Funded by the Art in Public Places Program
New Mexico Arts  – Department of Cultural Affairs

SOUNDSCAPE | Eastern New Mexico University

The “Soundscape” installation by Sara Cummings of the Kason Group Inc., utilizes the prevalence of wind within our natural surroundings to facilitate sound. As the wind is drawn in through reed like tubes, the physical structure references both a vessel and conceptually the act of breathing. The structure is equally divided, each half a conical inverse of the other, and the volumes can be entered from either side. One half tapers towards the sky, upward and inward, and references a man-made traditional vernacular architecture alluding to shelter, protection and dwelling. The other half organically splays outward in an abstracted characterization of desert flora, and musical pipe organs. Each half represents the dichotomies of a natural & cultural environment; inside vs. outside; organic vs. man-made; harmony vs. discord;
wild vs. tame.

Each pipe tapers at the top to catch the wind, as it blows across the openings of the tubes. Listening portals are placed at various levels in the pipes to facilitate the ambient sounds. The pipes are intended to sound mainly on windy days, but one should be able to hear a sonic environment at all times – in much the same way that you ‘hear the ocean’ inside empty seashells.

The installation is part of the permanent art collection at the Eastern New Mexico University, Portales campus. The sculpture is constructed out of stainless steel tubing.

***The original “Soundscape” was commissioned in 2017 as a Temporary Installations Made for the Environment (T.I.M.E.) Art in Public Places Program of the New Mexico Arts. Each year the board commissions environmentally based artworks to respond to the cultural and environmental histories of the area.  National recognition was awarded to the Artists’ of T.I.M.E. | Edgewood by the Americans for the Arts 2018 Public Art Network Year in review. PAN annually recognizes outstanding public art projects that represent the most compelling work for the year from across the country.***

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