Environment: Structure/Sound III, 1979/2021

Submitted by Sara Garden Armstrong

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Client: FATVillage Projects Space

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Artist

Sara Garden Armstrong

SGA Studio

Hardware & Technical Assistant, 2021

Daniel Near

Red Mountain Makers

Audio Assistant, 2021 & 1979

Scott Fuller

Technical Assistant, 1979

Bud Richards

Musical Consultant, 1979

Webb Robertson

Overview

Sixteen canvas-covered forms with gradually changing colors—two sizes, referencing adult and child—stand in a circle, as a low acoustical sound murmurs, moving through them. The mysterious sound and circular embrace draw the viewer inside to experience a personal, physical relationship with the sculpture. First created in 1979, the work was updated in 2021 for installation at FATVillage Projects Space in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Goals

The goal is to create a visual, spatial, and kinesthetic experience for the viewer. The sculpture is “making” space more than being an object, and in that way is shaping a ritual in which the viewer participates. The viewer becomes a part of the piece. The shape of the forms, the subtle changes in color, the movement of sound from within the forms and around the circle contribute to a visceral physical experience.

Process

Plywood forms—curved to express relationship and invite entry—were covered with canvas and then airbrushed with color that slowly changes in hue on the surface of each form as well as from form to form. To further immerse the viewer in the piece, I added sound, sculpting it according to the shape and placement of the forms, the negative spaces, and the subtle movement of color. They determined the timing and arc of the acoustic sounds. Three different sound tracks were connected to speakers in the forms so that the sound moved around within the sculpture, adding sonic intensity to the visitor experience.
The 1979 drawings included here were part of this process of musical composition. In 2021, digitized sound replaced the 1979 tape loops.

Additional Information

Encouragement from several curators and viewers has prompted me to begin exploring how this current piece could be adapted for a permanent outdoor sculpture, using appropriately durable materials and sound systems that can withstand high visitation and weather changes.