"Sonic Forest," A Pulsating 24/7 Visual Sound Café, to Join Glastonbury Music Festival

“Sonic Forest,” a pulsating light and sound installation by acclaimed architect and composer Christopher Janney, will participate in England’s Glastonbury Music Festival from June 22 – 24, 2007. Situated on a 1000-square foot plot as part of the Cabaret and Circus area, the piece will serve as a visual sound café and meeting site throughout the event.

Part of Janney’s “Urban Musical Instrument” series, “Sonic Forest” is composed of 25 eight-foot columns, all outfitted with photo-sensors that enable 4 people to interact with each column at once. Each column contains audio speakers, lights and photoelectric sensors. The columns resemble electronic “trees,” making up a forest canopy.

As people pass between the trees, they explore the “sonic forest”. People “play” the installation by passing among the columns, thereby triggering the sensors to produce an ever-changing score of melodic tones, environmental sounds, and spoken or whispered texts, accompanied by varying effects of light. Participants may also trigger pre-programmed patterns- evocations of a flock of birds, the sounds of frogs or crickets crawling through the space, or impressions of a swarm of fireflies passing overhead in the night.

“Sonic Forest” has toured the Three Rivers Festival in Pittsburgh; Lincoln Center, New York; the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Tennessee; and New York City’s “Dancing in the Streets, New Sound, New York” Festival. At the Bonnaroo festival, Sonic Forest was installed on a 1,000 square foot site and ran 24-hours a day as part of the continuous scene. It became the unofficial sound café of the festival, attracting dancers, musicians and others who performed in synchronism with the “trees” and each other until dawn each morning.

About Christopher Janney
Artist, architect, composer, and educator Christopher Janney has toured the United States and Europe with his interactive sound/architecture installations. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the National Endowment for the Arts, MIT’s Kepes Prize and General Electric’s Edison Award for innovation in light and design. In 1990, the Smithsonian Institution acquired his piece, "Hopscotch: Stamp Stomp" for its permanent collection.

Janney’s Urban Musical Instrument series includes “Reach: NY” on Manhattan’s 34th Street/Herald Square subway platform, which has inspired thousands of individual responses in its eight years of existence. Other pieces in the series includes: “Chromatic Oasis” in the Sacramento Airport, “Harmonic Runway” in the Miami International Airport and “Touch My Building” in Charlotte, North Carolina. Most recently, in November 2006, “Harmonic Pass: Denver”, a 173-foot interactive pedestrian tunnel, was inaugurated.

Trained as an architect and jazz musician, Janney's other work includes: "HeartBeat: MB," a performance toured throughout the world in which Mikhail Baryshnikov danced to the sound of his own heartbeat and "Whistle Grove: The National Steamboat Monument” in Cincinnati, Ohio. His artwork has been featured in Architectural Record, The New York Times, heard on National Public Radio, seen on television in CBS Sunday Morning and HGTV and in the movies Random Hearts starring Harrison Ford and in 8MM starring Nicholas Cage. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, the Cooper Union. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture where he teaches his seminar/design studio, “Sound As a Visual Medium.”

Glastonbury Music Festival is the largest open-air music and performing arts festival in the world, and one of the most popular. On April 1, the event sold out all 153,000 tickets in less than 2 hours. This year, David Bowie and The Police are among the performers. The Who will close.