Sound installations can engage audiences in sites and spaces not generally associated with viewing or listening to art. Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes is definitely an installation that has gone to several interesting locations—from deserts to beaches, from sculpture parks to Plymouth State University to a warehouse—but it has always remained outdoors. One can experience the sound via field recordings or the videos of Kevin Belli, but the outcome is always different based on the sounds of both the environment and the recording. Even if viewed and listened to in person, there is always an element of randomness. However, this unpredictability is what gives the resulting soundscape its shape.

Sound installations as a medium include a vast array of elements, and the types of people working in the field come from diverse areas of experience but typically include composers, musicians, sculptors and engineers. Colorusso came to the medium with a background as a musician; in a way that is extremely helpful in installation art from the viewpoint of spectacle and commerce. But what is important in mass media to complete a project is not the case with Sun Boxes. In fact, his work seems to offer infinite possible combinations of experiences. So when is the work completed? Since it is open to various possibilities, it is persistently evolving.

The theme of Sun Boxes is universal—it’s about the power of nature, which is sometimes a forgotten force in a technology-filled world. The speaker boxes are powered by solar panels, but if not enough sun is offered, the loops do not exist. In both literal and metaphorical ways, this installation requires interaction with nature for its power. The visual component of being surrounded by nature can also heighten the audience’s experience. Whether one decides to walk through the space or just to sit and listen are but two ways to create an outcome. Future plans for Sun Boxes include a documentary and a multi-screen presentation in various environments: in Colorusso’s own words, “an installation of the installation.”

I.A. Freeman

Here’s a video of Craig and the boxes in 2010:

He’s just released a colored vinyl single featuring two field recordings of the Sun Boxes in action, too.

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