Max Sandred & Örjan Sandred
Sonic Trails is an immersive multimedia polyphony, layering sights, sounds, echoes and rhythms of a city in lockdown. Though seemingly devoid of people, this world is not without pulse. This immersive installation awakens an ambient social imaginary within the persistent sensorium of music and architecture.
Lockdown live streams for 101 hours from September 7, 12:00 PM to September 11, 5:00 PM EDT.
What is the pulse of a city when citizens go silent? What are the scenes of a city when society recedes? What qualities and processes remain when everyday activities are abandoned?
As the city enters a state of “Lockdown,” the urban environment loses its most distinctive element: human presence. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to consider the city abandoned. As human activity withdraws, other processes and activities come into focus. Cars pass through empty streets, trees sway in deserted parks, birds roam uninhabited spaces.
In Sonic Trails: Lockdown, visitors are immersed in various events of a lockdown city occurring regardless of their presence. Using multiple audio-visual samples of these urban phenomena, the installation creates a new inhabitable place using layered projections and four loudspeakers.
Artificial intelligence algorithms determine the composition of this environment in a constant process of deconstruction and reconfiguration. Pitches and harmonies are dissected from environmental noises, familiar objects and places are reduced to abstract visuals and spaces, rhythms and motifs are brought to focus. The AI leaves nothing to chance by structuring its actions and interactions, constantly revealing new material and juxtapositions while occasionally bringing back existing themes. In this sense, the installation is a precise musical composition, experienced beyond the realm of sound as synesthetic, audio-visual, spatial experience.
Sonic Trails ultimately leads us somewhere beyond the samples of the alienating lockdown city. The patient visitor will discover an aesthetic world that is both abstract and palpable, static and active, infinite and intimate, rhythmic and disordered, clear and unclear.
The installation generates its musicality by manipulating architectural qualities of sound, light, and space. Music and architecture are not treated as separate entities; rather, the environment of Sonic Trails becomes the musical experience. Ultimately, Sonic Trails: Lockdown attempts to unlock the reciprocity of music and architecture, through an embodied aesthetic experience of a city alive and evolving on its own.