Tag Archives: featured

Untitled Performance (End of Coal) at Center for New Music, SF

This performance explores field recordings of electrical generation and transmission.

Source 1: Navajo Generation Station, Page Arizona. At 2.25 gigawatts, the largest coal-fired generating plant west of the Mississippi. It delivered power to Arizona, Nevada and California. It closed in November 2019.

Source 2: Potrero Point, San Francisco. AKA Warm Water Cove, Toxic Beach. Electricity generated in Antioch enters the city here via an underwater cable.

Folia – Film Collaboration with Rachel Strickland

Calculating how short-length cinema might set about to examine the experience of a tree that plays out in year-long cycles, this 24-minute study experiments with polylinear construction and polytemporal scaling of sound and image that were recorded during one 24-hour slice of street life in the span of a city block. 8K video (7680×4320) with 5.1 mix has been downsized to HD (1920×1080) with LtRt audio for this preview.

THE SOCIAL LIVES OF URBAN TREES is work-in-progress name for an experimental video project that merges environmental sensing with observational cinema techniques—inventing a cinéma vérité approach that takes cues from revelations that emerge from ongoing data capture. A series of video portraits of San Francisco street trees will explore the forms and qualities of public spaces created by individual trees, while using small programmable cameras and sensory apparatus to visualize and listen to the trees’ own perspectives regarding their environments and various other inhabitants with whom they share the territory.


In the course of the project, techniques were devised to capture and present actual synchronized production sound for time-lapse visuals. This is most clearly audible at the beginning and at the tail end of this video. It was discovered that multiple-timescale audio of particular events made the presentation more accessible. An example is the car-departure between 2:00 and 2:10. Actual production sound of this moment was placed into the edit at different timescales, and edited to produce an impression of “time-compressed car departure” whereas the actual 60x timecompression sounded more like a clik.

While it began as a piece about the trees specifically, during the audio editing and mixing process, which ultimately included several additional field sound gathering sessions to the location, it became a kind of study of the soundscape of this particular intersection: 24th and Folsom Streets in San Francisco’s Mission District.

You could listen without watching… I won’t tell.

Doug Hall’s Chrysopylae


I joined Jim McKee and Joan Jeanrenaud in realizing the soundscape for Doug Hall’s large-scale video installation Chrysopylae.

Chrysopylae is a double video projection that was commissioned by the For-Site Foundation for its exhibition International Orange (May 24 – October 28, 2012). The exhibition included the works of sixteen artists and was part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Golden Gate Bridge. All of the projects were installed at Fort Point, the historic 19th century fort located beneath the southern span of the bridge. Chrysopylae (Greek for Golden Gate) was the name given to the straight between San Francisco and the Marin Headlands by the explorer John C. Fremont in 1846.

The video was shot with two HD camera that were synched to one another, allowing for the creation of large, two-screen panoramas. The video focuses on the bridge, seen over time and under differing weather conditions, and on the immense container ships that pass beneath it every day. The two synchronized projections (6’9″ x 12′ each) loop every 28 minutes.

Mixing Chrysopylae at Fort Point. It was cold.
Mixing Chrysopylae at Fort Point. It was cold.

The sound track was composed by Jim McKee and Joan Jeanrenaud, with sound design and additional composition by Jeremiah Moore. The project was produced by Starr Sutherland.

Recording sessions took place at Fort Point, Jim’s North Beach studio, Joan’s home, and my Lower Haight studio.  Mix was completed on site.  Playback was via a very satisfying 3.1 Meyer UPJ system with cardioid subwoofer array.

password: goodsound

In 2013 San Jose Museum of Art hosted a version with 5.1 channel mix.

Doug Hall website







Food Safety Enhancement

A sound poem about the Federal Food Safety Enhancement Act

Food Safety Enhancement is sound piece, a soundpoem of sorts, commissioned by dancer/choreographer Rowena Richie. It was created as a kind of personalized response to a piece of legislation which was being discussed a lot in the spring of 2009 – the Federal Food Safety Enhancement Act – and in particular a part of it which some were calling “Scorched Earth” – which promoted the idea of creating “Sterile Buffer Zones” around farmer’s fields. But really the piece is about disconnects: About technocracy trying to regulate the interstice where commerce and industry meet growing things. It ended up taking this fragmentary, internal narrative sort of form, hinting at internal imagery and confusion at the information in the news.

Also published on The Unobserved:

Synchronous Forest 3.0

A meditation on environmental collapse: Slow and gently crossfading images projected onto a large spiral of diaphanous fabric, drifting from a rotating tree-trunk bark-scape to a daydream of gold-green flowering branches wafting in breeze.

Sound of urban beehive activity, filtered so that the bees themselves are nearly absent. Followed by a soundscape of distant crickets and electrical wires in mist, punctuated by the violent and banal passing of a minivan speeding through the landscape.

A small bench awaits in the center of the spiral, a place to sit and listen to small, naked speakers dangling from wires, playing heavily processed and edited bird recordings.

At the center of the spiral, a “trunk” is formed of discarded etched panels, bright copper on white fiberglass.

A wicker garden bench is positioned outside the spiral, so one might sit and regard the spiral as one might regard a garden.

A listener at Synchronous Forest 3
A listener at Synchronous Forest 3

In making it, I was thinking about the relationships and interfaces between humans and nature. As beings who regard ourselves as beings, we can see ourselves as part of nature or as outside of it.

work details:

  • Single-Channel video projection.
  • Four audio channels derived from field recordings of urban wildlife in San Francisco’s Mission District and environs.
  • Materials: Fabric, Video, Sound, Benches, Speakers, Space, Circuit Boards. 18′ x 25′ and 11′ tall.

This video is a four-minute walk through the gallery space.

Narrated Walkthrough:

Installation work for CCA Playspace Gallery, San Francisco, July 2009

Prior versions of this material were exhibited:

“Synchronous Forest” in collaboration with Lindy Lyman, Regis University, Denver CO, 1998

“Synchronous Forest 2.0” in collaboration with Lindy Lyman, Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood CO, 1999


Our first child was born april 20, 2003. I set out to imagine ways in which the baby hears inside the womb, and make a tapestry out of those imaginings using everyday living sounds as material… Dreaming an image of these familiar sounds as lullaby. His heartbeat is a keynote, recorded by patching into an ultrasonic fetal heart monitor, threaded into driving over expansion joints on the 101 freeway.

Headphones or high quality speakers recommended.

DeFused Ad no.2

Digital Video, Stereo sound, 2002

DeFused Ads are short abstract films which use television commercials  as their sole source material, transforming them from commercial messages into meaningless things of beauty.

Defused Ad no.2 is made from a TV ad for an indy 500 style racetrack. The hard-hitting voiceover is now a drifting chitter, and the screaming racecars are now soft colored blurs.

The technique involves “averaging” the texture, color and tone of the original material into luminous drifting masses. The original fast-cut promotional message is transformed into a slow-time mode. No edits were made, the processing simply acting as a lens to distort time and space.

DeFused Ad no.1

Digital Video, Stereo sound, 2002

DeFused Ads are short abstract films which use television commercials  as their sole source material, transforming them from commercial messages into meaningless things of beauty.

DeFused Ad No.1 is a luminous, ambient electronic landscape made from an interstitial cable-TV promo.

The technique involves “averaging” the texture, color and tone of the original material into luminous drifting masses. The original fast-cut promotional message is transformed into a slow-time mode. No edits were made, the processing simply acting as a lens to distort time and space.

The Story

In 1996, I met a student in Ontario who grew up in East Berlin. The cold war being such a looming reality in my youth, I’d always wondered about life on the Soviet side of the iron curtain. “Did you get western TV in East Berlin?”  I asked her. The answer was yes, of course, but it was the next part that threw me. “Oh!  The commercials! – they were so beautiful.  I just wanted to live inside the worlds of them.”

At the time, my job was working in a recording studio in Denver which did a lot of commercials. I myself was engaged in the craft of perfecting these short mass-media messages intended to incite an audience to partake in commercial transactions. I started to think about how, in a way, television ads are some of the high-art of our civilization: the most refined, concentrated, compelling experiences that can be created in sound and light.

Eventually the obvious connection was made: to absolve these messages of their meaning, rendering them objects of pure beauty.