If you're feeling overwhelmed by the noise in your life, this art exhibit could be your moment of zen

Sideshow
Chords #1

Rubén D´hers’s "chords tunnel #1" (2014) at the Netwerk / Center for Contemporary Art in Belgium.

I’ve spent the last seven Junes in New York City — and more than the heat and humidity, it’s the din of summer that I find suffocating. Constant sirens. Groaning AC units. Even the shadiest corners of the park throb with people and traffic (at its edges and overhead).

I wish I could take a walk through Rubén D´Hers’s “chords tunnel #1.” It doesn’t look like a cool, vast, grassy field — but, to me, it sure sounds like one.

D'Hers recently mounted 40 guitars to the walls of the Netwerk Center for Contemporary Art in Aals, Belgium. The instruments are played by tiny fans, their plastic blades zipping over the strings. The effect is a cross between a gentle breeze and colony of sleepy cicadas:

He describes the process of carefully "tuning" the work as a kind of improvisation, which involves computer programming, musical composition and "a lot of listening."

"I love to accumulate chords in a way that you sense a form in the sound, but you cannot describe in detail what it is — similar to seeing something behind a steamed glass," he says. As you move from guitar to guitar, "the cloud of chords" shifts. And over time, as the instruments naturally fall out of tune, the sound continues to change.

D'Hers used these same techniques to create “playa” (beach, 2012), in which 14 guitars are played by spinning fabric:

If you find yourself in Lisbon next month, you can visit "playa" at a music festival organized by Casa Independente, July 10-26. And if you're stuck here at home, D’Hers’s music compositions are similarly transportative — while some are more industrial than the pastoral soundscapes of the installations, all are gentle and balanced enough to leave you room to breathe deeply.