Spatial Sound Installations for Panoramic Paintings (2009/2019)

Shengjing Panorama in Los Angeles, USA (since 2019)
For the Shengjing Panorama, a collaboration of the Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles with the painters Li Wu, Yan Yang and Zhou Fuxian from the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang China, Moritz Fehr created an immersive surround sound composition. Depicting the city of Shenyang during the time of the industrialization in a timespan between 1910-30, the 360-degree panoramic painting and the sound composition merge into a fully spatial experience.

The composition combines contemporary field recordings – taken in two different locations, the cities of Shenyang and Los Angeles – into a third, virtual place: the Shengjing Panorama. With the artist group of the Velaslavasay Panorama, Moritz Fehr travelled to both locations for recording and creating sound for the composition. Also part of the composition are recordings of a musical improvisation on the Sheng, Guzheng and percussion by Virtuose Wu Wei, as well as several archival sources. Fehr composed these elements to form a three-dimensional hybrid of musical and environmental sound space. The composition is playing back on a specially designed arrangement of speakers within the panoramic presentation.

The Shengjing Panorama is open weekly:
Velaslavasay Panorama, 1122 West 24th St, Los Angeles
More Information

Jerusalem Panorama in Altötting, Germany (since 2009)
In cooperation with the Jerusalem Panorama in Altötting, Moritz Fehr has created a spatial sound installation that was opened to the public in August of 2009. The installation has been specially made for the historic panoramia space and is set up permanently.

The monumental cyclorama Jerusalem Panorama was painted in 1903 by Gebhard Fugel. It is Germany’s sole historic large-scale Panorama-painting (approximately 95 x 12 meters), covering the walls of a space of about 30 meters in diameter.

The combination of a panorama painting with sound seems to be as obvious as much as audible elements are capable of supporting the illusionist effect established by the panoramic contraption. However, in the past, sound and noise have mostly been employed, or experimented within Panorama-related forms such as the Diorama and the Moving Panorama. The idea of this work is to use sound as an independent element and by this exceed the limits of its function as a mere supplementary background noise. It is not intended to illustrate the given visual impression of the Panorama, but to broaden the perception of the illusionistic medium through spatial sound and therefore enhance the immersive experience.

The composition is playing in a cycle of 30 minutes through an array of 16 speakers. The different layers of shifting and moving sounds create an artificial soundscape that accentuates the distinct layers of the panoramic space and highlights different sections of the painting.

The project was made possible through generous funding by: Streicher & Streicher Foundation, Bavarian Ministry for Science, Research and Art, Kunstfonds Bayern, City of Altötting, Sparkasse Altötting-Mühldorf, Bezirk Oberbayern Kulturfonds Landkreis Altötting.