downloaded from web may 16 1995 excerpts of sound related projects 1327w


A Brief Summary of Previous ARTIST RESEARCH PROGRAM PROJECTS at the Exploratorium ------------------------------------------------------------

The Exploratorium's Artist Research Program (formerly called the Performing Arts in Residence program) has featured performers from a wide variety of disciplines. The common bond that they all share is an innovative approach to their art form.

Below is a partial listing of the artists who have already taken advantage of the program

Margaret Fisher and Robert Hughes (Fall 1987) For a performance piece called "Dante Through the Lens" Margaret Fisher and Robert Hughes investigated how to represent the seven circles of hell. They attempted to force voices through a vat of mud and recorded the freezing of a variety of materials in liquid nitrogen: roses, hotdogs, and live microphones.

David VanTieghem (Fall 1987) Percussionist Van Tieghem, investigating resonating objects, ransacked our rear storage rooms and came up wth several new "found" instruments. He demonstrated his new instruments during our lecture/demonstration series, "Speaking of Music".

Brian Eno (Spring 1988) Eno created "Latest Flames", a large scale sound and light installation. Eight looped tapes and ten pastel light pieces, placed in the cathedral-like setting of the rotunda rooms, combined to form a slowly changing and amazingly serene environment.

Terry Fox (Spring1988) Terry Fox is concerned with using the simplest of materials to produce the most startling effects. He turned the metal geodesic McBean Theater into a resonating chamber with the use of two long strands of piano wire.

Darrell DeVore (Spring 1988) DeVore is an instrument builder and teacher. He explored the use of unusual instrument making materials, made several recordings in an exhibit called the "Sound Column" (an exhibit which turned one of the giant columns that support the rotunda into a resonating chamber), and led a very successful workshop with our "School in the Exploratorium" program (A program which instructs teachers in hands-on science projects.)

Sarah Hopkins (Fall 1988) Hopkins is an extraordinary musician from Australia. She enjoyed a special relationship with one of our physicists, Paul Doherty, and together they explored the physical and sonic relationship of the corrigated whirlie. (This is a plastic instrument which produces a series of tones when whirled.) Two ways of viewing the world came together in a true meeting of the minds; Paul got an entire new curriculum out of the experience, and Sarah gained a deeper understanding of her instrument.

Pauline Oliveros (Fall 1988) Oliveros is an accordian player who uses her instument in conjunction with a synthesizer. In the past, she has had to take her hands from the keyboard in order to change tonal qualities. She needed technical help in creating a track ball system which she could operate with her feet. Our electronics lab helped her in the first stages of the research and development of her project.

Chico MacMurtrie (Winter 1989) MacMurtrie works with robots which are entirely driven by pnuematics. Dave Fleming, one of our mechanical engineers, worked with him to produce three walking trees, a tumbling man, and a rock throwing man. Three performances were given for our general public out under the rotunda dome. Nine months later, Fleming and MacMurtrie are still working together and the Exploratorium has become a laboratory for large scale robots.

Cultural Odessey (Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones) (Spring 1989) Ackamoor and Jones created a sound installation which the public was encouraged to experience. They used numerous African percussive instruments, instruments from the "School in the Exploratorium" workshops, and found objects such as hubcaps. During the weekend they used the environment as a backdrop to give four live performances which combined music, dance, and poetry.

Jim Pomeroy (Spring 1989) Jim Pomeroy, political performance artist, combined computer generated images, live video feeds, and shadow puppets to create a political commentary in progress.

Vanessa Ament (Spring 1989) Ament is one of fifty foley artists in the United States. Foley artists are sound artists who add live sound to films. During her performance, Ament set up an opportunity for audience members to try adding sounds to scenes from "Die Hard" and "Platoon".

Pamela Z (Winter 1989) Pamela Z, a vocalist who works with electronic delay systems, used the delays of the Exploratorium's exhibitry and the natural acoustic delays of the building itself to create a site specific performance. The performance played to a sell- out crowd. The residency sent the artist into the new direction of exploring the acoustic delays of other buildings.

Diana Burgoyne (Winter 1990) Diana Burgoyne, a Canadian artist who specializes in sculptural sound installations and performance, created two metal costumes complete with deconstructed circuit boards, receivers and speakers. The costumes were worn by the artist and a dancer as they moved through stands which featured small tape players. By moving in and out of the range of the receivers, they were able to explore the spacial relationships of sending and receiving sound.

Su-Chen Hung (Spring 1990) Su-Chen Hung, a performance artist originally from Taiwan, began preliminary research into a piece called "Lightsounds". During her one week residency she experimented with several different types of strings, resonators, and resins. During the weekend, audience members had an opportunity to conduct their own experiments on the long strings we had set up during the week.

Trimpin (Spring 1990) Trimpin is a Seattle-based composer/inventor from West Germany. In addition to being a main attraction in the "Exploratorium's Tinkerer's Ball", Trimpin and several members of our electronics department were successful in suspending a heavy steel object within a magnetic field. Eventually, Trimpin intends to suspend a gamelan gong within a magnetic field. Normally, a gamelan gong is somewhat damped by the materials on which it rests. This suspension will allow the pure undamped tones of the gamelan to be heard.

Victor Mario Zaballa (Fall 1990) Victor Mario Zaballa created a performance based on tradition, anthropological research, and his own dreams. "Ayolotl" explored the relationship of pre-Columbian people with the nature that surrounded them. The performance included the use of a Mayan water drum which he finished during his residency, and the traditional paper art of Mexico. This event was co-produced by the Exploratorium and Festival 2000.

Laura Kikauka and Gordon Monahan (Spring 1991) Canadian artists Kikauka and Monahan helped the Exploratorium set up a sound laboratory. In addition, Gordon created a prototype of an indoor aoelian harp and Laura created a long- range instrument which can be used to control electrical devices via radio waves. The lab gave our exhibit developers an opportunity to have a hands-on, perceptual approach to their exhibit design. In addition, the lab was open to the public during the "Tinkerer's Weekend".

Jordan Simmons (Fall/Spring 91-92) Jordan Simmon, musician and director of the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, was here on a nine month stay exploring the museum in terms of perception and culture. His culminating performance/demonstration, "Tools of the Trade" asked audiences the questions: Can you align your perceptions to recognize, respect, and utilize the patterns of another culture's performing art form? What is involved in that process? What physical and mental awareness do you want to cultivate in order to promote these capacities? This performance involved audience participation with artists from Africa, Japan, and the United States.

Zaccho Dance Theater (Fall 1992). As part of the Exploratorium's "Finding Your Way: A Festival of Human Navigation", Zaccho Dance Theater (Joanna Haigood) was commissioned to create an original dance piece called "Open Systems". This dance piece described their experiences while they navigated the rafters of the Exploratorium's cavernous building. Original music was by Lauren Weinger.

Paul Panhuysen (Spring 1993) Paul Panhuysen, a Dutch artist and director of Het Apollohuis, an alternative arts institution, created a large installation which utilized long strings and fifty-two canaries. This interspecies installation combined an aviary and sound installations, and investigated the possibilities of mutual musical composition between people and canaries.

------------------------------------------------------------ The Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco CA 94123

from Exploratorium Exhibit Imagery * [*IMAGE] Sand on bowed metal plates (properly called" Chaldni Plates") jiggles to nodal positions as the plate vibrates. * [*IMAGE] Sound activates hundreds of small lamps on the Enchanted Tree.