Engine 27 was a sound-art gallery and performance space located in a decommissioned fire station in lower Manhattan. The reputation of its founder, Jack Weisberg was built from innovations in large-arena sound engineering. But he also has genuine bona fides in New York’s avant-garde — specifically, collaborations with Max Neuhaus and a long-term relationship with The Museum of Modern Art.
For the gallery’s first year, composer Joel Chadabe was invited to program a series of installations and performances. Weisberg had by then brought the space to a point of acoustic perfection, with custom-designed speakers, and optimized for electronic music.
The building blocks of electronic music, when produced by a synthesizer, originate from sound waves created by voltage-controlled oscillators. Those simple waveforms (sine waves, square waves, etc.) are then modulated and altered into the desired effect.
We created the graphic program by following a similar process. In this case, the building block was a simple typeface which was then modulated and arranged into a coherent complexity.