• Mike Lynch: Untitled
    Published 18 May 2015
    1. Mike Lynch: Untitled (Study for 29th and Harriet), 1988

    Sarah Abdel-Jelil ’16

    Upon first seeing the Mike Lynch painting, I was overcome with a sense of calm. I was intrigued that a location with a power plant, next to the train tracks, and with bridges overhead could be rendered as peaceful and quiet. The blues are very evocative in the painting, and I wanted that to come across in the soundscape. […] Some of the elements that stood out to me were the cables hanging above the tracks, the train tracks, the power plant, the snow, the bridges and the trees. My research is informed by first hand experience of winter in Minnesota. For the most part, people are not outside playing, so I imagined human voices as minimal. In the few moments that I stop walking quickly from building to building during the winter, and stand to take in the winter sights and sounds, I discover the quiet and peace of winter. I also notice how loud noises stand out. I wanted a train to pass through to show a range of sound levels in the painting’s space.

  • Mike Lynch: Untitled
    Published 18 May 2015
    2. Mike Lynch: Untitled (Moon and Water Tower), 1978

    Ken Wang ’15

    The concepts of “night” and “realism” shape the keynote sounds I have chosen for Untitled (Moon and Water Tower). Despite the absence of city sounds, sound volume in a rural environment can be loud. For this, I portrayed crickets in a Minnesotan rural landscape to introduce the concept of nighttime in the hot season. Against this base, one hears an outdoor rural tone [and] the ambient wind that sways the trees while a crow occasionally cries. Nighttime is never silent, and the crickets and crows will always be uncontrollable elements through the entire three minutes.

  • Mike Lynch: Storage Tanks
    Published 18 May 2015
    3. Mike Lynch: Storage Tanks, Long Lake Road, Roseville, 1989

    Gisell Calderón ’16

    Mike Lynch’s Storage Tanks, Long Lake Road, Roseville depicts a storage tank facility located in Roseville, Minnesota. This area was once home to the Dakota and Ojibwa tribes. Its convenient location at the juncture of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers gave the region great reverence. Until the 1930s, Roseville was dominated by farms and plant nurseries. During the latter half of the 20th century, however, the quiet town saw a dramatic increase in commercial development. […] When this painting was produced, Roseville lay at a crossroads between the rural and the industrial. Its rapid growth forced it to re­evaluate its identity; the town chose to focus on redevelopment and preservation. Roseville, as a town, represents industrialization and de­industrialization. For this reason, I have chosen to intermingle sounds of industry with sounds of nature. I have composed this soundscape from the point of view of someone watching from a distance. Important keynote sounds include the wind, crickets, animals and the hum of traffic on distant freeways.

  • Robert Adams: Harney County
    Published 18 May 2015
    4. Robert Adams: Harney County, Oregon I-IV, 1999-2000

    Jackson Hudgins ’16

    Harney County, Oregon is an interesting place, the site of rural American post-industrial economic disaster. In the 1920s it was the location of the largest timber deal in the history of the United States Forest Service. For decades local residents made good money cutting large swaths of forest, spurred on by favorable land rights. By 1973, Harney County had become the wealthiest county in Oregon by per capita income. But when the timber bubble burst and the county mill was sold in the early 1980s, nearly a thousand residents (more than 1/7 of the total population) lost their jobs. The cities (Burns and Hines) cleared out, and were hit even harder by the 2008 recession. Today, there are fewer than 10 manufacturing jobs in the entire county, and the primary economic driver of the county is now ranching. […] In my soundscape I have tried to avoid telling the woeful economic tale of Harney County and have instead focused on conveying a sense of isolation, routine, and active silence. I decided against creating a micro soundscape of the tree itself. I was most drawn to the human element, to the residents left behind who live on ranches and rely on cattle for their livelihood.

  • Fox Talbot: The Open Door
    Published 18 May 2015
    5. William Henry Fox Talbot: The Open Door, 1844

    Alex Berlin ’17

    To me, this photograph seemed out of time. Although the few items and the doorframe bespeak a historical moment, the sparseness and granularity of the actual photograph gave me a freedom to interpret. Even though the photograph was taken in 1844, I chose to set the soundscape a century later, amidst the Battle of Britain. The “Keep Calm and Carry On” historical propaganda from the London Blitz is a common cultural phenomenon now – I thought that people might do with a reminder of what it really means. The soundscape presents an unexploded bomb dropping near a British countryside farm, one not unlike or geographically far from the source of the photograph. Even as war goes on in the countryside, goats feed in the background.

  • P.H. Emerson: The Old and the New
    Published 18 May 2015
    6. P.H. Emerson: The Old and the New, 1886

    Jillian Banner ’17

    While researching the English countryside, I became interested in the possible mismatch between what the photographer saw and heard. I thought it would be interesting to imagine P.H. Emerson looking at a scene that appeared traditional and undisrupted by industrialism, but contained the sounds of man-made machines and new technologies. To convey this idea, I made my narrative transition from a natural, hi-fi soundscape to a machine-like lo-fi one. I condensed time to represent the transition from before the industrial revolution to a time after technology had altered the sound of the English countryside. […] In my soundscape, composed from the perspective of P.H. Emerson, he hears a rowboat approaching, and expects it to be farmers, or other rural folk. However, the three men in the photograph are actually tourists, a fact made somewhat apparent when they speak. […] The increase in tourism frustrated Emerson, even when the tourists were other photographers. This seems somewhat hypocritical, as the photographer himself was a tourist who relied on new technologies (like cameras). I tried to convey this hypocrisy by incorporating the sound of matches being struck, train horns, and machinery sounds in the second half of the piece, contrasting with the visual image of quiet country life.

  • Christina Seely: Kyoto
    Published 18 May 2015
    7. Christina Seely: Metropolis 35° 00' N 135° 45' E (Kyoto), 2005-2010

    Jonah Barry ’16

    When Christina Seely, Carleton alumna, took her photo Metropolis (Kyoto) from the surrounding woodlands, she seemed able … to capture the essence of the city. Both the framing forest, and the city itself, appear full of zest. When I first looked at the photo it appeared as a form of visual ecstasy. My soundscape takes an abstract approach. I began with light rain, wind, and the sound of forest wildlife. From research and some personal accounts, I learned that Kyoto is prone to constant drizzling and strong wind (especially closer to its rivers and canals). I slowly introduced the sound of a car running from the inside, providing the spectator/listener a point of reference so they could position themselves in the picture space as the main character or protagonist.

  • Christina Seely: Amsterdam
    Published 18 May 2015
    8. Christina Seely: Metropolis 52° 23' N 4° 55' E (Amsterdam), 2005-2010

    Isabel Han ’15

    Christina Seely presents the dichotomy between the beauty of artificial light and its not-so-beautiful impacts. While artificial light may symbolize “ingenuity, progress, optimism and promise,” this light can also bring negative environmental impacts, such as disturbing animals in their natural habitat as well as worsening air pollution. Amsterdam, an important European city, is implicated in this dichotomy. Seely’s photograph captures not only the visible signs of economic development, but also provides insight into historical sacrifices. Hence, the first part of the soundscape introduces conventional economic development sounds, including those produced by motor car manufacturing and building construction. These sounds act segue into the second part of the soundscape [that] reveals the sources of this light pollution. […]This soundscape, like Seely’s photograph, shows how light can act as a double-edged sword. The soundscape presents an unsettling and purposely fragmented experience related to the mixed impacts of man-made light. Most importantly, this soundscape attempts to encourage conversation and action to solve these issues and questions human’s environmental disregard.

  • Christina Seely: Phoenix
    Published 18 May 2015
    9. Christina Seely: Metropolis 33° 26’ N 112° 1’ W (Phoenix), 2005-2010

    Kayla Becich ’16

    In creating a soundscape for Christina Seely’s Metropolis (Phoenix), I aimed to capture the noises that accompany the artificial light and its generators. Following our discussion of lo-fi sounds, I made sure to incorporate low frequency noise to match the urban space. To recreate the low rumble of a cityscape, I used sounds of distant cars and other automobiles. These sounds emphasize Seely’s goal of highlighting not only light but also noise pollution. To reproduce the noise pollution encountered in a city like Phoenix, I introduced sounds that violently cut into the silence of the night. Using the latitude and longitude coordinates featured in the title, I located nearby landmarks and soundmarks. I found that the picture was taken near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This information moved me to include airplane sounds as well as distant PA announcements. Bus terminals are also located near this scene – the sounds of buses gearing up their engines or backing up may serve as another soundmark for the surrounding suburbs. In addition to all of this, the Phoenix Sky Harbor has an operating monorail or “sky train” connecting the terminals. Inspired by the location, I was able to incorporate some of the biggest contributors to noise pollution: airplanes, buses, and other automobiles.

  • Gingko: Fierce Naval Battle
    Published 18 May 2015
    10. Adachi Ginko: A Fierce Naval Battle, 1894

    Russell Hanson ’16

    Aiming for complete accuracy, I looked for sounds that relate exactly to this time period. The soundscape is divided into halves. The first half invokes a loud, gory battle and the second half sets a calm scene sometime after battle. The initial rifle fire comes from an Arisaka Type 37 rifle manufactured by the Japanese in 1894 during the Sino-Japanese War, when Ginko’s scene is set. This rifle has a strong firing sound with a loud metallic reload that makes it recognizable. The birds chirping in the second half include the green pheasant (the national bird of Japan), and the Okinawa rail. […] This soundscape mixes hi-fi and lo-fi sounds throughout the track. The first half has many layers; soldiers marching and yelling, sword fighting, and men screaming are just some of the sounds. The second half changes into a high-fi soundscape. Using the ambience of Japanese birds and footsteps on a wooden floor, I aim to depict a post-war infirmary isolated from the noise pollution of war.

  • Toshikata: Battle at Zama
    Published 18 May 2015
    11. Mizuno Toshikata: Battle at Zama, 1897

    Elsa Cristofaro ’16

    Although the print is entitled Battle at Zama, no such battle actually occurred during the Sino-Japanese war. […] I decided to interpret this print as depicting the Battle of the Yalu River, which some consider to be “the most important naval battle since Admiral Horatio Nelson’s obliteration of Napoleon Bonaparte’s navy during the 1805 battle of Trafalgar.” The Battle of the Yalu River took place on September 17, 1894, and was the first naval battle between ships using steam power. Donald Keene’s description of the battle inspired my soundscape: “At about one in the afternoon, the Ting-yüan opened fire at a distance of about 10,000 feet. The Japanese fleet responded with intense fire. The Japanese ships suffered severe damage, including a hit on the Matsushima, but not a single Chinese ship escaped damage, and three were sunk.” […] My soundscape starts off quiet, placing the listener in the middle of the Yalu River, from the perspective of the Japanese. As the Chinese draw near, we hear their bullets approaching from afar. Continual shots from guns and cannons cause fires, sinking ships, and drowning men.

  • Chikanobu: Sumida River Boat Race
    Published 18 May 2015
    12. Toyohara Chikanobu: Meiji Emperor and Empress Watching Sumida River Boat Race and Artillery Demonstration, 1881

    Nora Gregor ’16

    This print was created when the Meiji Emperor was around thirty years of age. The piece focuses on two separate events, which most likely occurred at different times along the Sumida River even though merged together in a single image. The artillery demonstration, which first captures the viewer’s attention, dramatizes the Emperor’s efforts toward modernization. The young emperor, dedicated to updating the Japanese military, incentivized the army to produce artillery advancements quickly and effectively. […] The second focus of this piece is the Sumida River Boat Race, held annually among students from Tokyo Imperial University. This print highlights the University students and their academic sectors, made visible by their caps and colored clothing: law students wore green, medicine students wore red, engineering students wore white, and so on.

  • Hogarth: Stages of Cruelty
    Published 18 May 2015
    13. William Hogarth: The Four Stages of Cruelty, 1751

    A.J. Van Zoeren ’16

    In 1751, the English artist William Hogarth was fed up with the irresponsible, abusive behavior rampant in the streets of London’s lower class neighborhoods. In response, he published four engravings designed to warn against immoral behavior. Called The Four Stages of Cruelty, each of these prints showcases a moment in the life of Tom Nero, a fictional character whose foul deeds eventually catch up with him. Through the four chaotic, dynamic images, we witness him grow from a vicious young boy into a thief and murderer, who is executed and dissected in an anatomical theatre. As I began researching, I wanted to determine whether the 18th century English soundscape was hi-fi of lo-fi. Once I realized that England’s industrial revolution didn’t begin until a decade after Hogarth’s series, the answer was easy: without the constant hustle bustle of machines, the soundscape would have been hi-fi, free of sound pollution. Keeping this in mind was very helpful in constructing my soundscape. Sounds could be crisp and easy to pick out, instead of blending with or being drowned out by background noise.

  • David Driesbach: Luncheon on the Porch
    Published 18 May 2015
    14. David Driesbach: Luncheon on the Porch, 1981

    Jack Turzillo ’16

    The exact location of Driesbach’s scene is unclear, but Europe seems a likely setting. The fact that the bridge is made of cobblestone and the buildings are made of cut stone suggests that the place is not Driesbach’s hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. […] I have inferred that the temporal setting for Luncheon on the Porch is a period of increasing industrialization, or a move from hi-fi sound to lo-fi sound. Thomas Mann described his experience of this soundscape as “encompassed with a roaring like that of the sea […] [b]eautiful glittering new engines roll to and fro on trial runs; a steam whistle emits wailing head-tones from time to time; muffled thunderings of unspecified origin shatter the air.” In this early modern setting, one would hear the roar of engines from automobiles to steamboats, and also the persistent rumble of factory machines. New noisy machines, including cotton spinners and steam power-looms, were operated by workers recently emigrated from country to city. Jobs often came at immense cost to health and safety; conditions in these factories were nightmarish, with shifts lasting up to thirty-five hours at times and sanitation standards virtually non-existent. Furthermore, housing was overcrowded, sewage was uncontrolled, and the water supply was tainted. These conditions were likely the source of the strike happening in the image’s background; people were understandably upset by the horrible conditions imposed by industrialization.

  • David Driesbach: The Dream of Sleeping
    Published 18 May 2015
    15. David Driesbach: The Dream of Sleeping, 2001

    A. Noah Harrison ’16

    In this print, Driesbach depicts himself in formal dress — austere, a bit bemused, martini glass in hand and with a half-finished liqueur bottle at his side. I use the artist’s self-referential approach as the point of departure for my soundscape. I imagine the artist in a sparsely populated café — behind him, geometric abstraction, and above him, a decapitated head that might embody Driesbach’s psyche. […] Because of the artist’s distinctly European, modernist style, I placed the café roughly in early 20th-century Europe and selected a café ambience and dialogue in a difficult to discern language (Romanian). Given the Dadaist obsession of the day with nonsense and wordplay — a byproduct of the European disillusionment with communication leading up to and during WWI — I decided to record a classmate uttering dissociative phrases, taking cues from German artist Hugo Ball’s poem, “Karawane.”

  • David Driesbach: A Breeze from on Shore
    Published 18 May 2015
    16. David Driesbach: A Breeze from Onshore, 1995

    Grace Davis ’16

    The goal of my soundscape is to enhance Driesbach’s story-telling. A Breeze from Onshore is filled with images of other paintings. In order to align with Driesbach’s ideas, I wanted the soundscape to lead the viewer in a circle around the print. I intend to create an individual space for each prominent painting in the composition, while still ensuring that each segment is visually connected. I created movement from image to image by utilizing [panning]; the soundscape is meant to mirror the viewer’s eye movements as they scan each image within the larger print. The beginning and ending of each separate environment was emphasized through the shifting location of the sounds as it moved from left to right of the frame. Driesbach created a distinct sense of each location. I sought to compose audio frames to create a separate theatrical stage for each individual image.

  • Steven Young Lee: Another Time and Place
    Published 18 May 2015
    17. Steven Young Lee: Another Time and Place, 2010

    Robert Chen ’16

    Steven Lee Young uses pottery as a medium to challenge the viewer’s system of belief and familiarity. Another Time and Place is cast in a shape and fashion traditional to early Chinese pottery and inlaid with plants and trees native to the forest and shoreline of southeastern Asia, additionally various dinosaurs are organically incorporated within these landscapes. The style of the jar and the depiction of the natural landscape invoke a sense of familiarity while the dinosaurs serve to shatter it. [Sound theorist David] Sonnenschein mentions that the human brain, on average, is only able to fully perceive and register two sounds at once. Lee included numerous dinosaurs [and] I felt that by creating sound profiles for each dinosaur would overwhelm the listener and take away from the immersive experience as well as distract the viewers from challenging their sense of familiarity.

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