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An outdoor sound installation that uses hyper-directional speakers to engage the public in a new relationship with sound and time.

The Latest Update


Posted on May 18, 2016 by Lee Weisert

The SOUNDIAL project is nearly complete and will be premiered at the Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe on June 10-11, 2016 (https://currentsnewmedia.org).

In the meantime, please enjoy this preliminary documentation video.


SOUNDIAL is the latest brainchild of sound installation team Jonathon Kirk and Lee Weisert (aka PAML; the Portable Acoustic Modification Laboratory). The installation aims to engage the public community with an arresting new manifestation of a public timepiece. Using ultrasonic, hyper-directional speakers, three rotating “beams” of newly-composed electronic music are transmitted in an outdoor public space. Due to the unique sound-transmitting mechanism of the ultrasonic speakers, these narrowly focused sound-beams are only audible to people directly in the path of the speaker.

Using Arduino-controlled stepper motors, the speakers are made to rotate 360 degrees at varying speeds, with speakers rotating every minute, hour, and 12 hours, respectively. Three separate electroacoustic soundscape compositions are projected, each with a linear arc that repeats in sync with the rotation of its designated speaker. The music is subtly crafted to be captivating to the ear, while also evoking an unfamiliar sonic dimension; creating a space just outside the realm of ordinary sonic possibility, which individuals in the community may or may not be attuned to depending on their state of mind.

Depending on the time of day and their relative position to the installation site, casual passersby will experience a fleeting and distinctly personal sonic immersion as the clock “passes through them.” By rendering our public experience of time as an invisible, temporary, and unexpected musical experience—rather than one that is visible, static, and perennially accessible—it is hoped that the installation will foster a new and more elusive relationship to both sound and time.

The installation premiere will take place during the first week of October, 2015, and will be located in a large open area bordering the bustling Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

PAML has previously presented sound installations that have projected sounds from beneath the surface of a pond (The Argus Project), amplified the dense and claustrophobic soundscape of melting ice (Cryoacoustic Orb), and used real-time fluid dynamics as a generative process for electronic music (Granular Wall). They have presented their installation work at many festivals, galleries, and venues around the country, and recently presented at the 2014 TEDx Conference at UNC Chapel Hill. More information can be found on their website: www.portableacoustic.com

Project Media

Cryoacoustic Orb
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“Cryoacoustic Orb” is a sound installation involving multiple illuminated polycarbonate orbs filled with slowly melting ice. Hydrophones frozen inside the ice amplify the sounds of the melting process, which are electronically processed and spatialized throughout the darkened gallery space. The result is a unique ambient soundscape that evolves over the course of several hours.

Weisert/Kirk at TEDxUNC 2014
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Lee Weisert and Jonathon Kirk discuss their sound installation projects at TEDxUNC 2014.

i’ve got a guy running
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Features: Jonathon Kirk

Through digital edge detection, this video installation explores the contention that the nature of war is becoming a purely visual perception. Since the first Gulf War images appeared in the international media, it has become extremely difficult to make a distinction between “real” war images and computer-generated ones. Simulation, media distortion, simultaneity and the emergency of high-speed, ephemeral technologies have permanently changed the experience of the horrors of war (except, of course, for those who are its direct victims).

Start and End Dates



Chapel Hill, North Carolina

1 update
Last update on May 18, 2016

Project Created By

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Lee Weisert is a composer of instrumental and electronic music whose  compositional interests include physical (re)modeling, recursive structures, extended techniques, and microsound. His recent music has incorporated increasingly disparate elements such as orchestral instruments, found sounds, field recordings, digital synthesis, and analog circuitry, in an attempt to find, "through experimentation, tinkering, and unconventional approaches, a…

In Collaboration With

Chicago, Illinois


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