Kiipula Flowerhouse

This permanent sound installation, in Kiipula, Finland was installed in the spring of 1998. This project came about when two friends of mine, architect Erkki Pitkäranta and artist Jan-Erik Andersson, were comissioned to design a new building for the school of Horticulture in Kiipula (a school near Hämeenlinna) and invited me to include a permanent sound installation as part of the building.


The building is designed in the shape of the flower that is grown there - the Gerbera, with a large wintergarden in the center, and classrooms surrounding it as the petals of the flower. The sound installation is made up of bird and nature sounds recorded by myself and Finnish Sound Artist Simo Alitalo, as well as other bird and nature sounds from a variety of other locations and sources (but all native to Kiipula). These recordings were then divided into over 200 short segments, each which was processed, edited, and "idealized" to an almost iconic purity. In the wintergarden, these individual recordings are heard through 8 loudspeakers - one high on each wall of the wintergarden - playing from 4 CD players. The tracks are played in random order by each CD player, with each of the 4 CDs containing 99 tracks (of which roughly half contain only silence). In this way the various source tracks are presented spatially in ever-changing random combinations.


The audio recordings below were made directly from the source CDs used in the installation, and mixing them using a similar random process as that which takes place in the Wintergarden at Kiipula. However, it is of course is also limited in that is only a stereo reproduction of what is in the space presented in a highly directionalized manner from 8 seperate locations around and above the listener. The volume should be set so that the loudest birds are plainly audible, but that the quietest sounds should be difficult to hear.

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