Design doesn't always have to be about the physical world. As well as being a demonstration of groundbreaking audio-technology, the BE OPEN Sound Portal is a thrilling demonstration of design you can't see.
This September sees the arrival of the BE OPEN Sound Portal in Trafalgar Square as part of the tenth anniversary of the London Design Festival 2012. Situated within one of London’s most iconic public spaces, the BE OPEN Sound Portal is an entirely new kind of installation that focuses on the design that you can’t see – that of acoustics and sound – rather than visual spectacle.
An alien black, rubberised structure will be home to finely-tuned audio technologies aimed at delivering pure acoustic experiences to visitors in the middle of Trafalgar Square - one of the busiest and aurally chaotic environments in London.
Every day, the BE OPEN Sound Portal will host one of five leading musicians and sound artists, each of whom has been specially commissioned to create a unique soundscape. Expect a range of vibrant sonic and musical responses, from the sounds of glaciers breaking up to electronic music composed by one of the top musicians in this field. Cocooned from the external noise and bustle of the city, the BE OPEN Sound Portal allows visitors to experience a very different environment, one created by sound alone.
The BE OPEN Sound Portal is a London Design Festival project, co-produced by BE OPEN Foundation, a cultural and humanitarian initiative that aims to harness the brainpower of creative leaders through conferences, exhibitions, master classes, cultural and art events. Behind the creation of BE OPEN stands an international team united around Russian businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Elena Baturina.
Elena Baturina, Founder of the BE OPEN Foundation, says, “We’ve set up BE OPEN so that we can work with the great creative minds of today, encouraging them to continue to innovate so that they can improve on what we have and generate solutions for tomorrow’s world. The designers of the BE OPEN Sound Portal and those who will be creating soundscapes for it are at the cutting edge: they are the future of acoustic evolution. So a journey into the BE OPEN Sound Portal is a must for anyone interested in hearing what tomorrow will be like.”
The BE OPEN Sound Portal is designed by ARUP, world leaders in the area of acoustic engineering, with content commissioned by contemporary music organisation Sound and Music. One of the challenges that the Portal has set itself is how to change our experience of urban space. ARUP’s acoustic technicians, engineers and designers have long been pioneers in this field, using sound design to change how we experience airports, stadiums, auditoriums, even roads. The BE OPEN Sound Portal gives them a real life experimental space to develop this work and actively demonstrate design’s transformational capabilities. The five sound artists include Jana Winderen and a Russian artist sourced in collaboration with BE OPEN, Ivan Pavlov.
COH ['son] - noun: "sleep","dream" [Russian]: 19 September
Ivan Pavlov is a Russian-born resident of Stockholm who has been releasing music as COH since 1998. COH was among the names recognizable in the wave of the late 90s computer-based music that brought forth such European record labels as raster-noton, Mego, Eskaton, Staalplaat, among others. Aside of the solo productions, during the past 10 years Ivan had also released joint works with other artists including Coil, Little Annie Anxiety, Cyclobe, Richard Chartier and Cosey Fanni Tutti. In 2007 he teamed up with Peter Christopherson to form a utopian futuristic art project called SOISONG. www.post-pop.org
NATHANIEL ROBIN MANN: 20 September
Nathaniel Robin Mann is an artist, performer, composer and sound designer. He forms 1/3 of the UK’s finest Avant Folk Outfit: Dead Rat Orchestra. Whilst on the MAT Programme (Media and Arts Technology) at Queen Mary University London (School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science) he specialised in the implementation of ambisonic recording and explored its use for multi-tracking. During 2011 he worked closely with Intrepid Cinema to explore the potential of ambisonics for 'infield' sound design for a forthcoming feature-length documentary film. His ambisonic installation 'Whip Crack Away' was presented as part of Digital Shoreditch 2011. http://animateddog.bandcamp.com
JO THOMAS: 21 September
Jo Thomas performs live internationally and locally on a regular basis. Her music is released by Entr’acte. She was awarded the Golden Nica in Prix Ars Electronica 2012 for her work Crystal. Her 1st solo release Alpha was nominated for a Qwartz award in 2011. Her latest solo release Nature of Habit (Entr’acte) was released in May 2012. Jo is currently working on a new Vinyl release for Entr'acte and a new tape cassette for the leftfield label Tapeworm and has a post at the University of East London teaching sound design, composition and music technology. www.jothomas.me
TOM JENKINSON (SQUAREPUSHER): 22 September
Squarepusher is the principal pseudonym adopted by UK-based recording artist Tom Jenkinson. His compositions draw on numerous influences including drum and bass, acid house, jazz and electroacoustic music. His music is created from a combination of electronic sound sources, live instrumental playing and digital signal processing. He is renowned for his bass playing; Flea of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers has described him as "the best electric bass player on Earth." warp.net/records/squarepusher
JANA WINDEREN: 23 September
Jana Winderen is an artist educated in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in London, and with a background in mathematics and chemistry from the University in Oslo. Since 1993 she has worked as an artist, curator and producer. She currently lives and works in Oslo. Jana Winderen researches the hidden depths with the latest technology; her work reveals the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world beneath. The audio topography of the oceans and the depth of ice crevasses is brought to the surface. She is concerned with finding sound from hidden sources, like blind field recording. www.janawinderen.com
BE OPEN Creative Think Tank
BE OPEN is a creative think tank whose mission is to promote people and ideas today to build solutions for tomorrow. It is a cultural and humanitarian initiative that aims to harness the brainpower of creative leaders through a system of conferences, competitions, exhibitions, master classes, cultural and art events. Behind the creation of BE OPEN stands an international team united around the most successful Russian businesswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Elena Baturina. A long-term, international, multidisciplinary, multi-faceted project, BE OPEN will allow leading contemporary thinkers and creatives to meet up with those in the media and business, discuss their ideas and visions and ultimately make change happen.
London design Festival project
Co-produced by - BE OPEN
Designed by - ARUP
Music commissioned by - Sound and Music