Ambiente432, comprised of 12 motion-responsive resonator horns suspended from the ceiling and strategically organized, “really sets the tone for your visit,” says Ryan Hardesty, curator of exhibitions and collections at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU.
The work, commissioned by the museum for its 2018 inauguration, has been re-staged in the space for which it was originally designed. The Pavilion is generally a guest’s second experience of the Crimson Cube, the first being the exterior’s reflective and richly colored cladding.
Hardesty wanted something “surprising, unexpected, that really pushes the boundaries of what art can be” in that particular gallery—“and that’s just what Trimpin’s Ambiente432 is to me,” he says. “It’s not a static experience. It’s an experience that I think empowers the visitor. In some ways, you’re in charge. You’re actually activating this work of art. Your presence in the space is going to affect your experience of the work.”
Ambiente432, part of the museum’s permanent collection, is “played” by visitors moving through and activating the space—and impacting their own experience with the kinetic sound sculpture. The installation is tuned to 432 Hz, the vibration frequency known as “Verdi’s A.” Composer Giuseppe Verdi favored the standard, which studies have shown helps calm anxiety, decreases heart rate and blood pressure, and generally has a soothing effect.
Trimpin, a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, explores sound, vision, and movement in combinations of music and mechanics. The Seattle-based artist, composer, and inventor goes by his last name.
“Significant artworks really need to be seen and experienced more than one time,” Hardesty says. “I think we build relationships with artworks over time. And it’s my hope that this work becomes a community favorite, an iconic work of our permanent collection.”
An audio sample of Trimpin’s Ambiente432