‘Climata‘ is a new [actually 2016] work by composer and sound artist Robert Curgenven comprised entirely of site-specific recordings captured in 15 of James Turrell’s Skyspaces, spanning 9 countries. Each of the individual recordings, with their quiet & slowly changing microtonal interventions made in-situ, interrogate and offer a specific document of weather, location and duration framed by the architecture of the Skyspace – a frame that blurs the distinction between interiority and exteriority – while allowing the physicality of the Skyspace to be subtly rendered audible.
Turrell’s Skyspaces are a specifically proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky and outside world. The Skyspaces can be autonomous structures or integrated into existing architecture. The aperture can be round, ovular or square – each with its’ own “piece of sky” beneath an ocean of air. These variously shaped apertures let in and frame not only Turrell’s famous light but also sound and its medium, in this case air.
The initial tones you will notice are a by-product of the recording process in the Skyspaces, a technique which brings the air inside the Skyspace into movement against the air outside – oscillating through the ceiling aperture, creating a soft phasing sound, like a whooshing or fluttering where the listener can hear the air move – this sound is about as loud as the sound outside the Skyspace.
The two discs that make up ‘Climata’ were created to be played back to back or simultaneously, in any order and ideally on two sound systems. Together the two 58 minute CDs give rise to hours of unique combinations.
An installation version of Climata was exhibited in the National Gallery of Australia’s Skyspace in 2015 with more site-specific iterations to follow in 2016.