Exploration, Field, and Anthroapologetic Sketch #2 for the Dynamic Listening Instrument

A thesis installation, December 1st-8th 2017  in the lobby and main gallery of the Fisher Studio Arts Building at Bard College.

The Dynamic Listening Instrument is an electromagnetic architectural sculpture that allows sound to be handled as a tactile entity. People can navigate a venn-diagram of magnetic fields with a sounding bucket to listen and compose a unique acoustic assemblage.  So far it has been used with buckets for dance performances, movement workshops, sound experiments, and listening installation.


Among sculpture, drawing, video, and large visual/text scores, were performances of the movement/sound compositions Exploration and Field, and an interactive listening installation, Anthroapologetic Sketch #2.




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Listeners at the opening reception.

What is the Dynamic Listening Instrument?

Since Spring 2017, I have worked to develop an instrument that uses art as a productive social container. The Dynamic Listening Instrument is a tool/sculpture able to do two really important things. Most noticeably, it allows anyone interacting with it to play with sound as a tactile entity. I call the instrument dynamic because it allows extreme variability and openness. Sound can be controlled with unique precision by someone just lifting and moving a bucket. As electrical current in magnetic fields, sounds become fixed to locations and remain dormant unless those places are tapped by interaction. Anyone can experience this as long as they can hold a bucket and move. It’s a mystifying experience that is technically simple and can be built without digital technologies.

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The fact that the instrument allows someone to uniquely experience the materiality of sound helps the instrument do a second really important thing, which is make people want to listen. The type of listening the instrument engages is uniquely tied to touch and movement. Whoever is interacting with the bucket/instrument is in charge of audibility. They can fine tune and blend different sounds however they want. I believe that since the participant is in control of sound they become more invested in listening. Sounds are placed intentionally into the instrument, but it is the participants who accesses and expose themselves to these sounds, make their own compositions, and set their own durations. New value and curiosity is brought to sound because of the unique and surprising nature of the instrument. One can listen deeply for content or can just have fun with the aesthetic/tactile experience.
For more info email callanfish@gmail.com

Edited video stills for the process of “Field” printed on acetate.



A few listening buckets…



The Dynamic Listening Instrument powered by a rechargeable battery so as to be portable.


There were two nights of performances with Emma Lee, Margot Roo Ells, Lily Lasher, Livia Paraday, and Mehgan Abdel-Moheim with costumes by Mallie Sanford (Soulw0rm) and Cal Fish.

EXPLORATION Video Document

FIELD Video Document

FIELD Video Document




In the lobby were 5 CRT monitors with a scrolling artist statement and documentation from Dynamic Listening Dance Workshops held leading up to the installation.








The Dynamic Listening Instrument will be used next in Harlem from January 12th-18th to extend the “What Lies Upstream” documentary about water contamination in West Virginia,

and for the Co-Incidence Festival In Somerville MA from January 19th-28th.

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