CalArtians Fabricate Bike Path Sound Installation in Santa Clarita

CalArts and the city of Santa Clarita present the soundscape ‘Stroll.’ | Image: Tom Leeser

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CalArts students, faculty and alumni recently collaborated with the city of Santa Clarita to create Stroll, a new interactive sound installation constructed along Santa Clarita’s South Fork Trail.

The series of poles emit field recordings, electronic sounds, spoken word and performed music created by 21 artists along a quarter-mile length of the trail, with each pole between 80 and 100 feet apart. The playback of these solar-powered devices is determined by an interactive sensor, which activates a particular sound or musical track based on a person’s proximity to the speakers and the individual’s height.

The project is lead by Center for Integrated Media Director Tom Leeser and CalArts faculty Dave Mickey, who designed the devices. Leeser says that most of the tracks are not high-fidelity recordings, a strategy intentionally used to promote deeper listening.

More about the sounds from LA Times writer Ann M. Simmons:

Leeser’s recordings included Tibetans chanting mantras in Katmandu, Nepal. Robin Sukhadia [Integrated Media, Music MFA 07], now a graduate of the CalArts program, collected street sounds from Kolkata, India; and Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir [Music MFA 11] documented poems from her native Iceland. Other sounds collected by the 21 project participants include traditional drumming from Rio de Janeiro and local folk music.

The idea is “to transport people to different parts of the world through sound,” said Barber, the city official.

Leeser said that the project intervenes with passers-by, re-imagining the landscape and offering them a new perspective.

Read about the reaction to the installation in the LA Times.

Other Stroll artists include: Justin Asher (Music MFA 12), Aaron Drake (Music MFA 08), Daniel Eaton (Music & Integrated Media MFA 11), Evelyn Ellias (Theater MFA 13), Heather Lockie (Music MFA 12), Albert Ortega (Music MFA 05), Henry Schroy, Kari Rae Seekins (Film/Video & Integrated Media MFA 07), Stephanie Cheng Smith (Music & Integrated Media MFA 11) and Taralyn Thomas (Art BFA 14).

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  1. Robin Sukhadia // //

    So thrilled to see this project coming to life! I was in Kolkata, India last year and walked around capturing street sounds in and around Resh Behari Avenue with a high definition audio recorder. The sounds of fiesty hawkers, rickshaws, lurching buses, hungry crows, chaiwallahs, racing taxis, and wind is unmistakable there…i hope that by hearing these sounds in Santa Clarita, folks are transported to another time, another place where humanity is bustling and striving to evolve, like they are here and everywhere.

  2. Christine N. Ziemba // //

    Hi AlSchuh,

    We asked Tom Leeser and he says the installation is located on the South Fork Trail in between the Valencia and McBean bridges.