Allard van Hoorn is a truly international nomad. He consistently produces groundbreaking installation, sound and performance based pieces that take place simultaneously across the globe. His recent project at Storefront for Art and Architecture was inspired by a trip to Australia where he discovered the long-standing tradition of indigenous Songlines, or “Dream Tracks.” Created to musically map the topography of the natural environment, van Hoorn re-appropriates the system to interpret modern, urban landscapes. He explains, “It is a physical representation of a physical space translated through music.”
The seventh in his series of exhibitions and performances that trace the tradition of Songlines, 007 marks his first solo New York show and Storefront couldn’t be a more appropriate space for it. Van Hoorn carefully considers the playful opportunities available thanks to Vito Acconci and architect Steven Holl’s re-design of structure’s facade in 1993. On the inside, deep orange-red walls mimic the color and velvety texture of the inside an instrument case. Furthermore, a series of interlaced fishing lines and surgical tubes are tightly strung from the walls creating a spider-web like maze for visitors to work through. As they proceed, the tension created opens and closes the 12 vertically and horizontally pivoting panels of the facade, blurring the boundary between interior and exterior, private and public, constantly transforming the visual and acoustic landscape of the space. Inviting total interaction with the installation, van Hoorn states, “I like the idea of public space being appropriated.”
As visitors become a part of their own Songline, they are faced with a series of common materials. Van Hoorn intentionally selected industrial materials such as fishing line, latex surgical tubes and simple metal hooks to invent his instrument. Serving a highly practical purpose but completely disconnected from their traditional context, he urges viewers to re-imagine the role of common materials and perhaps inspire future alternative uses.
Visitors’ voices, the sounds created as cords are struck, and the noise inherent in the street outside are captured by a set of microphones and then digitally synthesized into a soundtrack. Wireless headphones instantly provide a real-time interpretation of physical space and time to visitors as they twist and bend through the space.
Each day at 5pm, an hour-long compilation of sounds collected throughout the day will be played, and at the culmination of the project, a series of vinyls will be cut live and distributed to the public. Additionally, the project will continue beyond its month-long stint at Storefront. Selected DJs will be given vinyls to re-sample and distribute, providing an ongoing evolution and appropriation of Urban Songlines.
Catch the opening of the project on January 17 from 7-9pm when van Hoorn will present seven Urban Songlines that he is currently recording in the space and be the first to contribute to the growing project.
Images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat