Common Sounding

Common Sounding, a site-specific installation in downtown Amherst, MA, creates space for both making music and building community. This project uses the trees of a town park to support a light framework from which are suspended a series of 42 tuned steel tube chimes. The chimes are activated by human engagement and involve both active participants and passers-by in their sound and motion.

Situated parallel to the sidewalk, the occupiable musical instrument operates on multiple scales. An individual can enjoy the piece alone, or perform with or for a group by using simple mallets to hit the chimes.

Central to much of my work, and to this project is a question: How can art and design be used to illuminate issues of place and community identity? This site is a literal crossroads of university students, town residents, and visitors. Whether on foot, on a bicycle, or in a car, hundreds pass this location on a daily basis, but few partake in the green space of the park and fewer still use the park as an opportunity to connect with one another. Common Sounding creates both a physical and a sonic space for interaction among young and old, resident and student, and with the landscape, creating a common sound and joy.

Common Sounding is one of 13 projects chosen for Crosstown Contemporary Art (XTCA) Exhibition, curated by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Contemporary Art Museum.  This exhibit brought public art to the UMass campus and downtown from June to November 2018.