Keeper of the Plans

This interactive Final Friday show turns sounds recorded in Wichita into music

Teaser for Fisch Haus' 'MapMusik/316'

A preview of "MapMusik/316," an experimental Final Friday exhibition opening this week at the Fisch Haus. Music was composed by Von Hansen, using everyday sounds recorded across Wichita.
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A preview of "MapMusik/316," an experimental Final Friday exhibition opening this week at the Fisch Haus. Music was composed by Von Hansen, using everyday sounds recorded across Wichita.

A pebble skipping across a pond.

A bike wheel with a stick in its spoke.

Windshield wipers squeaking on the car.

These aren't sounds Wichitans typically consider music, but an ambitious Final Friday show aims to change people's minds.

"MapMusik/316" is an interactive show at Fisch Haus, 524 S. Commerce, that features 64 short audio recordings taken from around the city.

A map of the city will be projected onto four interactive stations set up around the gallery, and each station will be equipped with a video-game controller.

Attendees will use the controller to play random sounds recorded across the city, and as they do so the map will highlight where that sound came from. People are encouraged to collaborate to make music with each other using these 64 different sounds.

The exhibition, which is sponsored by VibrantICT, will run from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at Fisch Haus.

Local musician Von Hansen, a percussion professor at Friends University, created a composition using these sounds — which will be performed Friday by himself and Susan Mayo, a local cellist.

The majority of the night, however, will be for people to play with the interactive stations, Hansen said.

"MapMusik/316" is a collaboration between Hansen, Mayo, Torin Andersen, Lauren Hirsh and Elizabeth Stevenson.

"I'm really excited about this project — definitely the most excited about a project that I've been in a long time," Hansen said.

The project last week won a $10,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, through the Wichita Community Foundation, to continue beyond this Final Friday. Fisch Bowl (the nonprofit arm of Fisch Haus) was the sponsoring nonprofit.

The artists behind the project will be asking people to submit their own neighborhood sounds in the coming months and will be putting on more MapMusik events around the city, Mayo said.

"This (Final Friday show) is like a pilot project," she said. "We're hoping to collaborate with different events in downtown and the Delano District and collect sounds."

Mayo said the hope is that people will start to become aware of everyday sounds in their community, though "oftentimes we spend our time blocking it out."

"Music is organized sound, and we have all these very sophisticated ways and instruments over the history of humanity that we've developed to take sound and make it have meaning," she said. "This is another step, ... another tool in the making of music."

Mayo had been mulling over the MapMusik concept for years, but didn't start pursuing it fully until last fall, at Stevenson's behest.

"It's about community-building, about people being aware of sounds in their own neighborhood and coming together for a community art project," she said. "It's performance art, it's composition art, it's digital art — it's a lot of things."

To experience MapMusik, check out Fisch Haus, 524 S. Commerce, between 7 and 10 p.m. Friday. Admission is free.

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