2023 Festival

Featured Works

Brittle Geometries/Delicate Feedbacks, (Interactive Installation), Carolyn Zaldivar Snow, Peter Green. Level 3

Inspired by the 1989 New Yorker essay The End of Nature this installation invites the viewer to experience a delicate and brittle end through the sounds of glacial dissipation and melt. Sounds and graphic scores were sourced from polar explorers, composers, climbers, and musicians. Is there a scaling back of this end? Together, can we rewind and slow the pace through our actions? Will we advance the ending through our collective choices?

Jitr จิตร (Performance, June 4, 1PM), elekhlekha (Nitcha Fame Tothong and Kengchakaj Kengkarnka). Plaza

Jitr จิตร uses computer programing, Southeast Asia’s sound cultures, historical research, historical archive footage and sounds, and generative visual art to reconcile the lost connection of Southeast Asia’s shared heritage. Jitr จิตร is a speculative imaginary electronics ensemble performative live coding audio-visual. Imagine an alternative future where we can move forward with care. The project explores how we might unlearn and situate historical knowledge in a new context by reshaping it and making it relevant again using new media and algorithms. 

Create a Soundtrack for Koko’s Earth Control (Workshop, June 3, 10AM+1PM, June 4, 10-12PM), Tina Chancey + HESPERUS. Lerner Room, Level 3

Koko’s Earth Control is a silent, silly-serious, six-minute Max Fleischer cartoon from 1928 starring Koko the Clown and Fitz the Dog. One day they come across the “Control of Earth” station and mischievous Fitz pulls a lever that makes the world come to an end. As it shuts down, all sorts of chaos ensues! What follows is part scary, part funny and up to you to orchestrate! Using found objects from the HERPERUS pantry and your creativity, together we plan, rehearse and perform a live soundtrack for Koko’s Earth Control. Free, all-ages, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register.

Synth Picnic (Workshop June 3, 12PM, +3PM, June 4, 10AM), Carolyn Zaldivar Snow, Ash Farrand. Plaza

Synth Picnic is a response to the isolation felt by many musicians during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Navigating venue closures, concert cancellations, public health concerns– we increasingly turned to public parks and reached for community care. Synth picnics are outdoor improvisational gatherings with shared gear and sounds. Come give a synth a try! Free, all-ages, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register.

A Jamaican Estuary Listening Experience (Workshop, June 3, 11AM, June 4, 11AM), Marva Shand-McIntosh. Plaza

At the end of a river, sits an estuary– the area where the river flows into the sea. This listening experience is inspired by the nature sounds of a shallow, intimate estuary that borders St. Mary and St. Ann in Jamaica. Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and among the vulnerable. Join this guided listening experience to explore what comes after the end. Free, all-ages, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register.

Control (Interactive installation), Tansy Xiao. Level 2

This gesture-controlled interactive video choir is constructed of 16 clips each featuring mezzo-soprano Elisa Sutherland’s mouth singing to a graphic score that directly reflects the high and low of a significant stock chart from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to 2022. The score includes charts of typical YOLO investing strategy stocks (Gamestop, AMC), individual opportunists trying to push change in the economy, monopolistic corporations that raise ethical concerns (Facebook, Amazon) and pharmaceutical companies that profited from the pandemic (Pfizer, Moderna). The audience experiences a fake sense of control of the choir by moving their bodies to the motion capturing webcam –but is control real? This project is a satire of capitalism and a bitter laugh at the awkward economic state that a many people found themselves in post-pandemic. This project was supported, in part, by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Before the Bulldozers (Interactive installation), Walking Cinema. Plaza

Before the Bulldozers is an audio and augmented reality journey exploring the history of the redevelopment of the Southwest neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Using GPS, this Walking Cinema app guides you from site to site through D.C.’s Southwest neighborhood, telling the story of the country’s first large-scale urban renewal project—a project that uprooted 23,000 people and knocked down nearly 5,000 buildings to create an entirely new neighborhood. Through the immersive augmented reality features, visitors see what the neighborhood looked like in the 1950s and ’60s, and learn first-hand how systemic issues like racism, class struggle, and power structure impact those who live and work in the community, then and now.

DOWM (Performance June 4, 2PM + Workshop June 3, 11AM Lerner Room, June 4, 2:30PM Plaza), Stefan Tiefengraber

Three walkmans, three effect pedals, two mixers, a mini-synthesizer, microphones and several feedback loops create a noise-scape that ends in silence and emptiness. In this project, Tiefengraber refers to his artistic method of working, which he implements not only in performances but also in his installation projects. He extends the predefined functions of the used devices by experimenting with them and using unconventional applications. With this way he achieves new and unpredictable results. Workshop free, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register. Made possible through generous support from the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington.

Speaking and Listening with Sound Objects (Installation+ Workshop June 3, 1PM), Katya Rozanova, Susan Jahoda. Plaza

Speaking and Listening with Sound Objects asks: how do we live besides sentient and non-sentient others? What are the implications of being in a non-hierarchical relationship with each other, of living beside? Do technological, human, or natural systems need to be “fully known” (dissected, reduced, assimilated, etc.) for nourishing exchanges to happen? The project aims to create an environment where participants can question assumptions about hierarchies and interdependence with nonhuman others, practice deep listening, and engage in horizontal collaboration. Anyone encountering Speaking and Listening with Sound Objects is invited to a collaborative, improvisational jam session with these anti-instruments. Each is made from a variety of organic materials, is tactile, a semi-autonomous ecosystem, that functions collaboratively and whose behavior evolves over time. Each object determines how it relates to external stimuli, whether it be sounds from other objects or human input (touch, sound, proximity). Workshop. Saturday June 3, 1PM. Free, all-ages, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register. Made possible through generous support from the Goethe Institut-DC

DisOrgan (Interactive installation), Michael Joseph McDonald. Level 3

What does disability sound like after pathology? DisOrgan is an interactive sound sculpture which helps us hear disability differently. It brings forth the sound of the cultural, material, and human contributions that disability has offered self and the world. Consisting of several theremin-like pipes, DisOrgan can be played without any musical experience. Participants hover a hand above the pipes to change the musical behaviors. There are two types of pipes: instrumental pipes and choral pipes. The instrumental pipes contain music generated from over 50 objects that have their origin in disability: typewriters, keyboards, bendy straws, telephones, the LP record, electric toothbrushes, emails etc. The choral pipes contain the sung voices of people around the world who carry different disability diagnoses.

The Wedding Gift (Performance June 4, 11AM), Lisette Alvarez. Plaza

A performance of oral storytelling in the style of a live radio drama: Three brothers, each as riotous as the next, are tasked with protecting a special gift from their recently deceased grandmother; a pair of magical dice made to bless a newly married couple with good fortune and marital bliss. The night before their sister’s wedding, their own partying distracts them and an uninvited guest makes off with the gift. Will the brothers three be able to find the thief in time, or will their failure to retrieve the precious heirloom doom their sister’s marriage? This story invites you to listen to the ways generational cycles continue, and the gifts that can be offered even “after the end.”

Dung Dakr Cloak (Interactive installation), EJTECH. Plaza

Touch and explore the textile in order to generate a unique soundscape, shaped by the gestures and delicate tactile wandering throughout the woven fractal interface. Dungh-Dakr Cloak is a soft interface for intuitive musical interactions. It is fractal tapestry augmented in order to create an intimate explorative material experience. Textiles as the metaphor that strings together the macrocosm and microcosm, the interwoven reflection of interpersonal relationships, the linking of vertices and edges to create a network, our second skin and the next interface for human-computer interactions.

Through the evolution of the cosmos, we are the story of matter being told to itself. Growth and pattern are innate in matter. Without a designer, matter continuously shapes itself into the infinite fractal tapestry of our universe – every pebble, every mountain, every life. 

Dung Dakr Cloak is developed within the Innovation Center of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary (MOME-IK). This work is part of the ongoing research on new augmented materials, specifically soft interfaces as an intuitive, non-intrusive platform between digital environments and the physical world. 

Dark Matters, (Interactive installation), Johann Diedrick. Level 2

Dark Matters is an interactive web experience that spotlights the absence of Black speech in data sets that are used to train voice interface systems like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri. This creates new forms of racial exclusion and bias as Black speech, previously code switching for white ears, is now forced to code switch for “AI ears”. Utilizing 3D modeling, spatialized sound design, and storytelling, the project challenges our communities to grapple with racism and inequity through speech and the spoken word, and how AI systems underserve Black communities.

Planning for After The End (Workshop, June 3, 12PM and 3PM), Jordan Gass-Pooré. Lerner Room, Level 3

Planning For After The End will help bring communities closer to one another by empowering them to tell and share their own stories about end-of-life planning. In this workshop, participants will be given the training and tools to share and express their relationship with death and their plans for what happens “after the end” in their own words. They will learn to harness the power of storytelling to have meaningful conversations about their funeral and burial wishes, and learn the digital tools to turn this information into audio content that can be shared with their family, friends, and the public. Finished works may be featured on the Local Switchboard NYC website and major podcast platforms (optional release form available on-site). Workshop free, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register.. Children should be accompanied by adult.

Collecting Fragments of Time (Interactive installation), Emily Francisco. Level 3

Collecting Fragments of Time is a series of recordings involving decommissioned objects transfigured into instruments that pull live radio frequencies from the air. These recordings are being compiled to create an archive of fragmented time. The Archive of Fragmented Time will exist as a physical drive containing images and video files in addition to existing in various forms on the internet. Once compiled, the archive along with the Trans-Harmonium – a DIY clock radio synth – will be donated to an organization or institution committed to keeping the project alive by loaning out the instrument and expanding the archive.

Overview, (Interactive installation) The Brayver Concern (James Garver and Rebecca Bray), Plaza

Astronauts report feeling profound grief and awe about earth when seeing it from space. Psychologists call this phenomenon “the overview effect.” Overview is an interactive installation that invites audiences to put orbs onto their heads. The orbs block participants from seeing and hearing the room around them in ways that we’re used to, and instead offers a perspective much higher than their eyes, and through a small screen. There are speakers in the orb delivering sounds to the participant that are filtered versions of the live sounds present in the space. There are microphones in each orb, and participants can hear each other breathe and speak. With senses distorted, listening to each other in new ways, participants are invited to walk around, sit, or stand and reconsider their relationship to their body and the space around them. The artists hope that when the orbs are removed the “familiar” world sounds and looks different and an interconnected future may be envisioned in new ways.

Embodied Music Club, (Interactive installation) Jay Afrisando,. Level 3

How does music emerge after the end of ableism, audism, visualism, and colonizing & authoritarian music practices? Through Embodied Music Club, visitors will experience tactile, aural, and visual music-making. This work is an invitation to activate the whole body as a listening tool, center the body in music-making, and champion empathetic-inclusive experiences that situate music in shared listening and complex inter-species relationships.

Embodied Music Club (Participatory Performance, June 4, 2PM), Jay Afrisando. Level 3

Participate in this fun, cozy participatory performance regardless of your bodily and musical ability. Grab a seat (or stand if you’d like). Enjoy reading the tactile graphic scores/notations through touch and interpret the scores using any instrument (for example, voice or sign language) in any manner. There is no right or wrong in reading and interpreting the scores. More detailed instructions will be delivered during the performance. Free, all-ages, registration encouraged. Please click on the dates above to register.

Secret Reception (Interactive installation), Kristine Diekman, Ben Pagac. Level 2

Secret Reception combines art and bio acoustics to creatively engage the public in questions about sound reception in more-than-human worlds. This sonic art installation offers new paradigms for hearing through the design of haptic objects and tactile interfaces that use vibration to transmit sonic information. Drawing on scientific research that examines how insects detect sound through body parts, we transpose insect hearing to the human listening experience using sonic impulses that emulate the way insects receive them. The project imaginatively addresses the theme, After the End, by suggesting a speculative future that embraces more-than-human communication modalities beyond what we are familiar with.

It’s So Hard to Talk to You (Performance) June 4, 12PM, Sifu Sun. Plaza

Inspired by the struggle of acclimating after giving birth and becoming a single mother, It’s So Hard to Talk to You is a reflection of what is lost and gained through motherhood. The artist writes, “Before baby was born, I was told to prepare for my death, the end of all that I know, so in that this performance is an attempt to further repair the disconnections caused by that medical professional and my own personal traumas. Giving birth has given me the chance to re-parent the self while parenting a child.”