a guide to the ruins: SoundArt
Ed Osborn: When all was said and done we included the work of 228 participants in 17 exhibitions, 10 panels, and 55 performances and other events. These occurred at 33 sites throughout the Bay Area and involved 32 presenting organizations. It was really huge. The budget for the event was 4000 dollars. A great win for cooperation.
Kristine Ambrosia: Beginning with a background of slow ritual chanting, tympani and temple gong, Kristine reclined upon the stage directly underneath an 12' high wooden frame and winch. Her feet were linked to the hoist and she was slowly raised in an inverted position to the full height of the frame. As she was raised her assistant slowly spun her somewhat like a dervish dancer. Her voice, played through a bank of harmonizers and delays mirrored the deepening state of trance.
Frank Moore's "the outrageous beauty revue": This raw video documents the tacky, musical, over-the-edge comedy revue that Frank created, directed and performed in. The show ran on a weekly basis for three and one half years at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. Frank performed along with the thirty people who made up his theatre group "The Theatre of Human Melting."
Ed Osborn's Parabola: a model train set--specifically a train car equipped with a speaker that broadcasts a variety of sounds as it circles around a track. This single track comprises a closed loop, with one portion dividing into an elaborate matrix of many tracks which eventually feed back onto the single track. Each variation in the trajectory has its own sound associated with it, referring to authority (whistles, bells and sirens), repetition (mechanical activity of all sorts), forces of nature and social context.
Ed Tannenbaum's Recollections presents a room-sized space facing a large rear-projection video screen. Visitors moving across this area see a multitude of concentric or trailing silhouettes, oscillating contours, and reverberant figures of their own bodies, brilliantly cast upon the screen. The temptation to paint with one's own body movement is irresistible and instantly gratifying. Recollections is often presented in live public performance with dancer/clown Pons Mar, and in collaboration with electronic composer Maggi Payne.
Stephen Wilson's Is Anyone There? The computer automatically calls selected pay phones in the city 24 hours a day and uses intelligent programming and digitized speech to engage those who answer in conversations about their lives and their surroundings. Viewers using voice recognition can interactively devise multiple strategies to navigate a record of conversations and related digital video.
Stevan Key, Andrew Enoch and Ramon Sender Barayon, are collaborating in an eight-week city event/composition titled "Grey-Eyed Athena Speaks To Odysseus In A Dream," also known as "The Siren Project Part II." *The notion of the city as an entity/artifact that has been situated in a place that was already inhabited (i.e. by nature spirits, devas or 'bongas') and has as yet not been brought into a connection with or acknowledgement of the previous inhabitants. *The use of the Civil Defense sirens as a large-scale sonic periodic gesture that can punctuate for the city and the people living within it (and, we would hope, for the bongas) our tiny process of attempted connection/awareness.
Chico MacMurtrie recently premiered his robot opera Trigram, which features a cast of 15 musicians and 35 machines. Perhaps Trigram's most intriguing aspect is how flesh-and-blood performers interact with MacMurtrie's scrap-metal skeletons. Not only are his rust-eaten bodies musical instruments that play themselves, but at times their erotic and eroding shells move in concert with live performers (whose radio-controlled body suits trigger the mechanical tribe to mirror their ritualistic motions).
Matt Heckert: "Mechanical Sound Orchestra." The cable disks are four ft diameter aluminum disks, 3/16ths of an inch thick with a 24.5 inch hole in the center-so it looks like a large washer. In the University Art Museum show there were two of these devices, with 55ft cables going through the holes. One end was anchored to the wall and the other end was attached to a rotating arm or crankshaft, about 24 inches long that swung the wire in a circle, getting the disk into motion. This gadget emits a very fine scream.
S.R.L: "Machine Sex" (Feb. 25, 1979, Chevron Station, Columbus/Green). Pigeons play the part of martyrs in a gas station to a musical accompaniment based on Camus' "The Stranger". "A Cruel And Relentless Plot To Pervert The Flesh Of Beasts To Unholy Uses" (Nov 13, 1982, outdoor lot at 934 Brannan St.). A parable of reanimated flesh, highlighted with fires of varying origin. Featuring the huge Billy Graham robot (with Billy Graham sounds), real robotized mummies, a military type CO2 laser, a mobile Mr. Satan, the rabbit Kow-Tow, a fully automated mechanical arm, and more. Soundtrack by Matthew Heckert.
Burning Man: Every Labor Day weekend, hundreds of mostly Bay Area people travel to the Black Rock Desert in Northwest Nevada. They set up camp upon an alkali playa and erect a giant human figure. The next three days are devoted to ritual, art, music and celebration. On nightfall of the third day, the man is slowly lowered to the ground and instilled with fuel. Participants then re-erect the figure to its full four-story height, and in a climax of wild music, drumming, and pyrotechnics, dance around the Burning Man as he explodes in flames.