Max Neuhaus

I rediscovered Max Neuhaus‘s work yesterday. His website is a treasure trove of ideas, documents, videos, and resources. I can’t stop thinking about the few parts that I’ve explored.

One of his most often-heard works, the Times Square (New York City) installation, often goes unnoticed. He’s perfectly happy to have it that way. Here is one of the available videos about it.

It ran from 1977–1992, and was reinstated in 2002. It is still running today, and will be for the foreseeable future. He has many other permanent installations, too: another in New York, one in Houston, and in cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Neuhaus is also the director of a fascinating online installation, called Auracle. This is the introductory description from the Auracle site:

Auracle is a networked sound instrument, controlled by the voice. It is played and heard over the Internet. To participate, simply launch Auracle in your web browser, join an ensemble, and create sounds with other participants in real time.

One of the many tabs I have open for today’s calendar update is playing music, so I can’t happily turn the sound back on until I’ve dealt with all of them. But once that is accomplished, I’m looking forward to trying out the Auracle project.

Last month I transcribed two interviews for an article on Public Architecture, a firm that practices and facilitates pro bono architecture through what they call the 1% program. I had read about Max Neuhaus’s redesign of emergency vehicle sirens several years ago, but it was fascinating to think about these two similarly brilliant and public-minded projects in relation to one another. I’ve sent the Neuhaus link to the reporter who wrote the Public Architecture story, and she is forwarding it to one of her contacts there. I hope they’ll get in touch. The resonance between their goals is striking, and it could be the start of a fascinating conversation.


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