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Bill Fontana has worked for the past 30 years creating installations that use sound as a sculptural medium to interact with and transform our perceptions of visual and architectural settings. These have been installed in public spaces and museums around the world including San Francisco, New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Venice, Sydney and Tokyo.
Bill's sound sculptures use the human and/or natural environment as a living source of musical information. He assumes that at any given moment there will be something meaningful to hear and that music, in the sense of coherent sound patterns, is a process that is going on constantly. His methodology has been to create networks of simultaneous listening points that relay real time acoustic data to a common listening zone (sculpture site). Since 1976 he has called these works sound sculptures.
Bill has produced a large number of works that explore the idea of creating live listening networks. These all use a hybrid mix of transmission technologies that connect multiple sound retrieval points to a central reception point. What is significant in this process are the conceptual links determining the relationships between the selected listening points and the site-specific qualities of the reception point (sculpture site). Some conceptual strategies have been acoustic memory, the total transformation of the visible (retinal) by the invisible (sound), hearing as far as one can see, the relationship of the speed of sound to the speed of light, and the deconstruction of our perception of time.
From the late 90”s until the present Bill's projects have explored hybrid listening technologies of acoustic microphones, underwater sensors (hydrophones) and structural/material sensors (accelerometers). He has also realized and is developing projects that access live seismic networks to explore the sound energy of ocean waves, traveling long distances underground.