Sound Arts and the Vermont Maker Movement

Jenn Karson with arduino
Jenn Karson with an Arduino. Photo by Matt Thorsen for Seven Days

This week’s Seven Days features the article “Meet Your Makers: Vermont hackers, artists and inventors are sharing ideas — and solving problems.” We were thrilled to be interviewed and are very grateful to Megan James for her excellent writing and to Matt Thorsen for the creative photography.

Explore the Possibilities of Exhibiting and Reading Radio and Sound art

This is really interesting and much needed exploration of sound art and sound art exhibition. The exhibition description says it explores “all” the possible ways of exhibiting and reading sound art – quite the overstatement!  I think there will always be new ways to exhibit and understand sound art. In any case, great to see people out there ready to take the journey.

Radio Arts Space FM / online / gallery exhibition / sound arts
Radio Arts Space FM / online / gallery exhibition

The exhibition Radio Arts Space constructs a gallery inside radio space, where Sound art and Radio art works are exhibited. It explores (many possible ways) of exhibiting and reading Radio and Sound art. The project is also complemented by an (international) platform for the discussion of meanings, contextualization, artistic research and the exchange of sound art works.

radioCona, produced by CONA, launched in 2008, is a platform that uses the radio frequency space in art contexts. FM frequency is understood as public space, explored from different perspectives and mediated through artworks audiobooks, programming and exhibitions. radioCona is intervention into public space.

Name that Ringtone!

Our “Name that Ringtone” contest is on its way. We did a test over at our facebook page and the response was exciting – Lots of creative people joined in and gave a handful of ringtones some really creative names.

While the social media test was recent, this  project actually started in 2007 right before I left to attend grad school at the San Francisco Art Institute. This is when these first batches of ringtones were made. The problem then was that cell phone technology wasn’t so great, and companies like Verizon were even disabling features on Motorola phones that would allow the easy addition of custom ringtones. I also ran into problems getting a Motorola phone to work with my Mac computer. So, in summary there were a lot of conflicts and challenges back then.

Well, I don’t have to tell you how things have changed now that the iPhone is universally adored.  It is now much easier to get custom ringtones onto a phone.

The way the “Name that Ringtone” contests works is that all who suggest a name + like Studio Ju Ju on facebook get entered to win a pair of Reveal Bamboo Bambud earbuds, and those who suggest the winning name for a particular ringtone, get a copy of that ringtone for their phone.

Here’s the ringtone currently up for naming. Take a break from the holidays and put your creativity to work. Name that ringtone!

Series 1 12 edit by Sesamedia + Studio Ju Ju

In case you can’t view the iframe above, click here.

Chance in Art – A Fresh Context Thanks to the Series “Documents of Contemporary Art” by The MIT Press

Chance, Documents of Contemporary Art
Chance, Documents of Contemporary Art

Today I must return to the library three books from the series Documents in Contemporary Art. Chance, edited by Margaret Iverson, The Sublime, edited by Simon Morley and Failure by Lisa La Feuvre. I’ve had them for over six weeks now, but it still feels way too early to say goodbye. The truth is that I spent so much time with the essays in Chance that I never got to read the others – so I will once I buy the books for my own library.

Chance is made up of short chapters of interviews with artists and artist writings. Also included are writings by art historians and I assume curators. In Chance the earliest writing is from 1944 and the most recent from 2010. Because the writings come from a span of 7 decades, it allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about how the history of chance emerges and inspires contemporary artists. It is without the pretentiousness and crazy language that often obscures writings on art history. The chapters focus on the artist’s intention, plainly communicating ideas

The Sublime, Documents of Contemporary Art
The Sublime, Documents of Contemporary Art

and inspirations. You often get to read about the artist’s line of inquiry in his or her own words. I enjoyed reading one essay at a time, and then taking a few days to reflect on what was said.

In Chance I found some of the most interesting writing on Cildo Meireles that I’ve come across. It also gave me a new appreciation for the work of Yoko Ono and I was introduced to William Anastasi who I wrote about in an early post. A combination of chapters together presented a fresh context to consider the work and influence of John Cage.

My work in sound arts is interested in the ephemeral and transitional, the rapidly changing and complex layers of daily life and the mashing together of natures and cultures. Chance, of the series Documents in Contemporary Art provides me with a fresh context to consider my work in sound arts and sound installation. I’m ready to go out and buy the series.

Failure, Documents of Contemporary Art
Failure, Documents of Contemporary Art

Because I’m also interested in how ideas are transmitted it’s worth noting the story of how I was able to get access to these books. They were loaned to me by The Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont who had to get them through interlibrary loan through Middlebury College but originally from Marlboro College in Southern Vermont. When I got the books they appeared as if they had never been read or even cracked open.

Also I have to give a cheer “Go MIT Press!” one of my favorite publishers – great job with this series. Thank you.



Sound Arts for Hunting Season

This sound piece is inspired by Saturday, October 29, 2011. On this morning there were two distinct sound events, the early morning gunfire of hunters in the woods and sound of the leaves rapidly falling from this tree. The sound piece is created from the field recording that was originally recorded with the video you see here. The audio and the video in the final piece unfold in real time. The piece was made on the Studio Ju Ju grounds.

Distorted transitions of leaves falling and guns firing. Hunting season, machines, birds, deer, traffic, tree, sun + rain.