Artist Christopher Janney returned to the Hendrix College campus this week to supervise the installation of "Harmonic Pass: Hendrix," an original architectural and artistic work in the Harkrider underpass.
Students have voted to call it "The Grotto," according to Karla Carney-Hall, vice president for student affairs. The work was underwritten by an anonymous donor and the senior class gift of the Class of 2010.
Within each of the underpass’s two tunnels, there are 10 touch sensors, five audio speakers, 17 full-color computer-controlled LED lights. Each tunnel will feature of group of harmonic tones, which harmonize in the middle opening of the pass.
"With two tunnels, the acoustics are just awesome," Janney said. "There is a cathedral-like reverb, which is just beautiful. It can’t be simulated electronically."
Following the physical installation of the work’s custom parts, Janney will return to his Lexington, Mass.-based PhenomenArts, Inc. studio to compose the musical and light sequence. He will then return to campus with a palette of sounds to be played in the underpass.
"It’s going to be a unique architectural place, which is the kind of work I was made to do," he said.
Janney said he thinks the work will be ready to test by the end of the month. Hendrix will plan a formal public opening of the underpass in early March.
The work is part of Janney’s urban musical instrument series. Among Janney’s other work on college campuses are East Carolina University’s Sonic Plaza and Sonic Pass Blue at New York’s Lehman College.
For more information on Janney, visit www.janneysound.com.