Mar 21st 2020

This event has been postponed until further notice.

For this special performance developed in collaboration with The Renaissance Society and Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago-based musician Whitney Johnson (aka Matchess) premieres a new durational work for string quartet and eight-channel electronics in Bond Chapel. Unfolding over the course of four hour-long cycles, The Tuning of the Elements transforms the chapel into an immersive sonic environment, free and open for visitors to explore.

Johnson is a dedicated explorer of the mysterious relationship between sound and the human psyche, drawing on a broad range of research interests and creative tools. The Tuning of the Elements, a new durational work for string quartet and 8-channel electronics, combines insights from physics and neuropsychology with frameworks outside the prevailing scientific paradigm. The field of sound healing is rooted in the notion that certain kinds of sounds can affect human energies, calming anxiety or invigorating depression. On different terms, scientists have observed strong correlations between the frequencies of brainwaves and familiar mental states. For Johnson, each of these bases of knowledge inform methods for creating meaningful, restorative experiences with sound.

The Tuning of the Elements involves four distinct areas of binaural electronic beat patterns corresponding to the frequencies of different brainwaves, situated around a droning string quartet in the center. Just after the balancing moment of the spring equinox, it puts forward a constellation of elements including fundamental frequencies distributed in space, performing and listening bodies, and the architecture of Bond Chapel, as well as air particles, candle flames, and the day’s weather. Visitors are encouraged to choose their own paths through this environment over the course of four hours, circulating freely around the chapel in perceptual play or lingering in nourishing moments. In doing so, they activate and participate in the open-ended experiment of the piece, testing its potentials and tapping into variously relaxing and stimulating energies.

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