Get to know our In the Garden of Sonic Delights artists a little better through our Sonic Delights Artist Spotlights!
Meet Stephen Moore (Diacousticon) & John Morton (Usonia)
Sound artist Stephan Moore has been working at the forefront of the contemporary experimental audioworld for the past 15 years as a curator, improviser, composer, programmer, theatrical sound designer, loudspeaker builder, radio technician, installation artist, live sound engineer, and teacher. Based in Providence, RI, he is a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University in the Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments program. He is presently the vice-president of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology.
His creative work currently manifests as electronic studio compositions, improvised solo performances, sound installation works, sound designs and scores for modern dance and theater performances, audio software, and the design of multi-channel sound systems for unusual circumstances. He develops his own performance software and builds Hemisphere loudspeakers for use in his own performances and sound installation work, which he also makes available through his company Isobel Audio. Significant ongoing collaborations include the Xenolinguistics performance project with visionary video artist Diana Reed Slattery, numerous scores and designs for the choreographer Yanira Castro, sound and technical design for the Nerve Tank theater collective, and the electronic music duo Evidence with sound artist Scott Smallwood.
From 2006 to 2012 he served as a curator of ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn and as a founding member of their artistic advisory board. Most notably, he curated the month-long Floating Points Festivals there from 2006 to 2010, which made use of a large array of his Hemisphere speakers. His other curatorial activities have included the 2010 Mixology Festival at Roulette Intermedium and the Experiments in the Studio concert series at the Merce Cunningham Studios (2007–2009).
From 2004 to 2010 Moore was the Music Coordinator of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, where he worked and often performed with composers such as Gavin Bryars, John Paul Jones, Sigur Ros, Sonic Youth, Christian Wolff, David Behrman, Annea Lockwood, John King, Emanuel Pimenta, Mikel Rouse, and Takehisa Kosugi to realize full productions of their scores. He also oversaw the performances of several works by John Cage, David Tudor, Brian Eno, Radiohead, and others. In 2010 he collaborated with Animal Collective to create Transverse Temporal Gyrus, a 40-channel sound installation at the Guggenheim Museum with visual elements by Danny Perez. He later created both a downloadable version of the piece, which is algorithmically generated at each playing, and artwork for the limited-edition vinyl release. Other recent notable projects include: audio programming for artist Anthony McCall’s Traveling Wave; a tool for flexible sound distribution for artist Toni Dove’s Lucid Possession; and technical consultation for the organizations EarFilms, Tellart, and Boston’s Constellation Center.
As a composer, instrument builder, and sound installation artist, John Morton has presented his music throughout the United States, and has participated in collaborations at The Kitchen, The Playwright’s Center, and at the Kohler Arts/Industry Program. His CD, Outlier: New Music for Music Boxes, was the subject of a feature and live performance on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday (“Music Box Man”), and he received NYFA Fellowships in 2002 and 2006. In 2010, he was a fellow at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy and was in residence at the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy in October 2011. He was awarded a McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowship, where he explored the compositional and sculptural possibilities of abandoned farm equipment in western Minnesota.
For the last 12 years, Morton has been composing with music boxes by altering the internal mechanisms and overlapping multiple music boxes simultaneously. Working with simple tools, he frees up the music box’s inner works, expanding the variety of available sounds and thus generates a method for the continual layering and variation of musical material. The repetitive nature of music boxes and their ability to evoke musical associations are employed, and, through the use of digital technology, the music box sound is directly merged into the compositional process. These works have led to the creation of sound installations that embrace the randomization of sonic choices and utilize site-specific sounds and other mechanical music-making devices.
In 2009, “Central Park Sound Tunnel,” Morton’s six-channel sound project, was installed in a pedestrian tunnel north of the Central Park Zoo (featured in The New York Times article “Sound Tunnel: Avant-Garde Park Portrait” by Randy Kennedy), and he collaborated on a music box sound installation with sculptor Jackie Shatz based on Darwin’s writings for Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill. “WaterWall,” a sound installation on Governors Island in collaboration with Jackie Shatz, was exhibited during the summer of 2011. He recently completed a commission for the Adirondack Museum, “Sonic Hotel — Lost and Found Sounds of the Adirondacks,” an 18-channel sound installation situated in a former log hotel on the museum campus. He also collaborated recently with composer David Simons on a motion-activated installation for “The Art of Video Games” at the Hudson River Museum.
See their artworks in this week’s Featured Videos