Chants of sacred syllable OM will be recorded, remixed and featured in “The World Is Sound” exhibition opening in June 2017.
New York, NY (November 18, 2016) – Beginning in February, the sixth floor of the Rubin Museum of Art will become the “OM Lab,” a participatory space where visitors can step into a recording booth and offer their chant of the Sanskrit mantra OM. The collected recordings will be remixed by acoustic consultants from Arup and featured in the Rubin’s upcoming exhibition “The World Is Sound,” opening June 16, 2017.
OM is a sacred syllable, central to many Asian religious traditions, and has endured for more than three thousand years. The sound has been called “elemental” and “universal,” serving as a preface to prayers and chants. The syllable has also gained traction in a secular context for its psychological benefits, particularly with the rise of yoga and meditation movements. In “OM Lab,” visitors will learn about the lasting importance of this sacred syllable, and then become a part of its history by offering their voices to the collective chant. Open during regular Museum hours, the focal point of the space will be a state-of-the-art recording booth featuring HARMAN audio equipment designed for visitors to individually offer their OM.
“In our interactive lab, visitors have an exclusive opportunity to contribute their voices – not only to our forthcoming exhibition that will delve into the sense of hearing, but to the millennia-old practice of chanting OM,” said Jorrit Britschgi, cocurator and Director of Exhibitions, Collections and Research at the Rubin Museum. “Inside the recording booth, you can tune in to this primordial sound, and tune in to yourself as well.”
The Rubin will also host several events and programs in the “OM Lab,” including a two day “OM-In” on February 24 and 25, with music, performances, art-making, meditation and more. After the “OM Lab” closes, the recorded voices will be joined together to form a single chant and played back to visitors within the upcoming exhibition, “The World Is Sound.”
“Sound is not a passive experience. We make, feel, and interact with it through our bodies. Connecting with this elemental sound can build awareness and empathy for each other, and to emphasize this sensory experience, we want to make sure our visitors’ voices are included as part of the new exhibition opening in June. Their harmonious OM will be your first introduction to ‘The World Is Sound’ when you step into the Rubin,” said Risha Lee, the exhibition’s co-curator.