In a culture where technology enables source information to be collected and maintained by means of collaboration—such as public drives in the workplace and wikis on the Internet—The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Halsey Burgund: ROUND, an exhibition that will introduce, on March 9, 2008, an innovative audio tour guide that operates on a similar premise. The exhibition will close on July 27, 2008.
ROUND is an audio installation that will solicit spoken voice contributions from visitors and use them as part of a musical composition intended to be listened to while viewing the work in the galleries. The interactive audio experience will allow visitors to hear a diverse range of voices—including artists, curators, and visitors—sharing their perspectives about the exhibitions, and to add their responses to the mix. Burgund’s installation is supported in part, by a grant from LEF Foundation.
The name of the exhibition alludes to both a musical round—a song in which two or more voices sing exactly the same melody but in an offset fashion—and the age-old Arthurian legend about the Knights of Camelot who sat at a round table, affording no one person a privileged position. Halsey Burgund explains, “Equality of opinion and the opportunity for two-way dialogue are core ideas of this project.”
ROUND will enable visitors to experience other Aldrich exhibitions—specifically Charlotte Schulz: An Insufficiency in Our Screens and Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture—in a new way. The hand-held tablet computers will provide patrons the opportunity to select criteria for the types of voices they would like to hear while looking at the art—female curators, male artists, or children, for instance. Burgund says, “The comments will be collected in a database of recordings and subsequently incorporated into the piece in real-time using various computer algorithms and custom software. Thus, there will be a continual loop of opinion and emotional response, all contained within a musical work.”
The flexible infrastructure developed and built for the installation will become the foundation for pause. play, a program for future audio tours at the Museum. Nina Carlson, director of education comments, “Visitors look to museum audio guides for insightful and informed commentary to enhance their experience by facilitating connections to the art they encounter in the galleries. This revolutionary type of guide suits The Aldrich, first, because it encourages a two way dialogue, and second, because we are a non-collecting museum with frequently changing exhibitions.”
Halsey Burgund is a musician and sound artist who lives and works outside Boston. Both his installations and musical performances make extensive use of spoken human voice recordings as musical elements, alongside traditional and electronic instruments. He collects these voices from otherwise uninvolved individuals whom he records in various locations, from museums to street corners to rock clubs. Halsey’s band, Aesthetic Evidence, performs music publicly, often including interactive performances in which he records audience members’ voices and uses those recordings improvisationally within songs.
RadioActive allows large-scale audio-based conversations on mobile phones. It functions as a mobile audio forum, where users leave posts by recording voice messages. Other users can navigate through, listen to, and respond to these messages using the audio or optional visual interface. RadioActive’s chat space is persistent, allowing users to drop in and out of discussion as they wish. The combined interface is unique for persistent audio chat spaces, and provides an easy way to navigate at a global level. An automated playback mode also allows users to put the device in their pocket and listen passively.
RadioActive’s prinicipal focus is to support public discussions within an urban context. By becoming the communications foundation to the eLens project, RadioActive chat rooms can be created for specific buildings or sites tied to visual markers, dynamically formed social groups, and disparate communities.
ARtours is the augmented reality project which is initiated by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in collaboration with design bureau Fabrique. As the museum is awaiting its grand re-opening, the time is right to explore the possibilities of new media technology and innovate the ways in which its fantastic collection of modern and contemporary art & design (90.000 objects) can be presented and the magnificent stories and interpretations that surround these objects can be shared.
WildLab Bird engages learners with the basics of bird identification. Along with associated curricula and educational activities found on the WildLab.org Web site, WildLab Bird is a powerful way to see the environment in a whole new way. The application includes photographs, audio, and range maps for over 200 species of birds.