Public Program

  • Sonambient Pavilion
    Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago
    Nov 07, 2015 to Nov 22, 2015
    Experimental Sound Studio

Olivia Block, Sonambient Pavilion, Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 2015, Chicago. Photo: Sandra Binion.

Composed by Chicago artist Olivia Block and commissioned by Experimental Sound Studio, Sonambient Pavilion is a multi-channel sound installation that envelopes listeners on the pasture-like lawn of Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion. Sounds from two "sonambient" sound sculptures by Harry Bertoia (1915–1978) in the Aon Plaza on Randolph Street are amplified and electronically manipulated, then spatialized into an array of fifty loudspeakers above the Pavilion's lawn, creating a shifting, shimmering sonic landscape superimposed on the Pavilion's visual architecture. Sonambient Pavilion will be part of the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Olivia Block is a composer and sound artist in Chicago who creates original compositions for concerts, site-specific multi-speaker installations, live cinema, and performance, often incorporating field recordings, chamber instruments, and electronics. Her solo performances, presented in festivals and venues worldwide, include partially improvised pieces for electronics and amplified objects, presented in a deliberate, emotive gestural style. Block has created sound installations for public sites and exhibition spaces including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the library at Wesleyan University; and the Echoes Through the Mountains exhibition at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin; and has collaborated with Ryan Ingebritsen, Joseph Clayton Mills, and Shawn Decker on two outdoor installations for the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Train Time and Laughter and Tears, both commissioned by Experimental Sound Studio. Her latest LP/download release, Karren, an electroacoustic piece performed by Chicago Composer's Orchestra, was chosen as "Best of 2014” by The Wire, Pitchfork, and Artforum.

Lou Mallozzi (project curator/administrator) is executive director of the Experimental Sound Studio, which he cofounded in 1986. In that capacity, he has curated, organized, and administered dozens of public presentation programs, including festivals, series, concerts, exhibitions, broadcasts, and online events involving hundreds of artists. In addition to his position at ESS, he is on the faculty of the Sound Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and maintains an active artistic career. In 2012 and 2014, he was named to NewCity's list of "50 Artists' Artists" in Chicago, recognized for his contributions as an artist, arts administrator, and educator.

Jonathan Laney (technical collaborator, Pritzker Pavilion sound system) is an audio system designer and consultant; he is principal consultant at Threshold Acoustics, where he helps his clients improve the listening experience within their facilities. His extensive list of audio system design projects throughout the United States includes the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, where he continues to provide support for the ongoing operation, maintenance, and creative use of its unique audio systems. His experience combines science, art, and hands-on production; he studied electronic music and mass communication and began his career as a live sound engineer before changing his focus to audio system design.

Brett Ian Balogh (technical collaborator for microphones, transducers, transmission) is a Chicago-based artist and educator with a combined background in art and science, which he brings to his numerous teaching and collaborative cultural projects. Much of his knowledge of electronics, programming, embedded computing, and robotics stems from his do-it-yourself practice and hacking ethos. He is currently an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, teaching courses in new media, architecture, digital fabrication, radio, and sound.

Founded in 1986, Experimental Sound Studio is a non-profit, artist-run organization focused on sound in all its exploratory cultural manifestations, including music, sound art, installation, cinema, performing arts, sound poetry, broadcast, new media, and more. It is our mission to serve the artists engaged in these disciplines, the audiences who listen to them, and the public who may as yet be unaware of sound's many creative dimensions. Our approach integrates production, presentation, education, and preservation, often in partnership with other organizations, constituencies, artists, and individuals.