"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture," Martin Mull first quipped some 30 years ago. Meanwhile, architect/artist/composer Christopher Janney has spent much of the last 30 years demonstrating how not-ridiculous the second-half of that metaphor is.
On March 9, with the help of the Hendrix College Dance Department, Janney will demonstrate just how easy it is to dance to architecture. The occasion is a small (read: semi-private) unveiling of the latest of Janney’s urban musical series, “Harmonic Pass: Hendrix.”
Contained inside the two tunnels of the underpass beneath Harkrider Street that connect Hendrix’s main campus to its athletic complex, the “Harmonic Pass,” or as students voted to call it, “The Grotto,” is motion-activated sound and light sculpture. Each tunnel has 10 touch sensors, 17 computer-controlled LED lights and five speakers that will emit a group of harmonic tones, which, according to Hendrix’s Rob O’Connor, will harmonize in the middle opening where the two tunnels meet.
Janney's done similar projects all over the country, but he's perhaps most known for his Sonic Forests, which have been at Bonnaroo and elsewhere. Aziz Ansari dissects the appeal here (NSFW without headphones).
The installation was paid for by an anonymous donor and the senior class gift of the class of 2010. Hendrix’s O’Conner said he hopes “it’s something the public will enjoy.”