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Chris Janney

Chris Janney

Christopher Janney was trained as an architect (Princeton University, B.A. Architecture - Visual Arts, 1973 - magna cum laude; M.I.T. - M.S. Environmental Art, 1978) and a jazz musician (private studies, 1963-1973, Dalcroze School, 1974-75).

janney.com/ website with sound, which is loud

sonic plaza

good explanation

Interested in public art that is interactive, creating unique experiences for individuals.

Began in architecture, and moved into sound architecture.

First was Sound Stair, where sensors on each stair trigger a note as each one is walked upon.

Reach 34th Street and 6th Ave. New York. Interactive sound art, like the Sonic Forest, but in the subway station.

Harmonic Runway

Most Recent Project:
Touch My Building-07

All Janney’s interactive works have the same principle as sound stair, sonic forest.

Janney really wants to make art accessible for everyone, and on a day-to-day basis. It transforms the urban setting into a more intimate, relaxed, and involving environment.

Spontaneity, and play are important elements to him.

He thinks about seeing music and sound. Bridging the digital and physical worlds through sound. Hear color, see sound.

He has created numerous permanent interactive sound/light installations, attempting, on the one hand, to make architecture more "spontaneous" and, on the other hand, to make music more physical.


Brian Eno a well-known English musician and composer coined the term ambient music, to distinguish his minimalist style.

Ambient 1: Music for airports. First use of the term ambient music.


Generative music. Ie. wind chimes, but created by computers and plays differently all the time in such a way that wind would play the chimes. Composer has some degree of control over it, Eno used it in one of his albums.

Composed the Microsoft sound on startup. Done using an apple computer.

It is easy to see the comparison between the two. Both creating environmental, generally soothing sound, however Janney has made it more interactive, the spontaneity and structure of sound are similar. Also, the emphasis on site-specific stuff.

Since Janney did a lot of stuff in airports, and Eno’s album is called music for airports, I thought I’d check it out, and see what there was in common.

Example of Music

Eno’s art is definitely more musical and less interactive, however he is an influence on the combination of music and sound art. Thinking about environments where music and sound are needed.