[Apr 20]ACOUSTIC PHENOMENOLOGY An Intensive Seminar on Listening  by Bill Fontana SOLD OUT

“What do I point to by the inner activity of listening? To the sound that comes to my ears, and to the silence when I hear nothing? Listening as it were looks for an auditory impression and hence can’t point to it, but only to the place where it is looking for it.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

This will be an intensive seminar that meticulously records acoustic phenomena in the physical environments of Governors Island. Sound will be explored and recorded with hybrid listening technologies of accelerometers, hydrophones as well as microphones. Each class will consist of going to a recording site and installing an array of multiple listening instruments to reveal and record the complex living sound patterns in these situations. When the recordings are setup students will be able to collectively listen through a multiple headphone amp to the in-progress recording. Returning to the LMCC’s Art Center on Governors Island we will listen to the recordings outside of their original context and discuss what we discovered and what it means as a potential Musical/Sonic Language.

“A sound is all the possible ways there are to hear it”

Date/time: Saturday April 20, 2024 from noon – 4 pm

LOCATION: The Lower Manhattan Arts Center on Governors Island

RSVP required – SOLD OUT – limited to 12 participants

Also by Bill Fontana – IMAGINARY ACOUSTIC VISIONS: A Lecture

Date / Time: Wednesday April 24, 2024 at 6 pm

LOCATION: NYU Paulson Building 181 Mercer Street 

Open to the public. NYU RSVP


In a career spanning 50 years, Bill Fontana (b. 1947, Cleveland, USA) is internationally known for his pioneering experiments in sound. He has consistently used sound as a sculptural medium to interact with and transform our perceptions of visual and architectural spaces. Applying his knowledge of composition, he draws out patterns of sound from the natural and man-made worlds to create sound works with the potential to conjure up visual imagery in the mind of the listener.

Many of these works create live listening networks that collect information from sources as diverse as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the Millennium Bridge in London, the beaches of Normandy, fog horns in San Francisco, old-growth forests, hydroelectric turbines, and urban environments. From the late nineties until the present, Fontana’s projects have explored hybrid listening technologies using acoustic microphones, underwater sensors (hydrophones) and structural/material sensors (accelerometers). His more recent works are explorations of the relationship between image and sound, expressed through the combined mediums of audio and video. He has realized sound sculptures, public art commissions and radio projects for museums and broadcast organizations around the world.

His most recent large scale project was Silent Echoes Notre Dame, a live sound sculpture which revealed that Notre Dame’s 10 bells, silenced by the tragic fire of 2019, are secretly ringing all the time. This was commissioned and exhibited by the Centre Pompidou and IRCAM in Paris 2022 as well as Ars Electronica and the Istanbul Biennale. A new version will be presented this year at the Centre Pompidou’s West Bund Museum in Shanghai. This coming September, a new global version called Silent Echoes: Dachstein will be an environmental sound bridge between Notre Dame’s silent and ringing bells and the rapidly melting Dachstein Glacier.  This live sound sculpture will be simultaneously exhibited by Ars Electronica to a global network of museums and exhibition sites as an artistic statement on Climate Change. https://resoundings.org




ARTE Feature on Silent EchoesPBS Feature

Artist Statement


 A workshop in Venice during the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale:


An exhibition about renewable energy and climate change issues called PRIMAL SONIC VISIONS

A 2020 work based on recordings of 3000 year old giant sequoia trees “listening” to the rhythmic vibrations of a river in Sequoia National Park that was exhibited  in the Atrium of the Gropius Bau in Berlin, which I would like to realize as a live sound sculpture someday:


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