Architecture of the Air

The Sound and Light Environments
of Christopher Janney
Beth Dunlop and Christopher Janney
Foreword by Sir George Martin

Christopher Janney is one of the most prolific and influential artists working with sound and light today. Named by Esquire magazine in 1984 as one of the Americans under 40 most likely to change the world, Janney’s innovative use of recorded and live sound, light, and interactive technology has done much since to bear out that prediction.

The majority of Janney’s work is in the public sphere, and is appropriately populist, often turning spectators into participants and (sometimes unwittingly) into musicians. All are at the nexus of art, technology, and music.

This book documents sixteen of his projects. Miami Herald architecture critic Beth Dunlop offers context and background for Janney’s work in a 15,000-word essay. And in a text that is part Dore Ashton, part Fritjof Capra, and part Wired magazine, Janney himself provides a brief summary of his aesthetic inspiration and decision-making process, as well as the technical challenges posed by each piece and the solutions he devised.

Among the projects featured in Architecture of the Air:“Heartbeat,” a performance in which Janney amplifies the electrical impulses from the brain to the heart via a wireless telemetry system.This track provides the rhythmic structure over which various musicians and text are laid (performed by Sara Rudner and Mikhail Baryshnikov); “Reach—New York,” an permanent“urban musical instrument” in the 34th Street subway station in New York City; “Resonating Frequencies,” a series Janney created to focus on dialogues between architecture and music. Participants have included DJ Spooky, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Moby, Thom Mayne, and Bernard Tschumi; and “Sonic Forest,” a 1000 square-foot interactive sound and light environment that is composed of 16 eight-foot tall cylinders containing audio speakers, lights, and photoelectric cells that trigger an ever-changing “score” of melodic tones and environmental sounds as people pass between the poles.

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See what the Royal Institute of British Architects have to say about Janney’s book and work. Click here.

Christopher Janney and Sir George Martin at the launch of Janney’s new book in the APPLE flagship store, London, 12/13/06. Click here.



CHRISTOPHER JANNEY is an artist, architect, and practicing jazz musician. He received a BA in architecture and visual arts from Princeton (magna cum laude), and a Master of Science in Environmental Art from MIT. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, and has been a visiting professor at Cooper Union in New York City since 1991. He lives in Lexington, MA with his wife and two children.

BETH DUNLOP is the architecture critic for the Miami Herald. She is the author of several books, most recently Arquitectonica (Rizzoli, 2004).
SIR GEORGE MARTIN is a music producer and composer who is best known as the man who signed and produced the Beatles.

SPECS
160 pages, 8-1/4 x 10-1/4”
Cloth, jacketed, 120 color illustrations