Sphere Packing: Bach

"Sphere Packing: Bach" is a 3m diameter sphere made out of aluminium and wood which supports an array of 1,128 loudspeakers each of which plays a different composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. The piece is designed to concentrate Bach’s entire musical production in a dense multi-channel structure that visitors can enter.

At any given point, all compositions play-back simultaneously creating a polyvocal and complex sound environment focused in the centre of the sphere; from time to time the speakers are gradually silenced in waves to highlight one speaker playing a single composition.

All speakers have a small amber LED light which helps visitors get visual feedback on which speakers are operating. The piece includes a backstage where 11 km of cables connect to a bespoke patchbay controlled by custom software that activates the speakers in sequences of geometrical eclipses.

The piece is the culmination of the "Sphere Packing" series of sound sculptures that Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has been making since 2013. The fact that Bach was the most prolific of the 17 composers in the series, called for a room-like immersive environment instead of a sculpture. As a master of counterpoint, layering Bach’s compositions, yields a particularly interesting experiment in musical turbulence.

General info

Spanish name:
Empaquetamiento de Esferas: Bach
Year of creation:
Aluminium and wood, 1,128 custom-made speakers, circuits, computer, display, patchbays,11 km of cables
3,000W on 110 OR 240V
Room conditions:
Minimum room size: 7.5 x 6 meters. Lighting: needs a dark room. Sound: requires a silent environment. Produces between 30db to 80db of sound.
Sphere has a 3 m diameter
600 kilograms
3 Editions, 1 AP
Borusan Contemporary, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


  • Programming: Stephan Schulz
  • Hardware: Stephan Schulz
  • Project Manager: Rebecca Murdock
  • Industrial Design: Generique Design
  • Original modelling: Kitae Kim
  • Production Assistance: Pierre Fournier, Frederic Monast, Karine Charbonneau, Guillaume Tremblay, Leo Maraviglia, Jesse Morrisson, Orion Szydel, Sebastien Dallaire, Jakob Lorenz, Pascale Kutowski, Daniel Cortina, Pipo Pierre Louis, Marc Lavallée, Tegan Scott, Steve Sacks, Kathleen Forde, Erika del Vecchio, Miguel Legault
  • Commissioned by: Borusan Contemporary Istanbul