Christopher Preissing — composer and sound artist

cpHeadshotComposer, improviser, sound artist, and collaborator, Christopher Preissing creates music and sound for live performance, fixed media, and interactive installation. Focusing on the space between intentional and unintentional, between composition and improvisation, he investigates non-hierarchical relationships among materials and collaborators. He has collaborated with choreographers (Khecari, Kristina Isabelle Dance Company), filmmakers (Charlie Simokaitis, Octane Rich Media), theatre and opera companies (The Mammels, Opera Cabal, Chicago Robotic Theater), and visual artists (Mario Gonzalez, Jr., Leslie Kerby). He has been Artist-in-Residence and Fellow at Beloit College, Indiana University, Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Djerrassi, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, and has received awards from Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago, ICMC 60×60, and American Composers Forum. Current projects include f(H2T), an immersive, co-created opera (NON:op, April, 2014), and Thunder, Perfect Mind, a sound-movement opera for soprano, percussion, chorus and dance company.

Chris wrote the following notes about the soundscape he has created for the installation:

“The phenomenon of Joan of Arc is a universal experience, though one that we each experience individually. To me, it is ultimately about potential, the potential that we each have within us for greatness. It is a greatness that is no merely about our own self interest, but about the greater for society. If we each live up to our potential, trust ourselves and our inner voices, we will create a greater good for all. It is our inner voice that is calling us that provides the inner strength we need to pursue our goals. The out voices, the world if you will, is transitory and full of noise that can sway us from our path. For it is true knowledge and strength that comes from within, not from being told what to do, but in trusting and having the courage to recognize and embrace. That knowledge, the knowing, comes from trusting our inner voice and having the courage to act upon it, being steadfast in our journey, not being swayed by transitory noise.

For “I Was Born for This” I have created two sets of sounds distributed by a total of 13 speakers. The first set of sounds, projected out of the installation, represent the sounds of the outside world, the noise, the hum and buzz of our day-to-day lives. The distractions that often keep us from our path, our true inner journey. The second set of sounds, projected inside the installation, consists of voices, whispering and speaking words of encouragement.

The number of speakers and sounds within and without the installation creates a rustling, a soft cacophony, a susurrant murmuring effect, reinforcing the visual elements of the installation. The sounds themselves reflect, on the one hand, the noise of our daily lives and the voices that would distract us, and on the other, the sound of our inner voices, that if we trust and follow, lead each of us to our fullest potential.”

A graph of the sound installation