The Chicago Sound Show

September 27–December 29, 2019

This outdoor sound art exhibition presents site-specific works by nine Chicago artists that explore thresholds, passageways, and common spaces across the University of Chicago’s campus.

The Chicago Sound Show showcases Chicago’s extraordinary sound art scene. The participating artists have created new works for historic and modern outdoor sites across the University’s campus, including Swift Cloister Garden, Campus North Residential Commons, Cobb Gate, Botany Pond, and the Smart Museum of Art courtyard. Through use of “found sound,” meditative human voice, acoustic archaeology, and more, the works reveal and amplify the architectural peculiarities of campus while enriching our sensual knowledge of space.


Through photos and artist texts, this digital booklet (PDF) documents how the exhibition “transformed nine locations on the UChicago campus into portals of knowledge.”



Lou Mallozzi, Close Quarters, 2019
Twelve-channel sound installation. Recitations performed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Jill Daly, Bruce Jenkins, Kerry James Marshall. Recording engineer: Ralph Loza at Experimental Sound Studio.
Vera and A. D. Elden Sculpture Garden, Smart Museum of Art
A site-responsive installation in which four dismembered voices speak of bodies that nearly but never quite touch.


Walter Kitundu, Maximum of the Eyes, 2019
Multi-channel sound installation.
Birch grove near Campus North Residential Commons
A multi-channel installation that fills a small grove of birch trees with sounds collected from Chicago and Lake Michigan, painting an ever-changing sonic picture of the city’s environments.


David Wallace Haskins, Breath, 2019
Two-channel sound installation, benches, infrasonic subwoofers, and full-range speakers.
Cobb Gate
Through an array of low-frequency full-spectrum speakers, this sound sculpture allows both hearing and deaf visitors to physically experience the often unheard parts of the University of Chicago’s diverse soundscape.


Sam Pluta, Parallel/Series, 2019
Multichannel sound installation of sine waves through speakers
Passageways flanking Cobb Gate
A single harmonic series, arranged in order from low to high, emanates from speakers along a wall in a long hallway, revealing its secrets to listeners as they move through space.


Katherine Young, Resonance, and the Inhibition of, 2019
Eight-channel sound installation using original text, fragments of PhD dissertations and an oral history interview, and sounds performed by vocalists Angel Bat Dawid, Carol Genetti, and Jenna Lyle.
Botany Pond and Hull Court
Sonically enchanting Botany Pond and surrounding gardens, this work celebrates female-identifying scientists by extracting fragments of text from their writings, ornamented with hums, whirs, warbles, trills, and tones.


Stephan Moore, Six Accompaniments for Solo Voice, 2019
Six stereo sound installations
Snell-Hitchcock Quadrangle
Six benches are outfitted with speakers, each providing a different accompaniment for the ceaseless vocalization of the nearby Searle Chemistry Laboratory’s ventilation system.


Olivia Block, Indiana Karst, 2019
Multi-channel sound installation with architectural fragments
Walkway between Pick Hall and Walker Museum
A multi-speaker installation that plays field recordings of cave water sounds. The recording references the Indiana limestone that is used as a building material in much of the architecture on campus.


Nomi Epstein, Quiet Qloister, 2019
Four-channel sound installation with hydrophone, live-processed and prerecorded sounds
Swift Cloister Garden
In Swift Cloister Garden’s uniquely protected sonic space, this work subtly pursues a further sense of seclusion and escape by echoing, enhancing, and processing the sound of the cloister’s fountains.


Andy Slater, Unseen Re-heard, 2019
Two-channel sound installation
Passageway between Classics and Wieboldt Hall
A durational piece composed of reimagined, repurposed, and displaced sounds collected on the University of Chicago campus.

Hours, Works, and Locations

During the run of the exhibition (September 27–December 29, 2019), The Chicago Sound Show can be experienced between 9 am and 9 pm daily. A printed exhibition guide and map are available inside the Smart Museum of Art. Download a PDF of the map »


The Smart Museum of Art is a program partner of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Chicago Architecture Biennial

Pictured: Olivia Block, Stephan Moore, Andy Slater, Walter Kitundu, Katherine Young, David Wallace Haskins, and Sam Pluta. Photo by Jean Lachat.