AudioWinds #1, an audio art installation by Rhode Island–based writer, storyteller, and radio host Marc Levitt, will be presented on the Moore Terrace at the second-floor entrance to RISD’s Chace Center. The piece, which can be experienced between May 14th and July 18th, is a multi-channel orchestration of sounds that might have been heard at this location over the last few centuries, from before contact between local indigenous people and European settlers to the present time. The sounds have been taken from their historical context and used as ‘notes’ in this orchestration. This spot has, at various points, served as the site of a Narragansett Indian settlement; a homestead to settlers as they arrived from Europe; a place with ties to slave-based labor; a location for stables, factories, and rooming houses; and the center of Providence’s commercial district. (See site’s history here)
While unknown to Mr. Levitt before he began his composition, his ideas to ‘harvest’ and then to disengage sounds from their environment have a strong resemblance to the ideas of French composer Pierre Schaefer’s ‘musique concrete’, who emphasized starting composition from the ‘concrete’ sounds within one’s environment and to the work of Canadian composer/teacher Murray Schaefer who in addition to introducing the concept of soundscape coined the term schizophonia in 1969, the splitting of a sound from its source. We hope that as you listen to AudioWinds #1 you will imagine that the sounds of the last 500 years are blowing around like leaves in the wind and both haphazardly and consciously combine in ways that are surprising, lyrical, humorous, boring and shocking and that AudioWinds helps you to listen to your everyday environment in those ways as well.
Levitt was the first recipient of the
Tom Roberts Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities,
and in 1995 received the New Genre Fellowship from the Rhode Island
Council for the Arts. His radio show, Action Speaks, co-produced with
AS 220 and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, has been heard
on more than 100 stations around the United States. Levitt has worked
as a performer and consultant in 40 countries around the world.
Rhode Island State Council for the Arts
Doe and Andrew Martinez,
City of Providence Archives