sounding circuits: audible histories

Sounding Circuits: Audible Histories

Featuring a state-of-the art immersive multi-channel audio system surrounded by rare objects, artifacts, and recordings from the early history of electronic music, Sounding Circuits: Audible Histories explores the networks of composers and engineers – as well as the groundbreaking facilities and revolutionary technologies – that played a crucial role in the expansion of electronic sound from the 1950s to the present.  Drawing together primary source materials, including personal correspondence, historical recordings, technical documentation, and musical sketches and scores, from across the Library for the Performing Arts’ rich archival collections, this exhibition highlights the significant contributions of pioneering electronic and computer music composers Otto Luening, Pauline Oliveros, Edgar Varèse, and Charles Dodge.  Alongside original electronic sound processing equipment, oscillators, early mixing consoles, a full scale photographic reproduction of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center’s RCA Mark II synthesizer, and additional documentation and artifacts drawn from the archives at Nokia Bell Labs, these materials highlight the substantial technological innovations that contributed to and resulted from their forward-thinking experimentation and the multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary collaborations that often supported their work.

Sounding Circuits was presented in collaboration with the Department of Music at Columbia University and Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology. Throughout the exhibition, a rotating playlist of archival recordings was woven together with a series of 360-degree audio works commissioned and created by Cluett during his four-month research residency with NYPL’s Music and Recorded Sound Divisions.

The exhibition was on view from January 15th, 2019 – March 23rd, 2019 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Shelby Cullom Davis Museum, Vincent Astor Gallery