Lukas Nel, Contributing Photographer

Sonic artist Ash Fure brought their work, “ANIMAL: A Listening Gym,” to the Schwarzman Center, capturing audience members in an underworld of sound. 

The installation, commissioned by the Schwarzman Center and curated by artist-in-residence Bryce Dessner, offered an immersive experience that blurred the boundaries between sound art, physical engagement and live musical performance. From Oct. 21 to Oct. 28, visitors had the opportunity to “work out” in the listening gym and immerse themselves in the visceral sounds of Fure’s ANIMAL performance. The installation was open to the public, with specific live performance times requiring prior registration.

Participants navigated through a room filled with innovative sound equipment, finding themselves able to shape and influence the soundscapes around them. The visitors were not just working out their muscles. They were working out their visual and auditory senses, too.

“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,” said James Egelhofer, an audience member and New Haven local.

The show was built in collaboration with stock-a-studio, an architectural design practice that represents the intersection of extended realities, illusion, material recirculation and sustainability.

Egelhofer said his favorite piece was created using a unique sound-manipulating tool incorporating fabric, metal balls and a doily structure that mimicked raindrops hitting a roof. 

Ted Lucas, another audience member said that he had felt “like a well-oiled gear in a palace of perception. It was a psychoacoustic blur.” Lucas told the News that his favorite piece in the installation was a wind machine.

Jiaqian Dai ART ’25 assisted Ash Fure with their work, making promotional material by hand and helping develop a visual system that complemented Ash Fure’s work. Dai said that the collaboration was an “excellent” opportunity to do something experimental that broke the traditional rules of what constitutes art.

“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,” Rachel Fine, executive director of the Schwarzman Center, told the News.  

While the listening gym was open to all, the live performances attracted a great deal of interest, according to Fine. Registration for the final show on Oct. 28 was filled and even had a waitlist. 

Fure is an associate professor of music at Dartmouth College and holds a doctorate in music composition from Harvard University.

Lukas Nel covers Art Student Life for the Arts Desk. Originally from Stellenbosch in the Republic of South Africa, he is a second semester junior in Davenport College studying EECS and Mathematics, who is passionate about art in all its forms.