In June, the High Museum of Art will unveil “Sonic Playground,” an installation of sound sculptures by internationally renowned designer Yuri Suzuki on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. The installation continues a multiyear initiative to animate the High’s outdoor space with site-specific commissions that engage visitors of all ages in participatory art experiences. It will be the High’s first venture into exploring the notion of audible play — how sounds can be constructed, altered and experienced.

On view from June 24 through Oct. 7, 2018, “Sonic Playground” will feature ingenious, colorful sculptures that modify and transmit sound in unusual, engaging and playful ways. The installation aims to create serendipitous audible experiences among visitors that create a sense of community within the Piazza. The installation will include six different types of sculptures:

  • Parabolic – These structures will send sounds from one end of the Piazza to the other without using any electricity. The shape is designed so a person on one side of the Piazza can clearly hear a person speaking many feet away on the other side.
  • Amplify – Visitors may sit or rest near these megaphone-shaped structures, which will amplify surrounding sounds.
  • Flower – Creating direct lines of communication at different heights, these structures will feature low- and high-positioned horns.
  • Long Horn – These pipes will create metallic sound effects when visitors speak through them.
  • High Horn – Visitors at varying heights may stand or rest under the lower horn structures and listen to sounds coming from horns higher above their heads.
  • Switch – These structures swap the way visitors hear sounds by changing their input. When a person stands in the structure, his or her right ear will receive sounds from the left-hand side, and the left ear will receive sounds from the right-hand side.
High Horn
Rendering of “High Horn.” ©Yuri Suzuki

In addition to creating a welcoming atmosphere for socializing and recreation, “Sonic Playground” will serve as a stage for performances and art-making activities the High will co-organize with local arts organizations. This programming will take place on a rotating schedule throughout the run of the installation during the High’s First Friday, Friday Jazz, and Second Sunday events.

“Our guests will love interacting with the sculptures, and one another, as they experience ‘Sonic Playground,’” said Virginia Shearer, Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education at the High. “As in previous years, this latest installation will welcome visitors of all ages to have fun in our outdoor space before heading into the Museum.”

“Yuri Suzuki is an incredibly talented designer, and we are exceptionally pleased to work with him on this delightful new iteration of our piazza installation series,” said Kevin W. Tucker, the High’s chief curator.

This summer’s project builds on the success of the four previous piazza commissions: Spanish designer Jaime Hayon’s “Merry Go Zoo” (2017) and “Tiovivo”(2016) and 2014–2015’s “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”) by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena.


*Cover photo: Rendering of “Sonic Playground” on the Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. ©Yuri Suzuki

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