Tension at Battery Townsley
Featuring special performance installations by Eli Keszler (NYC), Ben Bracken and Ashley Bellouin, and Tom Duff. Co-sponsored by National Park Service and 23Five.
Soundwave Humanities takes you into the wilderness for a sonic event like no other. Up in the hills of the Marin Headlands, amongst the gorgeous ocean and parklands, lies a structure steeped with history, Battery Townsley at Fort Cronkhite (http://www.nps.gov/goga/historyculture/battery-townsley.htm). Built in 1940 during WWII, this strongest and most secretive harbor fortification was a marvel in technology outfitted with battleship guns to defend the western shores against the Japanese navy. After the war, the outpost was a military testing site but by the 1980s, it was largely abandoned. National Park Service took authority and historians, contractors and Volunteers in Parks helped restore a historic site.
Sonic artists will use the Battery to explore notions of Tension (war and peace, and love and desire) in this former war installation with special performance installations using the extreme resonant spaces with the tensions of strings and stringed instrumentation to give voice to the Battery of what once was and what will become. NYC artist Keszler creates a large scale mechanical string installation in the Battery gunwell formerly outfitted with battleship guns. Sonic duo Bracken and Bellouin use hand-made instruments that utilize strings, aluminum, wood, and microtonal tuning systems in the battery tunnel. Sound artist Duff creates Wire Machine, inspired seminal composition/installation Music on a Long Thin Wire, inside the battery rooms and hallways.
Note: This is an outdoor event on top of a hill overlooking the ocean and can be quite windy and foggy. Please bring warm clothes and proper shoe attire. Please park in the Rodeo Beach Parking Area and arrive at least 30 minutes before performance time. There is a 20-minute uphill hike from the Rodeo Beach parking lot to the Battery.
Eli Keszler is a composer, artist and multi-instrumentalist based in New York City. In performance, he often plays drums, bowed crotales and guitar in conjunction with his installations. In his ensemble compositions, he uses extended strings, motors, crotales, horns and mechanical devices to create his sound, balancing intense harmonic formations with acoustic sustain, fast jarring rhythm, mechanical propulsion, dense textures and detailed visual presentations. Kezler has toured extensively throughout Europe and the US and has recorded releases for labels such as REL Records, ESP-DISK’ and Type (Red Horse), in addition to his forthcoming record on PAN. His installations have appeared at the Boston Center for the Arts and Nuit Blanche NYC and the Shreveport MSPC New Music Festival. He has most recently won the Mata composers competition for the 2012 season. Artist Website
Ben Bracken is a Sound Artist who focuses on creating a unique sonic language utilizing electronics, acoustic sound sources (guitar, cymbal, bells, found objects, etc), electric guitar, and field recordings. Primarily interested in the possibilities of echo-relocation in sound-based art, his work oscillates from performance to installation, often blurring the lines between the two. In both, the location of the event becomes an active participant, intimately shaping the nature and direction of each work. He has curated the Totally Intense Fractal Mind Gaze Hut, a performance space in West Oakland and also contributed sound, live generated 3D visuals and interactivity to the Illuminated Forest installation as part of Soundwave’s last festival GREEN>SOUND at The Lab in San Francisco. Ben has performed at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival and recently completed a soundtrack to accompany a documentary on the art scene in Dubai, entitled, “Glitter Dust – Finding Art in Dubai”. Currently, Ben is collaborating with Ashley Bellouin on experiments with wind-based instruments and installations, and performing in the Oakland, CA band Date Palms. Artist Website
Ashley Bellouin often merges Sound Art and electroacoustic composition and instrument building, focusing on creating alternative designs to rare or forgotten musical instruments. She has assisted instrument builder Daniel Schmidt in building eight Javanese Gamelan instruments donated to the Mills College music department, and also recently completed a hand-built glass harmonica currently being used for live performance and recording projects. Bellouin’s compositions have been performed both nationally and internationally, including at the 26th Annual SEAMUS National Conference, the 10th Annual CSUF New Music Festival, the San Francisco Tape Music Festival, the 12th Annual Santa Fe International Festival of Electroacoustic Music, and ElectroMediaWorks in Athens, Greece. Bellouin also currently collaborates with Ben Bracken on wind-activated sound sculptures; they were recently awarded a residency at the Dresher Ensemble ARC Program to continue explorations in aeolian based instrument building. Artist Website
Tom Duff is a composer, musical tinkerer, concert presenter, and opera singer. His roles have included Emperor Norton in numerous performances of Gino Robair’s opera “I, Norton”, and Missionary #2 in the west coast company of “Missions and Cannibals.” He also works at a Bay Area animation studio and holds a half-dozen patents and two Academy Awards for contributions to motion picture science and technology. Artist Website