“Umwelt” is a German word that translates roughly to environment, and it is the namesake of downtown Gainesville’s newest interactive art exhibit.
Artist Nicole Hamilton seeks to create an environment where visitors can actively experience sound in an intentional way.
“I did some research and entered this world of sound and wondered how to make it the performance … instead of being the supporting actor, it would be the star of the show.”
Hamilton is consumed with sound from the minute to the grand. She was involved with a performance art piece several years ago where each actor did “monkey chants” as a homage to a Bolognese ritualistic theater. This experience left her more highly attuned to the impact of sound.
“This experience with sound,” Hamilton said, “which is a sense I think we ignore more often on a conscious level, is the one that stuck.”
Hamilton and accompanying artists are working to create an interactive exhibit that highlights the impact of sound at the Black C Art Gallery. The exhibit will run Friday night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. as part of July’s Artwalk Gainesville. However, the exhibit will extend to Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
When visiting the Umwelt exhibit, Hamilton and her acousteticians (a mashup of the words acoustics and estheticians meaning, “the beauty of sound”) will provide light guidance for viewers through spoken word, performance and encouragement.
Umwelt combines homemade instruments, visual art, performance art and sculpture with prerecorded sound bites and natural audio. This organic contrast allows visitors to glide from room to room to see how different sounds impact their perception and state of mind surrounding the relationship with self and others.