The atrium at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is transformed into an orchestral forest in "Sonic Arboretum," a new creation from musician Andrew Bird and sculptor-engineer Ian Schneller. Schneller, with the aid of his custom-guitar-and-amplifier company, Specimen Products, installed a series of plant-shaped horn speakers—crafted from recycled dryer lint and newspaper—in MCA's atrium to provide stereo sound while channeling a vintage phonograph feel. Bird then surveyed the installation and composed an original score to fit the space. Their collaboration converts the atrium into a garden of sound, with more than 70 speakers playing Bird's violin-guitar-vocal composition on a loop.
"Sonic Arboretum" opens on December 6 and runs through December 31, with Bird scheduled for two live performances on December 21 and 22 using the collection as his P.A. system.
Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller at the Guggenheim.