Miami International Airport and Miami Design District's Moore Building
From: 29 November 2011
Until: 4 December 2011
Harmonic Convergence and Architecture of the Air
Multimedia multitasker Christopher Janney returns to Florida next week to reinstate his colourful installations of sight and sound at Miami International Airport in time for the upcoming Art Basel Miami. Harmonic Convergence opens on November 28 at the site of Janney's previous commission Harmonic Runway, which was removed in 2002 due to tightened security measures post 9/11.
Combining his background in public art, architecture and jazz, Janney has been making built and public spaces become more "alive" for the past 20 years by installing large-scale interactive sound and light environments and sculptures. After graduating from Princeton, where he studied architecture in the 1970s, he took a slightly different tack and explored his musical side in New York, performing jazz and working with various artist and dance companies while attending the Dalcroze School of Music and Mannes College of Music. "My aim has always been to somehow fuse music and architecture in new and different ways. Sometimes I'm trying to make architecture more like music, other times I try to make music more visual."
Janney soon moved back to study at MIT in the 1980s, where he developed his own media-studio, PhenomenArts Inc. which indefinitely combined his interests of music and architecture. This studio produced projects such as Harmonic Runway and Heartbeat:mb in which Mikhail Baryshnikov [Soviet-American dancer, choreographer, and now actor] danced to the sound of his own heartbeat.
"When you synthesise previously unrelated disciplines that's where you find new ideas," Janney says, "People think about architecture as very static, permanent and strictly visual, and music as ephemeral, and never really there. I'm trying to push those things together to find a doorway into a new creative place."
Rainbow Cave, an installation at Boston Logan International Airport, used graduated coloured glass on each floor of the building punctuated by accents of complimentary or contrasting colours. Each floor was made noticeably different by a sound environment composed by Janney and influenced by the noises of New England. The sounds on each floor harmonically related to each other much like how the accents of colour on the outside of the building related to the main graduations.
Colour also plays its role in Janney's new Miami Airport installation, where passengers pass through different colours reflected through the diamond-shaped filters on the windows flanking the walkway connecting two terminal buildings. This pattern of colours is overlaid with a soundtrack of the Florida Everglades, scuba dives in the ocean and other sounds from around South Florida. The density of these sounds fluctuates with the density of the activity in the space and the regular sound is a short percussion composition marking the time of day at the top of each hour.
"I love the sounds of the subtropics," says Janney. "Most particularly the Everglades, the ocean shore and underwater sounds, especially sounds both real, as in whales and porpoises, and imagined - mermaids and Atlantis."