Sphere Packing (2014) by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer features five 3D-printed orbs suspended from the ceiling. Earbuds are inserted in the spheres, which softly play a single composer’s music. Each orb represents one composer, and the size of each sphere correlates to how prolific the composer was. Composers displayed include Hildegard Von Bingen, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, and John Cage. When viewers pass by Sphere Packing, it is nearly impossible to differentiate the various composers. However, participants are encouraged to put their heads close to each separate orb where they can start to hear individual compositions. Lozano-Hemmer’s piece subverts the experience of using headphones; usually, headphones only allow the individual wearing them to hear music, but here, multiple people can listen at the same time.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Sphere Packing, 2014, 3D-printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Amy Shirer ’18