Jonathon Kirk, North Central College assistant professor of music, co-presented a sound installation performance titled “Cryoacoustic Orb” at the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Jan. 20. The four-hour performance complemented the university’s yearlong academic theme “Water in Our World.”
Kirk and co-presenter Lee Weisert have a shared interest in electronic music, field recordings, environmental sounds and site-specific art. They’ve collaborated on sound installations since their days as graduate students at Northwestern University. One of those installations included sensors that measured light and temperature changes in water, which electronically affected the sound the water produced.
That installation inspired their orb project—a clear plastic sphere of cold ice sitting on a pedestal in a darkened room. Lit from underneath, an underwater microphone is frozen near its center. Viewers, who don wireless headphones, are able to listen to the ice melt. The sounds shift over the course of four hours, creating a symphony of sorts. The ice cracks. Air bubbles escape, and more.
Kirk has been teaching music at North Central since 2010. He received his B.A. from Augustana College, an M.M. from Eastman School of Music, an M.A. from Brown University and a D.Mus. from Northwestern University.