Meara O'Reilly is a sound artist and educator, in residence at the Exploratorium. Current ongoing projects include a curated collection of auditory illusions as found in indigenous folk music traditions, as well as adapting more scientifically established auditory illusions to be presented on homemade acoustic instruments. Instruments under construction include a midi-controlled 18th century pipe organ and a hand-cut glass bell gamelan.
She recently contributed to the Song Reader issue of Pop-Up Magazine and completed her first permanent exhibit at the Exploratorium, entitled Chladni Singing. Her collaboration with design firm Snibbe Interactive on sound-based 'cymatic' concert visuals for Björk's Biophilia album is currently on world tour.
Hollow from Meara O'reilly.
A collaboration with Snibbe Interactive and Björk on concert visuals for the Biophilia tour. Cymatic patterns were synced to the basslines of songs and played as introductions. Video was designed to be projected on the floor so as to give the appearance that Björk stands on a large cymatic device. In some cases, the projections occurred on backdrop screens.
Selected past performances include Davies Symphony Hall, SFMOMA, the Berkeley Art Museum, Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in New York, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, opening for artists such as Beck, Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson, Lucky Dragons, Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, Michael Hurley, Bill Callahan, Matmos, and Dinosaur Jr. She toured internationally as a solo musician and in the bands Feathers and Brightblack Morning Light.
Cosmogony from meara o'reilly on Vimeo.
In addition to performing and designing installations, Meara has co-curated content and taught at San Francisco children's camp 'A Curious Summer', and written for Make Magazine, Boingboing, and the SFMoma's Open Space Blog.
Moon from meara o'reilly on Vimeo.
Meara was a member of the Trout Gulch land project where she built a tiny house with her partner. She currently lives in San Francisco.
Chladni Singing – Exhibit Prototype from Encyclopedia Pictura on Vimeo.
Chladni patterns were discovered by Robert Hook and Ernst Chladni in the 18th and 19th centuries. They found that when they bowed a piece of glass covered in flour, (using an ordinary violin bow), the powder arranged itself in resonant patterns according to places of stillness and vibration. Today, Chladni plates are often electronically driven by tone generators and used in scientific demonstrations. With carefully sung notes and a transducer driving the plate, I'm able to explore the same resonances. Songs are then written based on sequences of patterns and their associated frequencies. An adaptation of this project is being developed as a permanent exhibit for the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA. It will debut in 2013. You can follow the progress of this project here.
A prototype being developed with the Exploratorium's Central Gallery.
Chladni Singing 2009 from Meara O'reilly. Film by Lisa Foti-Straus.
This film was on display at the San Francisco Exploratorium from March 27th-April 15th, 2010 as part of a show about unusual sound explorations and instruments in the Learning Studio Gallery
New Chladni Music (accompanied by a Glass Bottle Orchestra) on July 9th, 2010 at the Berkeley Art Museum during an event created by David Wilson.