1,500 speakers arranged in a 25-foot oblong panel, each playing a sound of a different pitch but at the same time disturbingly close to the speakers that surround it – this is Microtonal Wall by Tristan Perich. Since its creation by the New York artist in 2011, it has been exhibited in museums all around the world, including the much celebrated ‘Soundings: a Contemporary Score’ exhibition at MoMA in 2013. Microtonal Wall became an influential piece in the contemporary sound creation and the most distinctive exponent of the career of this young artist and musician, together with the unique 1-Bit Symphony.
Microtonal Wall arrives now at Sónar+D and will be installed at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, an unrivalled setting located 200 meters from Sónar by Day. Perich’s work continues a series of pieces exhibited in the same space over the past years by artists such as Francisco López, Edwin van der Heide and Álex Arteaga, all of them curated by Lluís Nacenta.
The particular effect that Microtonal Wall creates on the spectator is determined by a high contrast at two levels. On one hand, the contrast between the smartness –even coldness– of its visual appearance and the unprecedented complexity of its sonic dimension, a contrast not too different from the visual and perceptive rupture in which the pavilion lays out in front of the visitor. Then, the contrast between the stable nature of the sound device –each speaker plays the same sound constantly, without pauses nor oscillations– and the extremely dynamic nature of its perceptive experience, subjected to thousands of changing and unpredictable hints.
Tristan Perich studied math, music and computer science at Columbia University in New York, and those are precisely the fields in which he develops his art. From composing to installations, Perich’s works are clean, elegant and minimal in most cases, and their main character is usually the lowly bit, i.e., the basic unit of information. For instance, his project from 2004 ‘1-Bit Music’ became the first album released on a microchip. Perich’s works have been exhibited in art galleries and festivals around the United States and Europe. In 2009, he was awarded the Ars Electronica prize –the Oscar of new media art– for ‘Active Field’ (for ten violins and ten-channel 1-bit music).
Microtonal Wall will be inaugurated on Tuesday 14 June and will be open until Saturday 18 June at 7 pm.