Image of Janney's <i>Soundstair</i> Janney's Soundstair

Christopher Janney created Soundstair as his master’s thesis project when he was a graduate student at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. It is composed of photoelectric sensors wired to a com- puter, sound sampler, amplifier, and speakers. As people traverse the stairs, they activate a series of melodic and environmental sounds. After graduation, Janney built Soundstair on Tour, creating temporary installations throughout the United States and Europe from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) in Rome. Janney received a patent for the work in 1985. Since then, he has developed a series of permanent “Urban Musical Instruments” for public spaces of which Soundstair was the first. For the MIT 150 Exhibition, Janney generously lent an installation that delighted visitors as they climbed the stairs to the museum’s second-floor galleries.

Soundstair, Sound Installation
Christopher Janney
1978, 2011
Loan from PhenomenArts, Inc

photo: courtesy of Christopher Janney

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