The MA students of the Department of New Media of the Estonian Academy of Arts designed a permanent site-specific spatial sound and light installation for the renovated Tartu Arch Bridge. The keywords of the creative concept were “water” and “reflections”. Just as the bridge connects the two riverbanks, also the sound design is looking for a dialogue with the environment and the relevant sounds in the surroundings. The chime from the Town Hall bell-tower reaches the bridge and reflects back towards the city in a transformed manner. Just like water altering the reflections of the environment. The dialogue between the chime and the sound effects of the bridge connect the urban space into an integrated whole thus elongating also the presence of the bridge and the river.
I am glad that the sound and light installation of the renovated bridge has made both the bridge and River Emajõgi more discernible in the cityscape. The attractive display brings increasingly more people to walk by the river. The effect is particularly forceful at dusk with the music creating a special aura above the river and the play of light reflecting from the water. The emotion is both solemn and mysterious.
I am particularly glad that the Ülejõe district across the bridge no longer feels so distant and hopefully now also the visitors of Tartu find their way to exploring the other side of River Emajõgi.
Kaari Siemer, resident in Tartu
Every day synchronised with the chime from the town hall, works by five sound artists are heard from the bridge developing further from the dialogue with the chime. The sound installation is not an element supporting the chime but an autonomous work considering the activities in the environment and attempting to merge the urban space with the sound imagery. The light installation of the bridge supports the sounds thus enhancing the experience.
The biggest challenge for us was to reach a compromise between creative expression and the expectations set for the public space.