Anthony Janas

Anthony Janas

Photo by Amanda Gutierrez, 2013

Playing the Room


Playing the Room is a performance piece that breaks down the notion that architecture must be a submissive member in a live musical performance. Performance spaces are constructed to enhance our traditional notions of acoustic and electronically amplified musical performances. If the space does not meet the benchmarks of a “good room” in acoustic terms, it is immediately deemed insufficient or undesirable. Playing The Room works with the concept that the artist performing in the room should interact, improvise, and work with the space as another instrument. Artists must examine and utilize a space’s unique architectonic properties to fully realize and enhance a performance which acknowledges the space that is presented within.

The HCL performance space is a unique room for live musical performances: a narrow rectangular shape that is enclosed by two glass walls and fortified with concrete pillars. These architectural characteristics create extreme reverberations that can come into conflict with in a traditional performance setting. Playing The Room proposes to take the acoustic properties of the room and integrate them into the performance, thereby turning the space into the instrument which the performer plays. Playing The Room will be broken down into two parts. The first part consists of the mechanical setup of the room where a feedback network is created using the unusual architectural and acoustic qualities of the space to create ghostly drones and guttural forms. The second part is a gestural performance element between the room and performer.

The mechanical element of the performance consists of four solenoid triggers, four contact microphones and four transducers. The solenoids (small percussive devices) will be set up around the audience. The solenoids will be mounted so that they will be able to strike the glass walls in the HCL studio. The transducers (speakers that use the properties of the surface they are attached to into a speaker) will be connected to the glass and use it as a amplification source. The four contact microphones will also be attached to the glass to pick up the sounds from the solenoids and transducers. All routing will come into a modular synthesizer. The synthesizer will be patched so that a feedback network can be made between the contact microphones, transducers and solenoids. Triggers will be generated from the synthesizer to drive the solenoids. Triggers are messages to tell the solenoids to turn on and off, causing them to tap the glass and create a mallet like sound on the glass walls.

The second element of the performance is a direct interaction between the performer and space. The performer will use normal household items such as squeegees, strings, and super balls to help resonant and amplify the glass and concrete. The purpose of this this interaction is to further exemplify the unique acoustic properties of the room. It also provides a visual element rather than a fixed electronic equipment.

Artist Statement

Artists must examine and utilize a space’s unique architectonic properties to fully realize and enhance a performance which acknowledges the space that is presented within. The purpose of this project is to take the modular synthesizer bring all the control and modulations it provides into the physical world. To have the synthesizer process sound from the acoustics of the room, and to take control signals generated by the synthesizer and have it control physical objects like solenoid percussion devices and transducers. To integrate every element available in a live situation, including the room itself, into a performance. Making the room into a electro-acoustic instrument.

Artist Bio

Anthony Janas

Photo by Megan Taylor Noe, 2016

Born in Evergreen Park in 1984, Anthony Janas. Retired Magician. Boat Captain. Noise musician. Anthony Janas utilities modular synthesizer techniques to construct soundscapes that undulates between the serene and perturbations found in the human condition. By using digitally treated found sounds and field recordings alongside analog waveforms, a sound collage is created that positions itself like a ghost lost in the past and future of electronic compositions.