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Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger (O + A)

Sonic sound performance with film projection of World We Hear

2017 Season

Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger performed their sonic sound piece, Word We Hear, on March 29th, 2017 to celebrate the publication of the 2016 ‘T’ Book and the announcement of the 2017 summer program. Introduction by Sanford Kwinter.

Film Stills

…when Odland and Auinger refer to the World we Hear they surely also mean the world we are.

Working with a limited set of principles such as ‘capture’, ‘relay’, ‘filter’, ‘transmission’, ‘tuning’ and ‘transfer’, they have developed an ethos of active and attuned perception that results in nothing less than a “being space”.

This practice exceeds anything that traditionally-bounded architecture in its often narrowed visual and geometric understanding typically seeks to achieve.

Odland and Auinger’s project is to teach us to pay attention to the world and to the signals around us in unimaginably acute ways—and to make paying attention into an active process of transforming the environment as a means of transforming ourselves in turn.

— Sanford Kwinter, 2017


Bruce Odland — sonic thinker, composer, and sound artist — is known for his large scale, public space sound installations which transform city noise into harmony, realtime. In 2004 he and Sam Auinger (O+A) altered the harmonic mix of the World Financial Center Plaza using the moon, tides, harmonic tuning tubes, and cement loudspeakers (Blue Moon). Together they have changed the sonic character of many public spaces around the world. His many collaborations include work with Laurie Anderson, Dan Graham, Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Peter Sellars, Joanne Akailitis, Robert Woodruff, Tony Oursler, Peter Erskine, and the Wooster Group. He has contributed ideas and energy to projects in theatre, film, dance, public art, festivals, radio, and museums. His Sounds from the Vaults, a playable orchestra of virtual instruments for the Field Museum in Chicago, won the Gold Muse Award from the Association of American Museums. Recently his first indoor gallery show Hearing Space was shown, O+A’s Requiem for fossil fuels was performed to acclaim at Judson Memorial Church in NYC, and he toured as musical director of Wooster Group’s La Didone to the Edinburgh Festival. Currently he is working on Harmony in the Age of Noise a cross disciplinary project at Tufts University mapping the psychoacoustics of the campus.

Sam Auinger — sonic thinker, composer, sound-artist — together with Bruce Odland, founded O+A in 1989.  Their central theme is “hearing perspective”. Their work is known for large scale, public space sound installations which transform city noise into harmony in real-time. 2009 O+A started on the Sonic Commons questioning the dominance of the visual culture in our perception of the world.

Besides his longtime artistic collaboration with Bruce Odland he is a founding member of stadtmusik a collaboration between the Berlin-based composers Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl with the media artist Dietmar Offenhuber. Stadtmusik deals with sound in cities, by analysing sound structures which are triggered by urban buildings and facilities. They focus on the aspect of movement in the city, which reinforces a dynamic experience of the urban soundscape: particular sounds emerge through movement, sound and its timbre evolves from material and space.

Over the years Sam Auinger has received numerous prizes and awards for his work.  Most recently he received the Kultur Preis der Stadt Linz (2002) to honor his body of work, the Berlin Artist-in-Residence programm DAAD(1997) and the SKE Publicity Prize 2007. In 2009 he was a scholarship holder of the atelier Berlin at Cité International des Arts in Paris.

Ongoing he is researching the former federal capital Bonn as “city sound artist Bonn 2010”, an award given for the first time.

Beside his artistic work Sam Auinger was a guest professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin, running the department Experimental Sounddesign at  Master’s Program Sound Studies – Acoustic Communication.

He is collaborating with cityplaners and architects, giving lectures and is a frequent participant of international symposiums on the topic of urbanplaning, architecture, media, the senses and sound in specific.

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