straight up
"Rauschenberg wanted a one-to-one response,
so people would understand they were one half
of the piece."
Robert Rauschenberg's installation Soundings

previous next
Soundings <1968>

Soundings is a 36 foot long sculpture made up of three layers of Plexiglas. The front layer would be partially mirrorized and behind are two layers of Plexiglas with images of a wooden chair on them. Different lights behind the sheets of Plexiglas would vary in intensity based upon the amount of sound in the room and backlight the images so they would be visible through the mirror.

Robbie Robinson brought in Fred Waldhauer, who had designed the proportional control system for 9 Evenings, and I suggested they consult Cecil Coker, a scientist who was working in speech analysis at the Labs. Waldhauer, Coker and Rauschenberg got together and decided the sound would be divided into four frequency bands, so that a high-pitched voice or sound would trigger a different set of lights from a low-pitched voice or sound; that is, children would trigger different lights from adults standing beside them.