This past weekend Michele and I headed down to Long Beach to install her video and check out this years crop of sound works installed for their annual audio-art festival. The show was bigger this year, and a good crowd showed up, but I didn’t find much work I found interesting this time around. Last years show was a real stand-out to me, got to see if I have photos lying around of that I can post later. There were a few things this year that grabbed my attention of course, notably D. Jean Hester’s field recording style audio tour of the SoundWalk (which made me want to carry a mic and headphones around everywhere I go), and Flora Kao’s sound sculptures. Michele’s video installation too of course, but I may be a bit biased towards that one.
Down there we met up with Rise member Mike Feldman and some others friends in the music industry, and talked a little about what failed to capture our attention this time around. We came to the conclusions that there was a bunch of work that had some technical things going on, but failed to bring any conceptual drive to it, and a bunch of work that was more traditionally “fine art” with sound added as an afterthought or not really bringing anything to the work. That and the usual sprinkling of works that either are rehashing of older artworks (when is an homage merely a copy?) and stuff that just didn’t work out at all. The event is so large that we may have missed a third of it altogether, so perhaps there was more out there which would have impressed us. I really wish it could extend to two days, as now its getting a bit large to take in during the course of one evening. Criticism aside, it really is a fantastic event every year – pretty amazing to see/hear sound art taking over a whole neighborhood for a night, and to run into little projects in every little nook and street corner. If anyone else was there and has some other project to point out that I missed, leave it in the comments please.
Also check out more of Flora’s work on her website.