Tired of bad sound system at your party? Just a stack of loud speakers don’t turn you on any more? If you are looking for a true sonic stimulant that maxes out your adrenaline level, here’s the alternative option – the Audium, a audio experimental theater pioneering the mind excursion of space in sound. It is the only “gallery for ears” in the world built exclusively for dimensional sound movement, using the whole environment as a unique musical instrument.
The Audium‘s history goes back to 1960’s, when the two founders, a professional composer, Stan Shaff, and engineer Doug McEachern, started to experiment with physical dimension in audio composition. The current facility in downtown San Francisco was established in 1975 with the grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since then, the founders conducted live performances using their custom made console to create atmospheric mix of various sound bits, ranging from simple pulse clinks to ambient, nature sounds.
Inside, the Audium is heavily equipped with 169 speakers of various kinds and sizes, mounted throughout the dome shaped room from the floor to the ceiling. Sitting in one of the seats, you are literally surrounded by massive objects of sound flying all over the space from your head to toe. “Bring your ears and imagination,” as the program note mentions, the performance is played in totally pitch black darkness where the sounds stimulate your sensory imagination. Without relying on vision, you are likely to experience invisibly kinetic “sound sculptures” bouncing around in your head. You will sense the sound transforming into physical shape. The intense, yet unseen sound presence will evoke your subconscious journey – as Stan Shaff describes, the exploration of images, dreams and memories of your own.
Address: 1616 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94109
Closed on Sunday and Monday
Tel: +1 415 771 1616
Text: Kanya Niijima
Photos: Courtesy of the Audium