Dynamic Pop-Up Performances Transform Campus Soundscape

April 9, 2014

Listen closely over the next few weeks and you’ll hear something other than birdsong (and raven calls) on the college grounds. Making Space, a collaborative project sponsored by the Music Department and others, brings an array of unusual performances and workshops to campus in order to change the way we consider space and sound.

The Music Department has researched patterns of foot traffic, use of both indoor and outdoor space, and community desires around the current environment to help discover, create, and activate “urban centers” on campus. Informed by this research, the Wellesley College Concert Series has collaborated with Marié Abe, resident fellow in the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities, to create the semester-long Making Space project. By exploring the use of space, sound, music, movement, and social interaction, Making Space uses performance to illuminate new possibilities for creative community engagement.

Abe is an ethnomusicologist currently studying the intersection of sound, public space and sociality through analysis of the chindon-ya street musical advertisements in Japan. "I am invested in thinkinga bout how particular attention to sound allows us to recconceive public space as social interactions themselves, rather than simply a geographical area," she explained. "This series, which I developed together with Isabel Fine and Tamar Barzel from the Department of Music, is a way of bringing this dynamic way of thinking about space and sound onto Wellesley's campus."

Highlights of the program include a flash concert by renowned quartet Brooklyn Rider; multiple performances by pioneering musician Pauline Oliveros, including a workshop on “deep listening;” and visits from the innovative Asphalt Orchestra (pictured above).

After this semester, several departments are working together to develop aesthetic, artistic, environmental, culinary, and interactive elements to sustain this concept into the future.

The first event of the series, Conduction Induction: An April Fools Day lunchtime adventure at the Lulu, took place on April 1 in Anderson Forum. Upcoming events are as follows:

Brooklyn Rider Flash Concert
Friday, April 11 |  4:30 p.m.  | The Residential Quint

Pauline Oliveros: Deep Listening Workshop
Earth Day: Tuesday, April 22  |  12:30–1:30 p.m.  |  Hay Amphitheater (behind Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall) | Rain location: Multifaith Room, lower level of Houghton Chapel

Pauline Oliveros: Site-Specific Performance
Tuesday, April 22  |  4:30–5:30 p.m.  |  Severance Green (across from the library)  |  Rain location: Ferguson Greenhouses, behind the Science Center

Open Notes concert
Monday, May 5  |  12:30 PM  |  Davis Plaza (rain location: Anderson Forum)

On the Street! Asphalt Orchestra
Three Flash Celebrations on Wednesday, May 7

  • 1 p.m.  |  Tower Courtyard (rain location: Tower Great Hall)
  • 5:30 p.m.  |  Munger Meadow (rain location: Knapp Social Sciences Atrium at Pendleton East)
  • Final Flash with FOOD TRUCKS at 7 p.m. |  Davis Plaza, Davis Steps, and Academic Quad