About + Contact
Jenn Karson CV
The subject of my work is Listening Architectures; it includes 2D works on paper, 3D rendering and modeling, installation and workshops. The most current work is the series, Dancing Stars.
Sound has always been Jenn Karson’s medium. Karson first became known around Burlington, VT in her twenties as the lead singer of the all-female alternative pop band Zola Turn, one of the best-known acts to come out of the Queen City in the 1990s. Now she’s an installation artist, a lecturer at the University of Vermont’s Department of Art, director of UVM’s digital fabrication lab and a co-founder of the art & technology collective Vermont Makers.
She exhibits work in museums, galleries and non-traditional places of display both nationally and internationally. She’s a frequent invited speaker on the subject of bridging art and technology and her art practice includes hosting participatory workshops. She received her MFA in Design + Technology from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008 and her BA in Political Science from the University of Vermont.
It’s the month of the Harvest Moon – or in China Yifeng tells me they call it the Roundest Moon…and indeed it is a turning point in the year for my friends and collaborators on the Illuminated Forest, which debuted on September 22 as part of the evening program at Champlain Maker Faire. There’s a shift in the season, and a shift in mindset as we just pulled off something that was ridiculously challenging, rewarding and energizing. If we can do this, imagine what else we can do!!!
We had 16 powered installations in the woods next to the coach barn of Shelburne Farms. Artist and friend Holly who attended the event described it this way:
“I will never forget the magical experience that was Saturday evening thank you for all your work and vision.”
The work and vision she mentions here is shared by our determined event visionaries and facilitators Ken H. and Terry; adventurous Vermont artists and makers who participated; and generous anonymous donors who funded equipment purchases that allowed us to push our work to new levels. Additionally we had a great turn out of “early adopters” who came to the event for its first showing ever, even when they didn’t know what to expect.
public installation premier, 1.0
September 22, Shelburne Farms
I had the unique opportunity to tap the brain power of John C. in the collaboration that was the installation Dancing Stars. John describes his work on this project here where he also documented a test run we did at Generator. And a few of his photos from the event are below.
Yifeng, Coco and Diane were central in getting the installation up on Saturday and creating its first time forest ambience!
For those of you interested in the origin of the star shapes here are the original Dancing Star sketches which iterated the basic geometry of UVM’s Old Mill Tower ( an octagon and eight triangles)
Ken M. is o n a business trip so I made this video for him that explains how the installation came together (and in the daylight).
Calls from the Dark
Three locations in the Illuminated Forest September 22, 2018
Illuminated Forest was also the debut of a sound series I started work on shortly after the Trump Election, called Calls from the Dark. In the last decade my work in sound came to focus on sounds that symbolize the origin of the human need for connection, non verbal calls that I think of as symbolic, essential and at the nascent beginning of our need to relate and connect with others, a longing for primal unity. This series includes calls of humans, animals and machines that sometimes sound on their own and are sometimes combined, for example the call of whale might be turned into midi (data) and then a fog horn sound will pass through it. Here are the three compositions that were debuted at Saturday’s Illuminated Forest:
And I couldn’t end without saying how proud I am of the students in the UVM FabLab who created this majestical Kangaroo Carousel!
At the end of the night, Yifeng and I packed up all the non waterproof parts of installations and hopped in my Mini. Freezing cold and starving, I turned on the heat in my car for the first time since last spring. We satiated our hunger with jumbo chocolate cookies I had bought earlier in the day from Healthy Living. As we drove out the winding path of Shelburne Farms our conversation went something like this: “chomp chomp chomp ‘That was fun!’ chomp chomp chomp… ‘when can we do that again’?”
Professional photos from the whole forest will be available soon and I will be sure to share them with you. I’ll also make edits to this post as more details become available.
FYI if you still want more we documented visit the Vermont Makers facebook page.