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Cascadence
 
  The Cascadence Collaboration
  General Information
  Special Events
  Closing Reception and Performance

Kitchen and Industrial Salvage Join Forces with Water and Sound

On Exhibition at the 600 Townsend Building
San Francisco
March 11 - April 18, 2002

 
  Colander See Saw
Photo: Karl Seifert
   

Common kitchen implements are the key components I use to conduct water in my newest installation of moving sound sculptures, Cascadence. The public is invited to play the sculptures: slap a clapping pool, tip rocking colanders, and raise a teakettle fountain to create their own orchestral combinations. The exhibition will culminate in a performance created in collaboration between myself, a sculptor, with composer and musician Chus Alonso and musicians Fran Holland, Yari Mander, Darren Morgan and Brian Rice.

Clapping Pool
Photo: Karl Seifert
 

Cascadence merges my interests in water, sculpture, salvaged materials, motion and sound to create an audience interactive, sound sculptural environment, brought to life through direct participation. Water has been a recurring element in my work since my first solo exhibition in 1989 at the Institute for Design and Experimental Art in Sacramento. In 1992, I created my first installation with moving and sonic elements during the San Francisco Festival, a month-long event featuring Bay Area installation and performance artists in the Netherlands. Intent on bringing my sculptures to life, the work is not complete until the sculptures are "activated."

When I began creating installations in 1987, working with salvaged materials became integral to my process as a direct result of the aesthetic, financial and environmental benefits gained from reuse. Cascadence is constructed from a broad collection of project remnants, with materials re-purposed from projects dating back as far as fifteen years. Most of my work to date has been temporary. It does not exist until it has been installed and no longer exists once it is dismantled. The materials outlast their prior incarnations, yet I keenly remember the installation each item came from. I rarely exhibit a project more than once and find it more stimulating to focus my energies on new works rather than rehashing old ideas.

 
  Clapping
Photo: Karl Seifert

Creating spaces for people and inviting audience interaction–touching, reading, writing, sitting, climbing, plucking, riding–are also key aspects of my work. The public at the 600Townsend Building consists of hi-tech workers, mostly in their 20's and 30's, employed at Macromedia, Dooby Tunes and other tenants, who, according to the building's exhibition director, have limited exposure to experimental artworks outside the tech industry. One of the project's merits that influenced its funding by the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grants Program (in the form of an Individual Artist Commission Grant) was it's potential for reaching a new audience for art.

Because my work playfully recombines the familiar into new relationships, it appeals to the everyday person. Because my work is site specific, it reaches a varied audience dependent on location. Arts venues attract mostly artists and art lovers, office buildings attract a variety of workers and the passing public, university venues attract students, faculty and staff, etc. My work is more likely to draw a casual, spontaneous audience who has a relationship with or reason to be at a particular venue.

 
Tea Kettle Fountain
Photo: Karl Seifert
 

The low tech water "instruments" in Cascadence are comprised of containers and objects that together create an infinite range of sounds by pouring water through various openings (teapots, colanders, pitchers, watering cans) into large containers of water; striking floating elements (such as upside down bowls) to create sound; or blowing through tubes and other hollow objects partially immersed in or modified with water. Signage will invite the public to interact with the sculptures and depending on their point of view, play them as instruments or toys. In this spatial context, I hope visitors will enjoy these explorations while making an elemental connection with the properties of sound and water. One sculpture, the Tea Kettle Fountain, consists of four tea kettle clusters, suspended from a metal structure that is raised and lowered into four enormous plastic water "buckets" by cranking a winch. Another, the Colander See Saw is a pair of ladder like structures sporting two rows of colanders. Mounted over an oval pool of water, the structure is rocked back and forth by hand. Water rains from the colanders in unison with varied ranges of force and staggered conclusions.

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The Cascadence Collaboration

 
  Left to Right: Yari Mander, Fran Holland, Chus Alonso
Photo: Judith Blankman

The Cascadence collaboration includes four musicians and musician/composer Chus Alonso who is also my key sound advisor. Together, the group will engage in a combination of composed and improvised efforts creating sounds by animating these objects engaged with water in a series of rhythms. Audience members will be invited to join in.

Chus Alonso, a flautist and percussionist, currently plays Cuban music with Orquesta la Moderna Tradición and leads and composes for Potaje, a music ensemble that blends Flamenco with Cuban Charanga music. At the Community Music Center in San Francisco's Mission district, he teaches Flamenco and Latin Ensemble Playing for intermediate and advanced adult musicians. In his work with children Alonso developed a music program where children create instruments from unusual, yet common, materials and then compose music for them. We met while teaching as LEAP artists-in-the-schools in San Francisco. His work inventing instruments with children was an early source of inspiration that fueled my interest in sound sculpture. He was a natural choice when she was seeking a composer for my newest project. This is the first time we have collaborated together.

 
Left to Right: Chus Alonso, Fran Holland, Yari Mander
Photo: Judith Blankman
 

Fran Holland has been teaching musical instrument building, improvisation and acoustics in the Bay Area for the last fifteen years. He has worked extensively with young people in a number of settings including schools, community centers, and museums (Oakland Museum, SFMOMA, Discovery Museum, Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science). He has also constructed interactive exhibits (often in collaboration with youth) that have been exhibited in local schools, community centers and museums. He has taught hundreds of teachers how to integrate musical instrument building into their science and art curriculum. He performs in and directs the Dactyls of Phrygia, a musical theater group that employs both homemade and modified musical instruments. He is the Education Director of the Tinkers Workshop where he is helping to create a community-access shop.

Brian Rice is a freelance percussionist with a B.M. in Percussion Performance and Ethnomusicology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. A well-rounded musician, Brian is a highly acclaimed performer, recording artist and educator. Brian’s experience in education includes workshops and performances in secondary schools throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and across the United States as well as lectures at Queens College, Oberlin, Portland State University, Shoreline Community College, Reed College, Lewis and Clark College and the University of Washington. Brian performed with the critically acclaimed school show Bochinche.

Yari Mander is a drummer/percussionist who currently performs with Chus Alonso's Flamenco/Latin ensemble Potingue, with Chaim Maim, a klezmer/tango group, and co-directs the One World Drum Ensemble. He has also performed with Peter Whitehead's Lower Back People, Kim Epifano, and Mark Growden's Electric Pinata. Yari has a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State Univerisity, taught 3rd through 7th grade (all subjects) for five years in the San Francisco Unified School District, and one year in Brazil. Currently he is the music teacher at Live Oak School and the Creative Arts Charter School in San Francisco, teaches ensemble drumming for Young Performers International, and has taught residencies for Performing Arts Workshop. He is completing his certification as an Orff-Schulwerk teacher at Mills College.

Darren Morgan, born in Bath, England, is a flamenco guitarist by training. He is currently studying with Jorge Laciaga at the Community Music Center and is working on a degree in music at San Francisco City College. Darren has performed with the Community Music Center's Latin Flamenco Ensemble and Ku/tu/trá, a production for children at Zeum in San Francisco.

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* * *

General Information
Cascadence
is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the sculpture courtyard of the 600 Townsend Building, 600 Townsend Street (at Seventh Street), San Francisco. All events held outdoors, rain or shine. Admission is free.

Special Events
Two Sound Sculpture Family Play Days will be open to the public on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. All ages are welcome. Bring everyday objects that can get wet, plus water-resistant clothing. Refreshments served.

Closing Reception and Performance
A closing reception and performance will be held on Thursday, April 18, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the 600 Townsend Building. The performance begins at 8:00 p.m. A $3-8 donation is requested at the door for the closing event only, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Water-resistant clothing is advised.

Sponsorsip
The exhibition is supported in part of an Individual Artist Commission grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission's Cultural Equity Grants Program. Space is being provided by the 600 Townsend Building.

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