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Things Over Time: Tremont Tunnels

Sonic Portrait: Tremont Tunnels is the first part of the series under the overarching project title, Things/Time (pronounced Things Over Time) that was exhibited in Boston’s Back Bay From August 1st – 15th 2014.

For Southard’s final thesis project at Berklee College of Music as well as the culmination of her residency at Diablo Glass School she transformed a simple mobile storage unit or “POD” into an immersive sound chamber of light and glass.

Built in 1897, the tunnels under Tremont St in Boston are the first subway system ever built in the United States. The sounds in Things/Time are the first sonic documentation of this historic and abandoned location in Boston. The sonic portrait consists of 360-degree ambiances, environment interaction sounds, impulse responses, and instruments played within the space. The piece is generated using a series of algorithms triggered by the real-time arrival and departure of the Boylston subway station, under which the forgotten tunnels lie. Over the course of the next 14 days of exhibition the instruments within the piece and the sounds imposed upon the space were slowly stretched over time. Creating a dynamic and changing environment for its visitors, as time takes its toll the sonic space grows more obscure much like the memory of the tunnels themselves.

Building from the Broken

A changing diagonal landscape built from what normally would be considered mistake: overblown glass spheres. The shards on the assembled wall are created from these broken spheres, signifying change and deterioration through a medium that is both fragile and timeless. By coloring, breaking, and burning the glass, the aesthetic of the Tremont Tunnels is captured and presented for those who may never have the chance to visit such a rare location.

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