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News Room

High Museum of Art Commissions New Interactive Piazza Installation

April 30, 2018

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Site-specific work will be the fifth in a series to activate the High’s outdoor piazza 

ATLANTA, April 30, 2018 – In June, the High Museum of Art will unveil “Sonic Playground,” an installation of sound sculptures by internationally renowned designer Yuri Suzuki on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. The installation continues a multiyear initiative to animate the High’s outdoor space with site-specific commissions that engage visitors of all ages in participatory art experiences. It will be the High’s first venture into exploring the notion of audible play — how sounds can be constructed, altered and experienced.

On view from June 24 through Oct. 7, 2018, “Sonic Playground” will feature ingenious, colorful sculptures that modify and transmit sound in unusual, engaging and playful ways. The installation aims to create serendipitous audible experiences among visitors that create a sense of community within the Piazza. The installation will include six different types of sculptures:

  • Parabolic – These structures will send sounds from one end of the Piazza to the other without using any electricity. The shape is designed so a person on one side of the Piazza can clearly hear a person speaking many feet away on the other side.
  • Amplify – Visitors may sit or rest near these megaphone-shaped structures, which will amplify surrounding sounds.
  • Flower – Creating direct lines of communication at different heights, these structures will feature low- and high-positioned horns.
  • Long Horn – These pipes will create metallic sound effects when visitors speak through them.
  • High Horn – Visitors at varying heights may stand or rest under the lower horn structures and listen to sounds coming from horns higher above their heads.
  • Switch – These structures swap the way visitors hear sounds by changing their input. When a person stands in the structure, his or her right ear will receive sounds from the left-hand side, and the left ear will receive sounds from the right-hand side.

In addition to creating a welcoming atmosphere for socializing and recreation, “Sonic Playground” will serve as a stage for performances and art-making activities the High will co-organize with local arts organizations. This programming will take place on a rotating schedule throughout run of the installation during the High’s First Friday, Friday Jazz and Second Sunday events.

“Our guests will love interacting with the sculptures, and one another, as they experience ‘Sonic Playground,’” said Virginia Shearer, Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education at the High. “As in previous years, this latest installation will welcome visitors of all ages to have fun in our outdoor space before heading into the Museum.”

“Yuri Suzuki is an incredibly talented designer, and we are exceptionally pleased to work with him on this delightful new iteration of our piazza installation series,” said Kevin W. Tucker, the High’s chief curator.

This summer’s project builds on the success of the four previous piazza commissions: Spanish designer Jaime Hayon’s “Merry Go Zoo” (2017) and “Tiovivo” (2016) and 2014–2015’s “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”) by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena.

About the High’s Piazza Activation Initiative
The High’s piazza activation initiative launched in 2014 to explore how engaging with art and design can extend beyond the museum’s walls. Varied programs, art-making activities and other interactive features enliven these dynamic outdoor installations.

The High commissioned Esrawe and Cadena to design the first two installations for the project, “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”), followed by Hayon’s “Merry Go Zoo” and “Tiovivo.” For each of these installations, the High worked with local arts organizations and Woodruff Arts Center partners to present live performances and art-making activities themed around the structures. The piazza projects have so far been enjoyed by a total of nearly 600,000 visitors.

The High’s piazza activation initiative is sponsored by a grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which is part of the family of foundations that also includes the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation is an independent private foundation that invests primarily in education, arts and culture.

About Yuri Suzuki 
Yuri Suzuki (Japanese, born 1980) is a sound artist, designer and electronic musician who explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces. His work, which has been exhibited all over the world, pushes the boundaries of design, technology and sound and examines the relationship between people and sound, including research on how music and sound affect the mind. After studying industrial design at Nihon University, Suzuki worked for the Japanese art unit Maywa Denki and then moved to London to study design products at the Royal College of Art under the tutelage of Ron Arad. In 2013, he began teaching at Royal College of Art and became a research consultant for Disney, New Radiophonic Workshop and Teenage Engineering. Also in 2013, he launched the London-based Yuri Suzuki Design Studio, where he collaborates with clients including Google, Moog, will.i.am, Panasonic and Disney on research, development, sound and design. Suzuki created a DIY musical instrument, the “OTOTO” (comprising a built-in synthesizer and sampler), with Mark McKeague and Joseph Pleass (as Dentaku Ltd).  The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired “OTOTO” in 2014 along with Suzuki’s work “Colour Chasers.”

“Sonic Playground: Yuri Suzuki” Exhibition Organization and Support
“Sonic Playground: Yuri Suzuki” is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Support for the High Museum’s presentation is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation. This exhibition is made possible by Premier Exhibition Series Partner Bank of America; Exhibition Series Sponsors Delta Air Lines, Inc., and Turner; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters Tom and Susan Wardell; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones. Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Marjorie and Carter Crittenden, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Howell Exhibition Fund, and John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund.

About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Ga., the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions, and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 16,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from pre-history through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org.

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Media contacts:

Marci Tate Davis
Manager of Public Relations
High Museum of Art
Tel: 404-733-4585
E-mail: marci.davis@high.org

Chelsea Beroza
Senior Account Executive
Resnicow + Associates
Tel: 212-671-5160
E-mail: cberoza@resnicow.com