcade. Image by Jenna Bascom, courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

“Sonic Arcade assembles artists, designers, and performers who utilize sound as a material, activating its potential to shape space and environment, while drawing out the ability of the auditory to provide a fresh perspective on how surroundings, and the body, are perceived and engaged,” said Shannon R. Stratton, MAD’s William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator.

The exhibition sees over 20 artists, designers and performers coming together to utilise sound in creative ways.
The exhibition sees over 20 artists, designers and performers coming together to utilise sound in creative ways. Image by Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

The main exhibition was curated by Shannon, with the collaborative solo project called Audiowear that features porcelain musical jewellery showcasing the acoustic quality of clay being created for Tiffany & Co by Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright. Other works include Sine Body, which uses acoustically reflective materials and electronic feedback to create a smooth repetitive oscillating soundwave, Polyphonic Playground, a structure that combines slides, swings and climbing frames with conductive materials and custom electronics to create a large-scale, body-activated MIDI controller, and Propagation (Opus 3), which turns the museum and its architecture into an enormous instrument by embedding speakers along the gallery wall, allowing visitors to trigger sounds.

Xylophone Bangles by Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright.
Xylophone Bangles by Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright. Image by Museum of Arts and Design

Music and art collective MSHR have also created a piece for the project that combines hand-built synthesizers, digitally designed modular sculptures with lights and mirrors to construct spaces that fully immerse the audience into a sensory system.

More information on visiting Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound is available at the official Museum of Arts and Design website.