Client: Public Art for Public Schools & New York City Department of Education
Location: Queens, NY, United States
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $50,000
“Sound Waves” is a multi-part installation in the lobby of PS 377 in Ozone Park, Queens, NY. The project includes a suspended sculpture and an interactive sound piece.
Sculpture size: H: 6 ft. x W: 15 ft. x D: 4 ft.
Materials: plexiglass & stainless steel.
Collection of the NYC Department of Education, Public Art for Public Schools.
"Sound Waves" was specifically created for this brand new public school and its integration into the building design was extremely important. The dynamic project draws its inspiration from nearby Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean as it aims to bring awareness of this dynamic part of the natural world into the school. Sound recordings of waves crashing on Rockaway Beach served as the conceptual foundation for this multi-part installation which includes a sculpture and an interactive sound component.
The sculpture is a 3-dimensional interpretation of a digital sound wave of recorded ocean waves. Just like the ocean, the piece is in constant interaction with the abundant natural light that floods the atrium as well as the multiple perspectives from where it is possible to see the piece. Next to the security desk on the ground floor in the lobby, a speaker system is installed behind a stainless steel grille with a blue button just below. When the button is pushed, the audio equipment is activated and an 18-second long recording of ocean waves is played back. To create a calming and intimated experience, the audio is set at a low volume requiring listeners to lean in towards the speaker cover.
This project is the result of an extensive, two-year-long dialogue between the very dedicated staff at the School Construction Authority, including architects and engineers, as well as the general contractor of the construction. At year three, the conversation was expanded to include Ian Warren, owner Artisan Fabricators; the company that fabricated and installed the sculpture. In addition, the artist also consulted audio and coding professionals.
Fabrication & installation: Artisan Fabricators. Audio recording: AnnaK Production. Equipment & coding: Thobias Sjökvist. Hardware fabrication: MAKƎ WW_.