barbara claussen | art

Quiet at the Library


A controversy in Stillwater, Minnesota arose when the city council suspended the noise ordinance to accommodate late night reveling on the new library terrace. Neighbors complained about too much noise from the library and the city council reversed its decision, but the conflict over late night noise at the library persisted. For decades the library had been quiet and now boisterous celebrations blared across the neighborhood annoying long time property owners, renters and the operators of the bed and breakfast next door.

On July 28, 2017 I presented Quiet at the Library on the Stillwater Library Terrace. I designed and constructed portable noise barriers that represented the mitigation of noise. These light-weight barriers utilized the beauty of cymatic sound patterns. Participants at the event wore these pseudo-sound proof shields as they watched a silent performance on the terrace. Following a forum about the impact of sound and how it affects us in an urban environment, participants discussed the current noise issues and generated creative solutions to the problem.