Media Arts Design 190 | Contemporary Art Studio
rumori (Italian: noises) is a site-specific sound sculpture designed and built by current MAD 190 students. MAD 190 is a contemporary media, art, and design course with an interest in interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to technology-based art making. The sculpture is located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building and operates intermittently throughout the day for the remainder of the fall semester. A joint performance is also being planned with Media Arts Design, Music, and Dance students.
Students were introduced to a broad range of relevant sound-based artists, designers, and alternative musicians in preparation for the project. We began our investigation with the Italian Futurist, Luigi Russolo, who wrote L’Arte dei rumori (Italian: The Art of Noises), a manifesto addressing the growing urban industrial soundscape. First penned as a letter (1913) to a friend, Russolo believed that these urban noises should be employed as new form of music. The Art of Noises is considered to be one of the most important and influential texts in 20th century musical aesthetics. Russolo also made instruments of wood and mechanical components called intunaromori that mimicked these industrial noises found in urban cities.
Following our historical investigation, students were introduced to sound recording and production techniques. We focused on capturing machine noises found on campus, specifically the ones we are unable to hear with our naked ears. Students used recorder telephone pick-ups (telephone taps) to hear and record (circuit sniffing) these micro-noises (electromagnetic field activity) generated by electronic machines. They conducted a campus-wide soundwalk, recording micro-noises and composing compositions to be played by their version of Russola’s intunaromori. Noises used in students’ compositions included: laptops sending emails, atm machines checking availability of funds, smartphones conducting Facebook status updates, a campus security vehicle’s emergency lights, and sending fax messages.
Megan Kirsten Sibayan