John Kannenberg

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A Sound Map of the Art Institute of Chicago
A Sound Map of the Art Institute of Chicago - CD cover

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by museums - not just as places of looking and learning, but also of listening. For me, the soundscape of a museum resonates with the active sounds of history - the nexus between a museum’s contemporary sonic world and the historical objects housed within it. The sonic events that I capture inside museums exist within the realms between documentary and drama, awe and aura.

This is the second in my ongoing series of psychogeographic sound maps of museums. Several hours of source recordings were secretly captured in the spring and summer of 2013 using only the built-in microphones of an Olympus LS-10 portable digital recorder. These sounds were then edited into a composed, but unprocessed, hour-long impossible journey through the Art Institute of Chicago.

Recent Projects »

Dispersal Patterns on Entr'acte

Apartheid to Democracy: Twenty Years of Transition in South Africa is a series of exhibits, lectures, and films now on view until September 15, 2014 that I co-curated with Esmeralda Kale and Erik Ponder for the Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University.


Hours of Infinity

Commission a Drawing

Hours of Infinity is an ongoing series of projects that debuted at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the Work Gallery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Two gallery exhibitions, One Hundred Hours of Infinity and Twelve Hours of Infinity: Amduat displayed the output of a deceptively simple, rigorously imprecise drawing method – on the floor with a pencil attached to fishing line – that metaphorically represents the imperfection embedded within the human experience of the infinite.

The complementary installation/performance event An Hour of Infinity featured the simultaneous display of eight live drawing performers, two surround sound installations, and two graphic score musical performances throughout the Kelsey Museum galleries.

An Hour of Infinity encourages audiences to experience museums, libraries, and gallery spaces in a new way, by both watching and listening to the real-time creation of artwork within a space usually dedicated to viewing completed and archived works. Through the visual and sonic observation of a live working process, audiences find new connections between themselves, museum/gallery spaces, and time itself. Interested in staging An Hour of Infinity at your museum or gallery? Contact me.


Collections: UMMA

Learn more about my site-specific video score performance at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.