15 min

Silent Echoes: Sound Artist Bill Fontana—The Bells of Notre Dame The Kitchen Sisters Present

    • Society & Culture

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Since the devastating 2019 fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the ringing of the cathedral’s bells has ceased.
Sound artist, Bill Fontana, known for his sound sculptures of Golden Gate Bridge, temple bells in Kyoto, and trees in Sequoia National Forest, creates a new work giving voice to the silenced bells of Notre Dame.

To create his new work, Silent Echoes, Fontana attached seismic accelerometers—sensors designed to detect vibrations—to each of its ten bells of Notre Dame. As the bells reverberate in response to the ambient sounds of Paris—rain, the calls of birds, the noise of the street—the live feed is transmitted to a series of speakers at the Centre Pompidou creating a haunting, immersive sound sculpture. Silent Echoes debuted at the Centre Pompidou in June, where, on the fifth floor terrace of the museum, visitors stood awash in the acoustics of the bells, with the towers of Notre Dame in view just across the Seine.

Alisa Carroll of the podcast Alcôve interviewed Bill Fontana in San Francisco and Davia Nelson spoke with him in Paris before the opening of the exhibition.

This story was produced by Jim McKee.  Sound design and mixing by Jim McKee. Special thanks to Alisa Carroll and Jim McKee for sharing this piece with The Kitchen Sisters Present.

The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) with Brandi Howell and Nathan Dalton. For more info and stories visit kitchensisters.org

The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of Radiotopia from PRX - a curated network of independent, creator owned podcasts.

Since the devastating 2019 fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the ringing of the cathedral’s bells has ceased.
Sound artist, Bill Fontana, known for his sound sculptures of Golden Gate Bridge, temple bells in Kyoto, and trees in Sequoia National Forest, creates a new work giving voice to the silenced bells of Notre Dame.

To create his new work, Silent Echoes, Fontana attached seismic accelerometers—sensors designed to detect vibrations—to each of its ten bells of Notre Dame. As the bells reverberate in response to the ambient sounds of Paris—rain, the calls of birds, the noise of the street—the live feed is transmitted to a series of speakers at the Centre Pompidou creating a haunting, immersive sound sculpture. Silent Echoes debuted at the Centre Pompidou in June, where, on the fifth floor terrace of the museum, visitors stood awash in the acoustics of the bells, with the towers of Notre Dame in view just across the Seine.

Alisa Carroll of the podcast Alcôve interviewed Bill Fontana in San Francisco and Davia Nelson spoke with him in Paris before the opening of the exhibition.

This story was produced by Jim McKee.  Sound design and mixing by Jim McKee. Special thanks to Alisa Carroll and Jim McKee for sharing this piece with The Kitchen Sisters Present.

The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) with Brandi Howell and Nathan Dalton. For more info and stories visit kitchensisters.org

The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of Radiotopia from PRX - a curated network of independent, creator owned podcasts.

15 min

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