About the Project:

The City of Lancaster’s Public Art Program commissioned Stuart Hyatt to create a “sound map” of Lancaster that goes beyond a traditional map to include stories and moments that reveal a deeper sense of place. He began by meeting with community members to learn about Lancaster. During each visit, his mapping emerged as he walked through our city and county with an audio field recorder, microphone, and camera. The resulting sounds and images were placed in this simple interactive web-based sound map and gallery, The Lancaster Sound Map (LSM).

Once this database of moments was collected and plotted on the map, Hyatt collaborated with FIELD WORKS—a music collective that explores place through recorded sound—to compose an album of original music. The album, Born in the Ear, unravels in an epic walk to unearth the diverse and layered stories of our city and county, weaving them into nine original music compositions. It will be released as a vinyl record, packaged with collaborative writings by Erik Anderson, a local writer, and artwork by local illustrator Courtland Ellis. 

The LSM is intended to be a growing platform of free-use content, from which many creative projects may arise. Born in the Ear is one example of what can come from the LSM. 

About the Artist:

Stuart Hyatt is a Grammy-nominated artist and musician who creates interdisciplinary media projects in the public realm. His work facilitates collaboration with people and places often overlooked by conventional contemporary art practice. Projects follow rigorous conceptual frameworks yet present themselves through simple pop and folk aesthetics. Hyatt holds advanced degrees in both architecture and sculpture but is an untrained musician. This varied background allows him to explore the intersections of space and sound from the perspective of both an expert and a novice. He is the founder of TEAM Records, an imprint for his collaborative music recordings and performances. He creates site-based work with M12, a collective known for creative projects that explore the aesthetics of rural cultures and landscapes. Hyatt also works independently via commission as Stuart Hyatt Studio, Inc. He lives in Indianapolis with his family.

Planning Committee: 

Amy Ruffo, Arielle Gascot, Gloria Mast, Heidi Leitzke, Khem Subedi, Linda Hasunuma, Melody Keim, Ramon Escudero, and Tracy Beyl.

When undertaking the search for an artist the planning committee followed a framework called “The New Rules of Public Art”

  1. It doesn’t have to look like public art
  2. It’s not forever
  3. Create space for the unplanned
  4. Don’t make it for a community. Create a Community. 
  5. Withdraw from the cultural arms race
  6. Demand more than fireworks
  7. Don’t embellish, interrupt
  8. Share ownership freely, but authorship wisely
  9. Welcome outsiders
  10. Don’t wast time on definitions
  11. Suspend your disbelief
  12. Get Lost

Gratitude to our project donors for the financial, in-kind, and volunteer support: Lancaster County Community Foundation, The H&H Group, Wacker Brewing Company, The Sound Map Planning Committee, Our Identities Collaborative, and the Public Art Advisory Board.

The performance was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and an anonymous donor.