Collaboration with Club For Five gave birth to a sonic installation
Textile strips of different colors hang from the high metal frame, moving with a small air flow. The artwork, created in collaboration with Aalto University students and Club For Five, a Finnish a cappella quintet celebrating its 20th anniversary, offers an experience of a virtual concert.
The combination of sound and different fabrics, metal and light creates a five-tone instrument. The artwork echoes music composed by the band, where each of the five singers has their own speaker, turned to different sides of the work.
The work brings out various elements of music, such as rhythm, different tones of sound and movement. As the viewer moves around the piece, the sound relates with various textile surfaces in unexpected ways that illustrate the versatility of the music. A piece of music lives in space as the listener circulates around it.
SOONI has already been on display at Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki and Tampere Hall in Tampere and can now be experienced in the Väre building of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Otaniemi until the end of November.
Desire to create new experiences
Club For Five had to cancel their extensive 20th anniversary concert tour due to the covid19 pandemic. However, the idea and desire to look for new ways to provide the audience with musical experiences remained.
‘We want to collaborate with different artists, find common ground and dialogue between different disciplines. Combining architecture and music was one of the ideas’, says Maija Sariola, vocalist at Club For Five.
The band presented the idea to Laura Arpiainen, a professor of health and welfare architecture at Aalto University, and the collaboration took off. SOONI is the first fruit of the collaboration.
‘One of Aalto’s key goals is social impact, and this artistic collaboration is a new opening in that. The importance of new experiences is emphasized during a pandemic’, says Arpiainen, who has worked and researched the importance of architecture for well-being in a variety of ways. Now under study is the relationship between music and architecture.
Vocalist Maija Sariola, Club For Five
‘We want to collaborate with different artists, find common ground and dialogue between different disciplines."
The collaboration between Club For Five and people at Aalto began in spring via remote connections. The art installation was designed by architecture students Aino Salo and Caspar Åkerblom, for whom the project offered an opportunity to explore, for example, the interfaces between art and architecture in completely new ways.
Salo is currently doing her master's thesis on the interfaces between music, architecture and well-being. Both have a background with music in their youth, so they well possessed the basics of music.
‘We got to sketch quite wild spatial designs right from the beginning. Our weekly discussions about music and its impact on the experience of space encouraged us to come up with always new and more diverse ideas’, the students of architecture explain.
The final idea for the work found its shape in the sketchbooks late last summer. That was also when interior design and textile design students Julia Lehto and Jenna Mäkäräinenwere invited to join the implementation phase.
‘It was an interesting challenge to combine textile, architecture and music. We were able to work on textiles on a large scale, as well as open-mindedly try out different textile and fibre art processing methods’, Lehto and Mäkäräinen explain.
‘I'm glad to see how interactive the work became – each listener experiences it in a different way and can surely find new insights into music and art through their own multisensory experience. This creates both delight and well-being', rejoices Arpiainen.
Club for Five also made new music inspired by SOONI: the song Soonin matkassa (Along with Sooni) was premiered at the band's gala concert at the House of Culture in Helsinki in October.
SOONI's construction has been supported by Aalto Experience Platform and Genelec Oy. The work will be on display until 30 November in the elevator gallery of the Väre building of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Otaniementie 14, Espoo.