Listening Gallery, Miami

The Listening Gallery, a project masterminded by Gustavo Matamoros, opens tonight on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach, and will continue into the future. I was there for the soft opening at Sleepless Night for another installation by Frozen Music. The sound transformed my whole sense of that space, and it was fascinating to watch passers by stop in the space to listen. The site is a 16-channel system installed under the awning of ArtCenter South Florida, spanning the southwest corner of Lincoln Road and Meridian. More details about the current installation are below. I’ll write more about the whole project soon.

Art Is Not A Commodity (A Sound Installation, Miami Beach, 2011)

For this installation specific sounds from the surrounding ambient noise are recorded then digitally encoded. From these samples extremely short segments, a few thousandths of a second long, are extracted and looped in such a way as to render them essentially static instantaneous slices; the way that a photograph has the ability to freeze a subject in motion. These waveforms are distributed along a line of twenty loudspeakers that form a soundfield along two faces of the Artcenter 800-810 buildings

I’ve further distilled from these waveforms only the uppermost spectral components. What is left are these delicate ethereal timbres which have been inconspicuously layered on top of and interact with the real-time ambient noise in curious and unpredictable ways

Russell Frehling, Nov. 2011

Artist’s Statement

“My installations are essentially works of sculpture with sound employed for its physical ability to occupy and define space and function in three dimensions. Here sound is given an unaccustomed context in which its physicality becomes the essential issue; where shape, texture, density and arrangement in space become the objects of reflection. The materials and structure for each piece are drawn from the “available” ambient sounds and physical properties inherent in each site: the sound of the work is the sound of the place. By distilling from the surrounding ambient soundscape the marvelously complex waveforms and natural resonances and putting them in a dynamic relationship with their environment, the observer is given a unique opportunity to respond more palpably to the sonic material and the space it occupies


Russell Frehling developed an early fascination with sound and music. He made his first professional recording at the age of twelve, an experience which sparked his continuing interest in the use of electronic technologies as creative tools. Frehling was awarded the Reiner Prize for music composition from Brandeis University where he received his B.A. in 1974. Following a period of study with Pauline Oliveros and Morton Feldman he was invited to the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College earning an M.F.A. in Electronic Music under Robert Ashley and David Behrman

His relationship with sound has taken several forms over the years: composer, engineer, sculptor and eco-activist. In the early 80‘s as part of a project for Greenpeace, Frehling spent two winters in Iki, Japan developing an underwater sound system designed to alleviate the conflict between dolphins and fishermen competing for the same resources. He has received a number of commissions from both the public and private sectors: New Music America, the Houston Astrodome, the Bienal (Sao Paulo, Brazil), the Hartford Civic Center, NMA/Center for the Fine Arts , the Sterling Building Project, and several Art in Public Places projects. As an audio engineer he has been involved in many significant recordings and sound projects

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