Ari Benjamin Meyers
Ari Benjamin Meyers (b. 1972, USA) is an artist and composer living and working in Berlin. He received his training at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Peabody Institute. His internationally presented works – such as Kunsthalle for Music (2018), Symphony 80 (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Solo for Ayumi (both 2017) – explore structures and processes that redefine the performative, social, and ephemeral nature of music as well as the relationship between performer and audience. A number of recent works including The Long Parade (2021), Rehearsing Philadelphia, and Werksorchester (both 2022) focus on the public and civic spheres and involve large scale communal performances. Currently his new performances Unless (as part of Shared Landscapes) and Forecast (LX23) are touring throughout Europe.
Image credits: Fabrizio Vatieri
Can sound and technology combine in the urban space to facilitate a more respectful and productive way of being together in public? Can we imagine a permanently installed yet immaterial socially based sound work?
For many years as a composer and artist, I have composed large-scale performative musical installations and situations created to be experienced exclusively in-situ, whether it be a specific setting in a museum or directly in the land- or cityscape. These performances which have taken place at festivals and institutions internationally have allowed me to explore how interactions between musical performance and physical places/landscapes generate unique and meaningful experiences that neither the place nor the music alone could do, and how these situations can engender specific social situations not otherwise possible: Two complete strangers singing together for instance, as in my work Duet (2014). Or composing a work performed by all the street musicians of a city as in Staatsorchester (2018). Or the creation of an orchestra that demographically represents its city as in the Public Orchestra (2022). As obvious as it may seem, it bears repeating: music/sound + people + place can be a strong, almost alchemic combination. But there are limitations. Live performers, event-based experiences, equipment and infrastructure requirements etc. have delineated and occasionally even limited my artistic explorations in this arena. I have long wanted to experiment with how to create new works and projects that would be more accessible, sustainable, and collaborative over the long term. This project will address exactly this challenge.
Project : Social Soundscapes (The Invisible Choir)
We envision through the use and combination of specially designated public spaces, specifically designed interactive components and tools, social composition and new technologies such as AR and AI the creation of an ever evolving invisible choir, an immaterial communal orchestra blurring the lines between participant and spectator, pass-by and performer.