"Ziggurat" uses architectural data and surrounding field recordings to compose an experimental orchestra.
A tall wooden structure called Ziggurat sits in the fields devoted to Russia's ArchStoyanie Festival, a celebration of 'landscape objects' created by artists from around the world. On the outside, Ziggurat seems like a simple landscape object: a wooden building based on the architecture of the Belveder building. However, the cacophonous sonic element has an origin that's anything but simple.
Conceived and built by experimental art collective SoundArtist, the project implements a mixture of field recordings and data from the structure's own architecture to comprise a musical score, of sorts. It emanates a series of tones and noises that essentially represent the design integrity of the wooden fort.
The sounds are manipulated and organized using both sound editing and 3D image editing software, creating a 100-band filter. A 3D rendering of the structure rotates through that filter, represented by a red line, and activates the noises that correspond to each pixel on the filter, depending on the amount of grayscale in the point passing through the line. This is all a didactic way to say that the sounds produced inside the installation are an indirect manifestation of its surroundings. Thus, it becomes a location-specific orchestra with notation culled from untraditional sources.
Ziggurat would not be the same experience in any other environment. The sound data is unique to the exact field the installation sits in, and the music is filtered through information from the specific conditions of the physical structure on any given day. So the building's significance or soul (as represented through sound) is an avant-garde amalgam of geography, material, weather, and more. It's a bit heady, but one way to interpret this project is that in a world filled with seemingly Levittown-like building, no two buildings are truly identical.Watch a grand tour of the installation—with a helpful picture-by-pitcture explanation in the video below.
Check out more of SoundArtists' experimental sound art on its website.