3D Sound Object

World Listening Day 2017: Listening To The Ground with Stephan Moore, Scott Smallwood & Suzanne Thorpe

ISSUE Project Room and Harvestworks are pleased to present two performances featuring acoustician Paul Geluso’s immersive 3D Sound Object, a speaker system capable of reproducing complex directional sound radiation. As part of a series of commissions and outreach activities that feature the operation of the 3D Sound Object, these performances highlight key techniques and listening strategies in approaching sound within unique acoustic spaces.

Tuesday, July 18th sees Stephan Moore, Scott Smallwood and Suzanne Thorpe each presenting new work as a part of World Listening Day, which pays homage to the experimental legacy of Pauline Oliveros. Together, these artists “sound out” the sonic qualities of ISSUE’s historic McKim, Mead and White Theater at 22 Boerum Place using Geluso’s invention. Developed by Geluso while in residence at Harvestworks, the Object has become a platform for new experimental compositions by contemporary composers, specifically exploring the model radiation of acoustic instruments, the spatialization of existing recorded sound, and the creation of synthesized sound in three dimensions. Described as “painting with sonar,” the Object catalyzes the collaborative construction of a 3D soundscape as well as the scanning and exploring of ISSUE’s unique sonic environment.

Presented as a part of World Listening Day 2017, the evening pays homage to the memory of Pauline Oliveros and her considerable legacy. Pauline’s storied performance history often intersected with ISSUE, with past performances including two stagings of her 1998 piece Primordial Lift, a surreal work centered around a low frequency oscillator mirroring the resonant frequency of the earth. ISSUE also celebrated her 80th birthday with a program that saw new works and a rare live rendition of Oliveros' seminal early electronic piece I of IV (1966) performed by Suzanne Thorpe and Alex Chechile.

Stephan Moore, Suzanne Thorpe and Scott Smallwood all had close connections to Pauline. She was Moore’s mentor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and he later worked with her as a collaborator and as the programmer of her Expanded Instrument System. Suzanne Thorpe and Pauline worked closely together at Mills College, with Pauline serving as thesis advisor as Suzanne explored materiality and immateriality in the world of telematics. Pauline continued to mentor Suzanne thereafter, and included her in various significant performances, including a rendition of Primordial Lift, the performance of which was recorded live at ISSUE. Smallwood worked with Pauline at RPI and later within the context of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra. All three artists have attended Deep Listening Retreats, with Thorpe receiving a Deep Listening Certificate -- certified to teach and represent Pauline’s techniques.

Pauline was known to encourage musicians to “sound out” the spaces they occupied. To honor this legacy, the performances advocate a rigorous listening practice, one mitigated by, according to Stephan Moore’s professional expertise, “The Geluso 3D Sound Object [being] one of the most effective systems I have encountered for activating a room's acoustics and producing spatial effects.”

The evening concludes with a short panel discussion featuring the evening's artists (Stephan Moore, Suzanne Thorpe, Scott Smallwood), joined by Risha Lee, The Rubin Museum's curator of "The World Is Sound," and acoustician Anne Guthrie of ARUP. Focusing on artists and engineers taking experimental approaches to the behavior of amplified sound in spaces, the discussion will specifically reference the 3D Sound Object, Pauline Oliveros' Expanded Instrument System (EIS), the Floating Point sound system designed by Stephan Moore for ISSUE (used from 2005 to 2010), and the installation of such sound systems in unique environments.


THE WORLD LISTENING PROJECT (WLP) is a non-profit organization devoted to understanding the world and its natural environment, societies and cultures through the practices of listening and field recording.

Paul Geluso is an engineer, composer, musician, and educator who has been working with sound artists for more than 20 years and has presented his work at local, national and international museums and art spaces. Paul is currently on the faculty at NYU researching 3D audio technology. Paul is a Harvestworks Creativity + Technology = Enterprise fellow, a program funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Cultural Innovation Fund.

Stephan Moore is a composer, improviser, audio artist, sound designer, teacher, and curator based in Chicago. His creative work currently manifests as electronic studio compositions, solo and group improvisations, sound installation works, scores for collaborative performance pieces, and sound designs for unusual circumstances. Evidence, his long-standing project with Scott Smallwood, has performed widely and released several recordings over the past 15 years. He is the president of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, and is a member of The Nerve Tank, a canary torsi, Composers Inside Electronics, and the Wingspace Theatrical Collective. He toured for several years as a musician with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and has worked with artists as diverse as Pauline Oliveros, Anthony McCall, and Animal Collective. He is a lecturer in Sound Art and Sound Design in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Northwestern University.

Suzanne Thorpe is a musician/composer who works in a spectrum of modalities, fixed and improvised, installed and recorded. She plays electro-acoustic flute through an ever-evolving array of analog and digital effects, incorporating laptop upon whim. Her way is to listen for just-the-right sounds and timbres, and the right moments to introduce them to each other. Her composed works tend to be site-specific sound pieces that speak of, and with, their environment with an amalgam of sound sources, bringing forth moments of vulnerability, possibility and multiplicity. She has released over 20 recordings on labels such as Sony, V2, Beggars Banquet, Geffen, Specific Recordings, and Tape Drift, and was a founding member of critically acclaimed Mercury Rev, with whom she performed, recorded and toured from 1989 - 2001, earning a gold record for 1998's Deserter's Songs. She is currently a PhD candidate at UC San Diego, where she researches sound in the anthropocene, and Co-Director of TECHNE, an arts education organization that introduces young women to technology via electronic music.

Scott Smallwood is a sound artist, composer, and performer who creates works inspired by discovered textures and forms, through a practice of listening, field recording, and improvisation. He designs experimental electronic instruments and software, as well as sound installations and site-specific performance scenarios. He performs as one-half of the laptop/electronic duo Evidence (with Stephan Moore) and has performed with Seth Cluett, Curtis Bahn, Mark Dresser, Cor Fuhler, John Butcher, Pauline Oliveros, and many others. He has written acoustic and electroacoustic works for a variety of ensembles, most recently for the Continuum Ensemble (Toronto), the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Nash Ensemble of London, and the Princeton Laptop Orchestra. Smallwood currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he is associate professor of composition, improvisation, and electroacoustic music at the University of Alberta.

Photo: Mayor Byrne’s New Music America, 1982 / © MCA Chicago

This event is made possible, in part, with the generous support of NOKIA Bell Labs.

Founded by artists in 1977, Harvestworks is a leader in the art and technology field, educating, commissioning and producing work by composers, sound, visual and multi-disciplinary artists that reach an ever-expanding and receptive audience.

The New York Electronic Art Festival plugs into a national and international network of electronic art festivals, bringing significant contemporary art and music to New York City. NYEAF is produced by Harvestworks, an international digital media arts center with 40 years of experience helping artists to get “inside the electronics” and to develop a hands-on, experimental and explorative approach to making art with technology. A Harvestworks 40th Year Anniversary Event.

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