YOU CAN HEAR an extraordinary bending of sound near concentrated stands of aspen, birch or lodge-pole pine, cedars too, which break and filter blasts of wind—that’s a sonic crystal effect.
BUSY INTERSECTIONS can also be like a persistent wind—accelerating during ‘rush hours’—the sound of the place altered in very short order.
Carefully placed acoustic objects can redirect and repurpose ambient sound in unexpected and pleasing ways.
When you pass by a sonic crystal installation there is noticeable and audible dampening—a momentary dropout of ambient sound from the street—regardless of the intensity of the volume at source (the spacing between the vertical poles create ‘noise cancellation’ effects).
You can also tune a ‘sonic crystal’ to amplify specific pitches of sound by adjusting the gap between the vertical poles, as well as adding poles of various diameters to ricochet and refashion acoustic frequencies.
CHILDREN, in particular, find the sculptures attractive and readily engage with the non-toxic plastic. The poles have some give and gently bend when manipulated, yet retain their shape; there are no sharp edges.
The prototype design mimics the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings—as traffic ebbs and flows, the audible wash of ‘white noise’ shimmers and shifts—filtered through the sculpture as one skirts around it.