Polartide was created by new media artist Greg Niemeyer to inspire awareness of the effects of climate change on one of the Kerguelen Islands, Gan Island in the Malvides, Venice, and Reykjavík, Iceland. Using a dedicated website [www.polartide.org], Niemeyer encourages visitors to click on an interactive graph that shows sea water levels and oil stock quotes. Each click triggers synthesized sea buoy bells, which generate elaborate, ever-changing musical textures that are reproduced for Biennale visitors.
These sounds are relayed outdoors through eight weather-protected UP-4XP loudspeakers that are connected to two MPS-488HP power supplies (48V DC). Signal processing is handled by a Galileo loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 408 processors. L'Aquila, Italy-based Fox Sound supplied the system, which was purchased through Meyer Sound's Italian distributor Linear Sound S.r.l.
"We needed tools that reproduce sound precisely and work in the rain, and the UP-4XPs have achieved both brilliantly," says Niemeyer.
Composer Chris Chafe adds, "The loudspeakers deliver the glorious sound of the bells successfully. They have proven to be very practical, both in terms of ease of installation and overall system efficiency."
Polartide is co-sponsored by swissnex, Pro Helvetia, and CITRIS. Rama Gottfried served as sound artist, and sound designer was Perrin Meyer.
Polartide is not the only exhibit to benefit from Meyer Sound technology at the 2013 Venice Biennale. In the French Pavilion, Anri Sala's symphonic film installation "Ravel Ravel Unravel"uses 25 Meyer Sound loudspeakers and a D-Mitri digital audio platform, provided by Paris-based audio provider DUSHOW. The installation comprises multiple separate performances of composer Maurice Ravel's "Piano Concerto for the Left Hand," and the use of an anechoic chamber. D-Mitri handles synchronous sound playback for three video projectors, mixing, routing, equalization, and delay.
Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is a citywide exhibition of contemporary art from around the world, highly regarded for its encouragement of experimental artistic endeavors.