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The sounds of the sun: Artist brings solar music to Hingham

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  July 18, 2011 02:44 PM

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Sun Boxes set up at Derby Street Shoppes at Hidden Pond in the area behind Whole Foods market.

In the area behind Whole Foods Market at the Derby Street Shoppes, tucked among the trees and brush next to the shallow Hidden Pond, people will be able to hear a quiet humming noise coming from the field.

Occurring for one day on Saturday July 30 from 11 a.m. till 2, the shop’s installation of Sun Boxes, or 20 speakers operating independently through solar power, will be available to the public.

According to the artist, Craig Colorusso, each box plays a different guitar note. When the piece begins, the notes, played at different lengths, overlap one another, allowing the piece to slowly change, shifting chords depending on the sun and the shadows.

It creates a piece that continually evolves, and that is entirely dependent on nature, Colorusso said.

“When the clouds hit the box, or your walking and your shadow hits the box, it’ll turn the box off,” he said. “It’s interactive in a different way. A lot of times your body is involved in a sensory situation that something begins. Sun Boxes is involved with your body that something stops. I’ve created something that interacts with Mother Nature and the environment - I think its pretty cool.”

It was a concept born out of happenstance.

“In 2008, my good friend [David Sanchez Burr] called me up and said make something solar - we’re going to the desert. And then he hung up,” Colorusso recalled.

Wanting to fill an outdoor space of The Goldwell Open Air Museum in Rhyolite, Nevada, Colorusso came up with the sun box concept, a new take on Colorusso’s general approach to art.

“Most of my work involves light and sound, but this was my first piece using solar,” he said. “Usually I make stuff that goes into gallery spaces and I have to block off all the light.”

There are no batteries, Colorusso said, and no stop button. The notes reset themselves when the sun goes away or when clouds take over. Even with continual sun, however, it would take months for the seemingly random array of notes to repeat themselves.

Although the music transforms a space, Colorusso is careful to note that the boxes don’t overtake their surroundings.

“One of the things i love about [Sun Boxes] is the sound is loud enough to engulf the participant but also quiet enough to allow ambient sounds of the environment to trickle in, like cars, birds, leaves, wind, people, sirens. I really dig when the sirens go by,” he said.

The boxes have been everywhere, from Nevada and Vermont to New Hampshire, Ohio, Main, Indianapolis, and Maryland.

It’s Colorusso’s hope to take them to all 50 states.

But soon, they will be at Derby.

“A lot of people are really psyched, you walk into the middle of it, and you feel like you’re doing something different,” the artist said. “I’ve had really positive feedback everywhere I’ve gone.”

Colorusso’s exhibit will additionally be on display at The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA for one day, on Saturday, Aug. 6.

But before then, the shops will utilize the outdoor concert for a Yoga class on Saturday, July 30 from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“The solar powered sound creates a soothing and energized atmosphere, perfect for meditation and yoga,” a release from Derby said.

Yoga instructors from Dancing Crow Yoga Studio, located at the shops, will be leading the afternoon instruction.

It’s an event Niamh O’Maille, the marketing coordinator with Derby Street Shoppes, is excited to see happen.

“When I first heard about Craig Colorusso’s Sun Box installation, I just knew Hidden Pond would be the perfect venue to exhibit his work and having Dancing Crow Yoga participate in the event made it even more special,” she said. “Craig has exhibited his installation in so many beautiful places all over New England, so we are honored to have him create this installation at Derby Street.”

To listen to the Sun Boxes, click here.

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