Yes, that sound you hear coming from the Paley Center this week actually is bagpipes.
As part of this week's Advertising Week in New York, Ogilvy & Mather is hosting an interactive video and sound installation in celebration of the agency's 60th anniversary: "David Ogilvy: Original Mad Man," in the Steven Spielberg gallery across from the center's entrance, through Friday.
A collaboration between Antonio Navas, Worldwide Creative Director at Ogilvy, his creative partner Chris Bradley and audiovisual artist R. Luke DuBois, the installation features a life-size David Ogilvy video against a half-circle screen with red, white and black images and sound that react to the audience's movement.
Infrared sensors detect people entering the dark exhibition space and a wide-angle camera measures their movement in the room. With more motion, the images on screen jump frenetically and the Scottish-inspired sound collage gets louder and intensifies in pitch, all while a video of the agency's founder stands in the corner. David Ogilvy delivers parts of an address he sent to his Milan office on 60 MM film congratulating them on winning new business in the early 1960s. In a completely still room, viewers can hear his words clearly. (Ogilvy was prone to recording himself on video and clips from his extensive catalog of addresses were used in the BBC documentary on the ad legend, which was screened on Monday.)
Bradley says the interactive element of the exhibit recognizes the importance of engagement in advertising. DuBois, a sound and video artist, constructed the algorithm that manipulates myriad text, images and sounds in accordance to viewers' movement, producing music and images that both work together and change randomly.
Navas and Bradley call the installation the David Ogilvy Opera: the music bed is based on the speech Ogilvy is delivering fed through a Vocoter synthesizer.
"By itself, it sounds like a drone, almost like a bag pipe, so it creates a sonic sort of bass line," Bradley says. "The drum beats, the bag pipes and all the other stuff build on top of it."
The exhibit will be up through Advertising Week from Monday, September 22 through Friday, September 26 at The Paley Center for Media at 25 West 52nd Street in New York City.