Symphony in D Minor at Skybox

by admin on November 26, 2012

in Art Installations, Art Shows, Sculpture, Sound Design, Uncategorized

Symphony in D Minor at Skybox

Symphony in D Minor at Skybox

 Symphony in D Minor at Skybox

On November 15th Eileen Tognini, curator of Skybox at 2424 York Street, and Joan Smith, Huffington Post blogger and Ken Kay, developer of the Camtango smart phone app, hosted a get together to meet the artists who created Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher. The installation consists of four enormous tubes of light suspended from the vault-like ceiling of the gallery which when pushed to swing activates a score composed of the sounds of thunder. The tubes change patterns and the sound echoes through the space louder and louder with the swinging of the lights.

Hostess Eileen Tognini introduced the art team to the gathering and they explained much of the mystery behind the installation.

Patrick Gallagher: “Symphony in D Minor is an interactive thunderstorm. What you’re looking at are four music instruments. Rather than playing the sounds of a cello or violin, they’re playing the sounds of a thunderstorm. Now that you have an idea of what it is, now you should really explore it. It’s an interactive environment.”

Chris Klapper: “Each piece is a separate element of the thunderstorm and you become the composer and musician of atmospheric sounds. So you get to compose this symphony. As Patrick said, it’s best to just go and explore for yourself.”

Symphony in D Minor

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher

Patrick Gallagher: “A thunderstorm is an experience that everyone know, everyone has a memory, it’s a primordial thing. But, so often, we’re just trying to get away from it.”

DoN: “I remember as a kid my Grandmom helping me not be afraid by counting…”

Chris Klapper: “One- one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand…it’s how the lightning goes and then you know how many miles away it is.”

DoN: “Explain the Arcos Cloud part.”

Patrick Gallagher: “We were working on the idea of the sculpture and there was a couple of things we had in mind. We were thinking about containment, and we were also looking to something major like this. There a a thousand ways you can approach a cloud – there’s theater and there’s smoke – and we found these beautiful roll clouds, Arcos is the technical name for it, they proceed major thunderstorms. And since we’ve done this project, we were able to look up and know.”

Chris Klapper: “That’s a cumulonimbus! We know what we’re looking at now. When Patrick and I started on this, the space is such an industrial,beautiful space, we definitely didn’t want something that was going to be normal. ”

Symphony in D Minor

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher

DoN: “At the opening there were Dad’s holding up their kids to push the tubes”

Chris Klapper: “Oh! There’s an amazing photograph of a kid jumping up trying to reach – oh my gosh! And we’ve been getting written up all over the world, it’s been pretty amazing. That’s become kind of an iconic photograph for it because this kid is just jumping up and like the guy caught him mid-air trying to reach it and push it. It was pretty amazing.”

DoN: “How did you capture the sounds?”

Patrick Gallagher: “There are all these sounds in the environment, it’s the trains passing, it’s the sounds of the tunnel, the reverberations and echoes from miles away and all these sounds of the city, the hum of the electricity. And this is a lot about what this project was – the sounds that you can’t step away from. Because you’re trying to get away from it but it’s presenting it’s own view and it’s stunning, it’s its own symphony.”

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher

Patrick Gallagher: “When we were doing the recordings for this we would listen and notice all these different types of sounds that came in and we also noticed how difficult it was to isolate those sounds. There was really no other way to describe it, it was symphony. That’s how we came up with the title because it’s just really apparent.”

Chris Klapper: “And when you think about a thunderstorm, there’s actually like a symphony – there’s a beginning because the thunderstorm is coming towards you, it rolls in, it builds and builds and builds, and then it rolls out, just like a symphony. So, it has that same movement and it’s usually about the same duration of a symphony. Most thunderstorms last between thirty and thirty-five minutes and a symphony is about the same thing. We called it Symphony in D Minor because D minor tends to be the lower, darker bass instruments. Like a train coming in it has the same kind of this like a thunderstorm, they move in, have their moment or roar, and then they move out. It’s like everything in life.”

Patrick Gallagher: “The idea was to create an event that you’re normally trying to get away from. You’re trying to get into the house or into the car and it’s this beautiful experience that is so easily overlooked when you’re in the middle of trying to get away from it. We wanted to recreate that inside this space, we took it out of context and allow you to experience some of the different pieces and parts of the storm.

Chris Klapper: “We wanted you to notice the beauty of those different elements, like, I’m trying to hide for cover but I actually get to listen to the sound of thunder, to listen to the rain and see what’s happening in the sky without the fear of getting wet.”

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher, Skybox Gallery

DoN: “Where did you build this?”

Chris Klapper: “When we first started this, Eileen had gotten us a three thousand square foot studio and we were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that would be good.’ And then a thirty thousand square foot space came along and we were like, ‘There’s no way we could have done this in three thousand feet! What were we thinking?’ As it got to be bigger and bigger and bigger we realized we needed all of that space.”

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher, Skybox Gallery

Symphony in D Minor, Chris Klapper and Patrick Gallagher, Skybox Gallery

Patrick Gallagher: “About the engineering – the pieces themselves weigh about six hundred pounds, there’s steel super-structure that is holding a series of acrylic, there are translucent materials inside that hold the structure. And then, the cast resin is formed and wrapped around that.”

Chris Klapper: “We cast it in a full sheet, the mold was twenty-two feet by sixteen feet and that has fiberglass in it and we cast it and wrapped it like a drum.”

Patrick Gallagher: “There was a lot of engineering aside from the physical engineering, there’s the chemical engineering, structural engineering with a lot of people helping us along the way. And also the engineering of putting the software together and to get the system to work so that when you move it, it creates the changes in sound.”

Chris Klapper: “The sounds are field recordings and we purchased some recordings in New York because in New York and Philadelphia you get a lot of ambient noise. So, they’re in a computer program and there’s a program that’s an interactive program. And that will trigger the sound, trigger the video and change it.”

The epic sound and sculpture installation, Symphony in D Minor, ends December 1st, 2012. Thank you so much to Eileen Tognini, whose own studio was decorated to emulate the elements of the installation in a way that makes the art accessible and understandable for collectors, and to Joan Smith and Ken Kay for organizing the get together. DoN is honored to be included as one of the invited guests. Ken Kay also demoed his new smart phone app, Camtango, which DoN will review in an upcoming post on DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer.

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