Activating the Medium
April 16 and 17, 8:30 p.m. | Presented by 23five

The attributes of ice manifested through sound


Cheryl Leonard does field recordings of ice.

                                  Cheryl Leonard

Presented by 23five Incorporated and swissnex San Francisco

Friday, April 16, 8:30 p.m.
Joshua Churchill
Adam Sonderberg
Panel / Lecture moderated by Cheryl E. Leonard

Saturday, April 17, 8:30 p.m.
Cheryl E. Leonard
Pedestrian Deposit
Jesse Burson

$8 – $15 sliding scale or FREE with membership

23five Incorporated, in collaboration with swissnex San Francisco and The Lab, presents the thirteenth annual Activating The Medium festival, with two nights of performances from local and international sound artists.

Each year, 23five curates Activating The Medium around a specific theme that seeks to underscore the connections between artists working with various methods and materials. Previously, Activating The Medium has explored sound ecology, audio mimesis, and the relationship between sound and architecture.  For the 2010 festival, 23five presents a theme of ice — the physical, geographic, metaphoric, and mythological attributes of ice as manifested through sound.

Featured performers include Cheryl E. Leonard (San Francisco), G*Park (Switzerland), Pedestrian Deposit (Los Angeles), Joshua Churchill (San Francisco), Adam Sonderberg (Berkeley), Rale (Los Angeles), and Jesse Burson (Alameda).

Cheryl E. Leonard is a composer, performer, and instrument-builder hose work investigates sounds, structures and objects from the natural world. In 2009, Leonard traveled to Palmer Station, Antarctica and gathered recordings and natural materials to create music with. For Activating The Medium, she will be presenting one of her Antarctic compositions exploring elements of the region's environments and ecosystems and will be performed live by a small ensemble playing amplified ice, stones, shells and penguin bones.

A member of the Swiss Aktionist collective Schimpfluch-Gruppe, G*Park  (aka Marc Zeier) has quietly produced an oblique catalogue of  recordings and performances dating back to the early '80s. His strategies of sound production involve abstruse studies in musique concrete, clinical electronics, prepared piano, and manipulated field ecordings. In his debut performance in California, G*Park will render his composition through the sound of frozen lakes and ice caves, various hydrophone recordings, and the audio from what Zeier qualifies as "microscopic creatures."

Joshua Churchill is a San Francisco based cross-disciplinary artist  whose site-specific sound and light work takes the form of both installation and performance, very often blurring the line between the two. Utilizing resonant frequency drones, field recordings, induced feedback, and reactive lighting, Churchill’s dynamic works compel one to become critically aware of their surroundings by exploring the esthetic, emotive, and structural qualities of the environments in which they are situated.

Adam Sonderberg is a composer working predominantly with concrète-based composition, operating for many years out of Chicago in the projects Haptic and The Dropp Ensemble. For Activating The Medium, Sonderberg proposes a composition for real and imagined ice. He states, "Having recently moved to the Bay Area from Chicago, my only contact with ice has been in the domestic sphere – more specifically in our freezer. This contrasts sharply with the profusion of snow and ice on the ground during a typical Chicago winter. I find this contrast quite jarring and will seek to assemble an aural environment that will hopefully mitigate my disquiet."

Jesse Burson is a sound artist and illustrator intent on coaxing large environments out of minute details while blurring the lines between natural and man-made elements. He has collaborated with a number of Bay Area musicians over the years including Big City Orchestra, fellow festival performer Cheryl Leonard, Thomas Carnacki, and the inn. aff. (orchext.) big band. Jesse’s first solo performance visits the memory of the yuki-onna, the snow woman of Japanese folklore.

Rale is the electronic project of Los Angeles musician William Huston, whose analog modular synth noise compositions have one foot planted in the avant-garde and one in the scum infested tape underground.

The music of Jon Borges and Shannon Kennedy of Pedestrian Deposit could best be described as highly composed, focused and dynamic, experimental music that draws on their widely varying music talents. From Borges's interest in such areas as electronics, tape loops, field recording, and synths, to Shannon's use of classical instruments, contact mics and manipulated metal objects, the duo combine elements of musique concrete, ambient, drone, classical and harsh noise.

Founded in 1993, 23five Incorporated is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and increased awareness of sound works in the public arena, and to the support and education of artists working with and discussing the medium of sound. For the past 15 years, 23five Incorporated has remained at the forefront in bringing the most adventurous elements of sound art to the San Francisco Bay area. 23five has served as an important benefactor to artists such as CM von Hausswolff, Christina Kubisch, Francisco Lopez, Olivia Block, Matt  Jeckert, Zbigniew Karkowski, Atau Tanaka, and many more.

swissnex San Francisco is a space, a service, and a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas in science, education, art, and innovation. Through our public events and study tours, we highlight the best of Swiss and North American ingenuity and create opportunities for networking among our diverse group of professional contacts in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and beyond. Offering workspace in the heart of downtown San Francisco and the resources to help international guests, start-ups, university outposts, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and other visitors succeed.