Browsing 90 - 100 results of 116 programs for category - Popular Culture
PETER WHITEHEAD is an instrument builder, performer, and composer. His singular instruments, often based on folk instruments from around the world, feature unusual found materials.
Among his many instruments are the Heart Banjo, made from a baking tin; the Lawn Lyre, made from an old lawnmower and a metal oil pan; and the Spoonharp, made from a five-gallon metal drum, a eucalyptus branch, and kitchen spoons.
Originally from England, Whitehead is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founding member of the Mobius Operandi performance group, he also performs regularly with Closer To Carbon, an improvisational trio. If you’ve ever gone to hear an orchestra play, you know that the performance begins only after a session of tuning. An oft-repeated story tells of a visiting foreigner attending a concert in Paris. Afterwards, when asked which part of the performance he liked best, he replied, “The beginning, just before the man with the stick came in.”
Tuning means adjusting the pitch of an instrument. The pitch of a sound depends on its frequency, the number of vibrations per second that produce the sound. For example, plucking a cello string might cause it to vibrate back and forth 200 times each second. You hear that sound as a low pitch of 200 cycles per second, or 200 hertz.
An orchestra tunes itself to a very particular frequency, usually 440 hertz, a note known as A 440. The note is played by the oboist, and the rest of the orchestra tunes their instruments to match it. The oboe leads the tuning because of all the instruments, it is least affected by humidity or other weather conditions. Music is more than meets the ears directly. Just as no sound exists in a vacuum, every space sculpts the sound within it. Like a site-specific equalizer, reflections, absorption, and resonances combine to give each venue a unique acoustic stamp.
A subway tunnel is “live” space, rich with reverberations that trap and reflect sound in a well of hard tile. True to their name, “dead” spaces do nothing: The only sound heard is what travels directly from instrument to ear. An open field is the ultimate dead space.
As you follow this wandering riff, listen to the changes wrought by environment. Distance is also a factor here—the sound you hear is recorded from the camera’s vantage. Which spaces sound live? Which sound dead? Do the acoustic changes affect the feeling of the music?
Saxophonist Michael Pearce plays with the Highwater Blues Band in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stepping is rhythmic movement that uses the hands and feet as an instrument. Known best among African American fraternities and sororities, stepping draws on a long African tradition of using the body to make music.
Synchronized movement and chants are coordinated by the leader, or step master. Sometimes improvising, always cultivating their own distinctive moves and rhythms, step teams reflect and reaffirm both the unity and the unique style of their group. This wobbly luminescent sculpture by Liz Hickok is both art work and a
simulation of how a San Francisco neighborhood might jiggle when the Big One strikes. From science fiction and toys to invasion of Mars movies, we'll take a look at how martians have inspired our imaginations. James Turrell studied optics and perceptual psychology in college, but gravitated towards art as his curiosity led him to investigate light itself. In this Webcast of a lecture, James Turrell discusses his experiences manipulating pure light and how it became his artistic medium. He reveals how this early work led him to discover Roden Crater in Arizona and to create his subsequent lifelong project of transforming the crater into an astronomical observatory. What is visual literacy--and who is literate? Join guest lecturer James Elkins in an evening of commentary on the many ways we "read" the visual world and assign meaning to what we see. Eames Demetrios, grandson of Charles Eames, has been director of the Eames office since 1993. Author, lecturer, multimedia designer, and filmmaker, his most recent book, An Eames Primer, is an intimate and informative look at the philosophy and spirit behind the work of Charles and Ray Eames. Founding Dean of the Architecture Program at California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC), David Meckel began his career in the Eames Office in the 1970's. Focusing on the day to day experiences of working with Charles and Ray Eames, David will portray a day in the life of the office with the images, people, and idiosyncratic pleasures that made up the rich and dynamic environment that served as the laboratory for these two great designers.