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Andrew Bird Installation Coming To Chicago

05:01 PM Tuesday 10/4/11 | |

Andrew Bird is performing two special shows at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art in December as part of his installation with artist/sculptor/inventor Ian Schneller of Specimen Products.

Bird’s collaboration with Schneller is titled the Sonic Arboretum. Rather than growing traditional trees or shrubs, this arboretum features a “forest” of plant-shaped audio horn speakers that are powered by custom-made tube amplifiers. The installation will be on exhibit between Dec. 6-31.

  • Andrew Bird

    Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, Calif.
    July 10, 2009

    (Michell Haddad)


The Sonic Arboretum made its debut at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in August 2010 with 53 of Schneller’s sonic sculptures.

The Chicago edition of the installation will feature upward of 70 horn speakers ranging in height from three to nine feet. Some will even rotate. The speakers are handmade using compressed recycled newsprint and powered by custom tube amps.

Bird is creating new site-specific compositions for the installation by combining violin, guitar and vocal loops, which will be played through the clusters of speakers as museum visitors wander through the Sonic Arboretum. The initial compositions will be recorded on-site at the Museum of Contemporary Art. According to the museum’s website, he will layer and change the compositions off-site via computer technology.

The singer/songwriter/violinist/composer will be at the museum in person Dec. 21-22 for two special Sonic Events where he will play violin and use the Sonic Arboretum as the P.A. 

The installation is free with museum admission. Tickets for the Sonic Events are available through the museum’s website or box office.
For more information, click here for the Museum of Contemporary Art’s website.

Check out the Sonic Arboretum at the Guggenheim below.



Artists Mentioned in this article