New Haven, CT – Sonic artist Ash Fure has unveiled “ANIMAL: A Listening Gym,” a unique immersive installation at the Schwarzman Center that took attendees on a mesmerizing journey through the realm of sound. Commissioned by the Schwarzman Center and curated by artist-in-residence Bryce Dessner, this groundbreaking experience transcended the boundaries between sound art, physical interaction, and live musical performance.
From October 21 to October 28, the public was invited to engage with Fure’s “ANIMAL” performance, which offered a one-of-a-kind opportunity to immerse oneself in an auditory wonderland. The installation was open to all, although specific live performance sessions required prior registration.
Visitors traversed a room brimming with innovative sound equipment, enabling them to actively mold and influence the sonic landscapes surrounding them. This was no ordinary exhibition; it was a workout for the senses.
James Egelhofer, a New Haven local and audience member, described the experience, saying, “It’s definitely not a normal show. There’s a lot of sound happening — you walk around and you fight with the machines to manipulate the sound.”
The installation was a collaborative effort with stock-a-studio, an architectural design practice renowned for its fusion of extended realities, illusion, material recirculation, and sustainability. Among the standout pieces was a unique sound-manipulating tool that incorporated fabric, metal balls, and a doily structure, mimicking the sound of raindrops hitting a roof, as highlighted by Egelhofer.
Another attendee, Ted Lucas, expressed his experience, feeling “like a well-oiled gear in a palace of perception. It was a psychoacoustic blur.” Lucas’s favorite piece within the installation was a wind machine.
Jiaqian Dai, ART ’25, played an instrumental role in assisting Ash Fure, creating promotional materials by hand and developing a visual system that complemented Fure’s work. According to Dai, the collaboration offered an “excellent” opportunity to venture into experimental territory, defying conventional norms of art.
Rachel Fine, Executive Director of the Schwarzman Center, praised the installation, stating, “This is a pioneering installation by an astonishing artist and educator known for breaking musical boundaries and blurring the lines among aural, visual, and physical art disciplines.”
While the listening gym was open to all, live performances garnered significant interest. Fine noted that the registration for the final show on October 28 was fully booked, with a waitlist indicating the high demand.
Ash Fure, an associate professor of music at Dartmouth College holding a doctorate in music composition from Harvard University, brought a truly extraordinary auditory experience to the Schwarzman Center. “ANIMAL: A Listening Gym” challenged traditional boundaries and delivered a sonic adventure that left attendees in awe.