[May 25 – August 13] Subwhistle by Bryan Jacobs

The subwoofer, a powerful instrument responsible for transmitting the visceral energy of pop, hip-hop, and dance music is in this piece repurposed as a performer. Such a powerful engine, capable of shaking entire neighborhoods is reduced to performing a $1 slide whistle- an often comical children’s toy.
Subwhistle is a sound installation that uses low frequency sound to play slide whistles. The air forced out of each of four subwoofers is directed into the mouthpiece of a slide whistle, causing the whistles to sound.

LOCATION: Governors Island, Nolan Park Building 8a

DATES AND TIMES:  May 25 – July 22, 2018

TIMES:  Fri. Sat. Sun and Holiday Mondays noon – 5 pm

Governors Island New York Ferry Schedule

The subwoofers are fed oscillating sine waves between 10 and 30 hertz- mostly below the threshold of human hearing. This piece uses one audio signal to physically create another. 


The installation moves between composed and aleatoric passages. A few simple algorithms generate the composition in real-time. The exact sounds it makes are always different. There is no beginning or ending.

Artist BIO:

Composer, performer, and sound artist, Bryan Jacobs’ work focuses on interactions between live performers, mechanical instruments and computers. His pieces are often theatrical in nature, pitting blabber-mouthed fanciful showoffs against timid reluctants. The sounds are playfully organized and many times mimic patterns found in human dialogue. Hand-build electromechanical instruments controlled by microcontrollers bridge acoustic and electroacoutic sound worlds. These instruments live dual lives as time-based concert works and non-time-based gallery works. Jacobs, a Guggenheim Fellow, has been lucky enough to have his music and sound art presented at a number of festivals around the world. Bryan is the co-founder of Qubit and a member of Ensemble Pamplemousse.   

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