Columbia University School of the Arts

Vibration and resonance; environmental sonification and transmission; kinetic and mechanical sound; and the connotation of cadence are the central ideas that move through Amplitude, an exhibition centered on the third floor gallery and distributed throughout Pioneer Works. Amplitude features new work by Columbia University first-year Sound Arts MFA students; and thesis projects by the newly established program’s first graduates, Carla Cisno and Nolan Lem.

Informed by the traditions of sculpture, video art, composition, and computer music, the works exhibited in Amplitude are unified by their essential consideration and foregrounding of sound.

In Carla Cisno’s Eyes on the Horizon Perhaps, oscillation caused by transducers, as well as the vibration of viewers, activate an artificial site where dust matter transitions and transforms, triggered by the passage of time. Located in both of the building’s stairwells, the installations HiveMind (in the north stairwell) and Triadic Attractor (in the south) by Nolan Lem employ kinetic and responsive objects to fill these otherwise hollow spaces with dynamic and progressive sound.

Alice Emily Baird’s sound and video work A Sincere Apology explores vocal timbre and its relationship to the perception of sincerity through choreographed performance and audience response. Cameron Fraser’s Lost High Roller is installed both in the first-floor gallery of Pioneer Works and its adjacent garden. The work is a duet comprised of found field sounds played by Fraser’s interior musical chandelier, which are then transmitted back to the exterior space. In Somewhere Close, Chatori Shimizu uses contact microphones to reveal the living sounds embedded in natural materials, which are buried inside sculpted synthetic forms. Frank Spigner’s Parallelism exposes and amplifies the mechanization of energy, electricity, and technology in a duality of physical and virtual space.

A formal or conceptual interest in sound unites these artists and the works featured. Likewise, it is this focus on sound that defines Columbia University’s new interdisciplinary area of study, which leads to a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sound Arts awarded by the School of the Arts.


Special Events: 60×60 Wave Farm Mix and Amplitude Live
April 30, 2015, 5-9 pm

60Ă—60 Wave Farm Mix features 60 60-second works, created with, for, and about radio and transmission. Included are works by Amplitude artists Cameron Fraser and Chatori Shimizu. Co-presented by Vox Novus and Wave Farm.

Amplitude Live is a sonic happening featuring performances and ecstatic utterances from artists in the Columbia School of the Arts Sound Arts program. Chatori Shimizu, Frank Spigner, Alice Emily Baird, Nolan Lem, and Cameron Fraser will each premiere new works, and friends of the program will also participate. Curated by Cameron Fraser.