Christopher Janney Combines Whale Sounds and the Everglades to Make Art

Artist, composer, architect, and all around Jack-of-all-trades Christopher Janney has made a name for himself blending sound and architecture in unique ways. Fortunately for us, Janney has taken a shine to Miami, bringing both an exhibition of "Architecture of the Air" at the Moore Building and a new art installation, Harmonic Convergence, to the city just in time for Art Basel.

Replacing Janney's iconic Harmonic Runway for the Miami International Airport, Harmonic Convergence features a 72-foot window wall complete with a changing pattern of colors to represent life in South Florida. While the installation won't be dedicated until November 28, we were lucky to catch up with the artist for a few words about the method and meaning of his work.

New Times: Can you briefly explain the origins of the project?

Christopher Janney: Harmonic Convergence was a commission I received from Miami Art in Public Places in 2003. The idea is to create an "immersive experience."- Like architecture, I want something you can walk into.  I want it to wrap around you like a blanket.

Harmonic Convergence includes components that make the work more than just a series of colors, such as an audio recording of sounds native to South Florida. Could you tell us a little about that?

The audio portion of the piece is a sound-score I wrote using indigenous sounds of South Florida--the Everglades, the seashore, underwater (whales, dolphins) mixed with various melodic instruments.The idea is to create a "synaesthetic" environment, a space where your eyes are feeding you a visual experience and your ears are feeding you an aural experience. Together they create a unique, one-of-a-kind place.

How did the culture of South Florida influence your work?

The piece is an abstraction of South Florida in color and sound.

What do you think is a benefit of having art in public places, as opposed to confined in a gallery?

[Having been] trained as an architect and a jazz musician, these projects are part of my "Urban Musical Instrument" series.  My interest is for people to have an aesthetic experience as a part of their everyday lives.

What do you hope people will get out of these projects?

My work is a social foil, something which allows total strangers to interact with one another in public spaces in a positive and creative way.

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Michael Hicks

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