SHIR ADAMA is a reactive sound installation for a public memorial site. The installation transforms the sounds of the environment into musical harmonies in real time by using microphones and speakers that were integrated into four earth benches that surround the memorial site.
THE EARTH MEMORIAL
The installation was integrated as part of a memorial park in Kyriat Haim (Israel) , commissioned by the city of Haifa in 2017 to create a space of commemoration for the local victims who died in the recent conflicts. The memorial was designed and built by Gitai Architects and is entirely made from earth — ’Adama’ in Hebrew. In terms of landscape, architecture, materiality and sound it is the first of the kind as no other memorial was done in this particular technique until today.
The base for the sound transformation is the basic key of the last movement of Gustav Mahler’s Song of the Earth. This last movement, named „The Farewell“, evokes the subject of human mortality within an ongoing, ‘eternal’ final chord. Additional to the live transformation, a bass clarinet chord is played every three minutes for each of the 235 names of the memorial. The tones are generated through the translation of each letter of the respective name to a musical note within the scale of the final movement of Mahler’s song symphony. Once a year at Yom Hazikaron, all vocal reading of all names is played through the system.
A MUSIC OF MEMORY
The Song of the Earth becomes a living membrane, an invisible connection between the present environment and the past lives. Visitors of the memorial are invited to sit on one of the four sounding earth benches and experience the transformation of the surrounding everyday sounds into an ever-changing music of memory.