The human voice is Halsey Burgund musical instrument. His immersive audio experiences are inspired by the nuances and melody of the voice, which he believes, communicate more than words themselves.
“People say interesting things; and they say them in interesting ways“
Halsey, an MIT Open Doc Lab fellow, has created installations for Harvard, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Cambridge and MOMA among others. This Miami Art Week (2015) he’ll launch his first local project, created specifically for Wynwood.
‘unreserved‘, was commissioned by the Fordistas, a platform for emerging arts and culture and co-produced with FilmGate Interactive.
‘unreserved‘ invites the audience to step beyond taking selfies with art and become co-creators. Everyone is welcome to participate, no artistic background is required, just download the free smartphone app (iPhone – only for now) and begin recording, as you continue wandering through the colorful streets of the Wynwood Arts District.
Listen in on what others have recorded too! The application uses your smartphone’s GPS capabilities to anchor the audio and it prompts for a picture upload, as in, you can still take your selfie. Can’t think of a better way to experience Miami Art Week and be a part of the creative process.
You’re cordially invited to extend the virtual experience by visiting the project’s physical installation located at Product 81 (December 1-6). Listen to your voice remastered into an immersive sound piece.
Why do you create crowd-sourced experiences?
I have been a musician since childhood, so I come to my work from that perspective rather than an art perspective. I started using spoken voices in my work over a decade ago and soon realized that my real interest in voices is in their diversity and uniqueness, so moving towards works in which participation can be broadly distributed well beyond my own physical reach made sense.
How did this collaboration between you, the Fordistas and FilmGate come about?
Last February, I participated in FilmGate Interactive’s Creative Conference by doing a workshop on Roundworm, the mobile audio platform I developed to support my sound art installations.
As a result, I was introduced to the Fordistas folks who were also at FilmGate and who were interested in my work and producing a project in Wynwood. A few group conversations later, we were all working together.
Describe ‘unreserved’ and your intent?
‘unreserved’ adds a layer of location-based audio to Wynwood consisting of a musical composition infused with recordings made by participants of their responses to a set of prompts. I hope that by listening to a wide variety of other people’s thoughts sprinkled throughout a physical landscape, participants will view their surroundings differently and be open to atypical experiences.
So far, what has been different about creating a soundscape in Miami?
Miami is *very* different from Boston, where I am from, but I love absorbing culture and gaining influence from new places, so this project has been refreshing in that sense. I have done projects in many different locations, but the biggest difference about Miami is the language diversity. Having two equally prominent languages with people who effortlessly pop back and forth between them is fascinating and inspirational.
What surprises you as a creator?
This is a tough one since the whole structure of my work is designed to create surprise and unexpected results for everyone, including myself. I don’t create a final product, but rather create a system, a set of rules, within which the piece can evolve.
Decisions are made by myself, the algorithms and the people who choose to participate, so this combination is very difficult to predict. As nerve-wracking as this is for me as the “creator”, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What excites you about ‘unreserved’?
I have learned to not have any specific expectations of how people will interact with my work as the possibilities are so vast.
My primary hope is that people have fun, open up and feel comfortable enough to inject a part of themselves into the piece for future participants to enjoy.
There is no doubt that the more thoughtful/playful/insightful contributions are made to ‘unreserved’, the better the experience will be for everyone and the happier I will be.
I’ve got a project in a decommissioned cranberry bog, a commission for an exhibition about the history of radio at Harvard and a series of installations capturing and archiving protests/uprisings in real-time, to name a few current ones…
Download ‘unreserved‘ here & join in on our sonic adventure through Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.