Mannheim Wasserturm in Germany (Courtesy of Paulo C. Chagas)
February 20, 2020

Connecting the world through images and sound

UCR professor’s research weaves together an immersive visual and auditory presentation of Riverside, Brazil, India, Russia, and Germany

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martínez
February 20, 2020

Within a three-year span, Paulo C. Chagas traveled to four countries, collecting sounds and images along the way.

The videos, photos, and sounds were captured using a 360-degree camera and ambisonics microphone as he walked the citrus fields here in Riverside, and the streets of Brazil, India, Russia, and Germany. This exploration of geographic and cultural contexts is now a visual and auditory exhibit titled “Sound Imaginations,” which opens Feb. 29 at UC Riverside’s Culver Center of the Arts in downtown Riverside.

“The idea is to show that sound is synesthetic,” said Chagas, a professor of composition in UCR’s Department of Music. “I want to make a connection as humans, to be inspired by listening cultures. When you look at different aspects of life, sound and vision are very important components. With this project, I want to emphasize both the ambiguity and the plurality of life.”

UCR professor Paulo C. Chagas in front of a 360 camera lens. (Courtesy Paulo C. Chagas)

Chagas captured a variety of stunning sights and experiences, including a religious procession in India; a warm, sunny day at a Brazilian park; as well as colorful Russian architecture. The images were then layered with sounds of machines, people talking, birds chirping — much like musical instruments in an orchestra. 

The project was funded by UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society, and Chagas will incorporate his work into a spring quarter course called “sound studies and sound art.”

Chagas said he used the relationship between sound and images to gain insight into how different cultures have used different approaches to the act of listening, how individuals listen in different ways, and how people listen to surrounding machines, living beings, spaces, and cultures. 

Chagas’ exhibit includes nine screens and eight speakers that will provide an immersive multivisual and multisound channel projection. 

“Sound Imaginations” will open from Feb. 29-March 8. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 29, 6-9 p.m. and an artist talk is set for Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m.

For hours of operation and admission, visit UCR Culver Center of the Arts.

The 360 camera lens captured a parade in Moscow. (Courtesy Paulo C. Chagas)

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