Culture

In the Dolby Gallery: The Holladay Brothers’ “Prime1”

Fencing masks, the human face, and an original sound design come together in the latest installation to be featured in the Dolby® Gallery.

Created by brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay, Prime explores the concept of memory and the process by which a memory is encoded, stored, consolidated, and recalled. Prime1 is the first of four installations by the Holladay brothers that will be displayed in the Dolby Gallery this year.

The musical and visual elements of Prime1 reflect how the human brain remembers, or misremembers, information. The Holladay brothers combined their own musical compositions with visuals they designed in collaboration with FCTN Creative and others to explore the intersection of art and technology. The auditory and visual components of Prime1 will reoccur throughout the subsequent works in the Prime series.

The title of the series comes from a memory effect that psychologists refer to as priming, in which exposure to one stimulus influences response to a later stimulus. For example, a person who sees the word yellow will be slightly faster at recognizing the word banana.

With more than 700 Dolby employees and their invited guests moving through the lobby on a daily basis, the artists perceived an interesting opportunity for a work that changes depending on when it’s being viewed. By weaving together similar visual and auditory motifs through all four parts of Prime, the artists hope visitors may subconsciously anticipate, for instance, the next phrase in a now-familiar melody, or recognize specific color arrangements.

Prime isn’t the Holladay brothers’ first multichannel, multisensory work. In recent years, the Holladay brothers have developed a reputation for their pioneering work in location-aware compositions—music created and mapped to a particular space—including a recent example in Dolby’s new neighborhood.

With this latest installation, the Holladay brothers have brought their aesthetic indoors and into the mind of each individual viewer. The piece uses artistry and technology in equal parts, relying on the organic sound of the human voice positioned precisely in space using our most advanced sound format to date, Dolby Atmos®, to play with the audience’s perception of sound, picture, and memory. In that way, Prime is an introduction to, and a demonstration of, the kind of work that we do at Dolby.