LA Philharmonic

Los Angeles, California

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8 ROWS x 32 COLUMNS
Black Sheet Metal Casing
Black Flaps with Stock Font
Custom Poem Writing Integration (Chris Kallmyer)

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a world-renowned amphitheater. It is respected in the arts community with the quality of performances and its architectural significance, as it was designed by Frank Gehry. The building represents the progressive artistic minds that call Los Angeles home – from its metallic flowing exterior to its subtle Douglas fir and oak interior. During the orchestral season, the LA Philharmonic attracts visitors from around the world. Inspired by the season’s program, local artist Chris Kallmyer came up with the concept for Song Cycle, a series of randomized poems. Kallmyer utilizes music, art, and design in the experiential installations he creates. He hand-picked Oat Foundry to help him bring his vision to life.

“Song Cycle is a kinetic sign, describing a world of music through ever-evolving poetry. Part imagined, part remembered, and part observed, Song Cycle’s text is continually inscribed and re-inscribed by a 256-character split-flap sign reminiscent of the arrival and departure boards found at airports and train stations in the 20th century. The mechanical sign serves as both a musical timekeeper — a metronome setting the tempo for the evolving scores — and an indicator of travel, drawing attention to the liminality of the concert hall lobby.

Harkening back to Fluxus innovator Alison Knowles’ House of Dust, a computer-generated “poem in progress,” Song Cycle utilizes code-driven randomization to produce its never-ending song. The scores are a product of chance – at turns somber, mundane, poetic, and humorous.

The piece explores an inclusive definition of music encompassing both real and imagined sounds in an effort to explore Louis Armstrong’s speculation that “music is life itself.” Ultimately, Song Cycle asks audiences to bring the kind of attention found in the concert hall back into the world, where music is everywhere if you are present enough to hear it.” (chriskallmyer.com)

The Split Flap hangs over the main lobby displaying a range of poetic verses from Kallmyer’s work. The display is generating randomized unique poems based on the artist’s original input and vision – it’s like a text portrait that changes over time.

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    Location: LA Philharmonic
    Artist: Chris Kallmyer
    Image Credits: Ian Byers Gamber

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