A sound idea for artists

The Baltimore Sun

If five Baltimore artists were given the task of crafting a new instrument, how big would each instrument be? What would each look like? Better yet, how would each sound when played individually or in unison?

Those who ponder the possibilities of instrumental invention will have the chance to experience the audio and visual unknown beginning tonight at the opening of the new High Zero Sound Installations at the Current Gallery. Events for the festival run tonight through Oct. 3.

"The idea for this year was to turn the whole gallery into an instrument," says Chiara Giovando, an improvisational vocalist and violinist and this year's Sound Installation curator.

Each year, as part of the annual High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music, sound installations, or audio and visual art galleries that exhibit different aspects of sound and art, are curated by a member of the improvised music community. These installations in combination with smaller musical demonstrations, according to Giovando, "truly represent the spirit of the festival - the celebration of sound."

Giovando, as a member of the Red Room Collective, a group of Baltimore-based experimental and improvisational musicians who organize performances in the area, says that the sound installations have been more low-key in previous years.

"This year we wanted to really make it accessible for the public," she says. "The sound installations are a great way to start the festival and introduce a lot of the public to experimental and improvised music."

This year's installation will provide the opportunity for those interested in sound-based art to witness and try out each of the newly crafted instruments and collaborate with other visitors to create a recording.

Those who attend the opening of the installation will also be able to watch performances by local improvising artists. These performances will offer visitors a preview of what to expect at each 3 1/2 -hour live concert, taking place each day, from Sept. 27 to 30.

According to Giovando, she commissioned each of the five artists to create their own sound-sculptures because of their presence in the art community. "All of the visual artists that I picked have worked with sound in one way or another," she says. "I chose the five artists because they were people who already created works I truly admired and I wanted to see them in a new context."


Events for the ninth annual High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music begin today at 6 p.m. with the opening of a sound installation featuring performances, food and drink, at Current Gallery, 30 S. Calvert St. Admission is free. The sound installations will be open to the public until Oct. 2. Five concerts, featuring local and international acts, will take place next weekend at Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27, 28 and 30 and 1 p.m. Sept. 29. Admission to each concert is $13. The festival will also feature workshops and other events through Oct. 3. To purchase tickets or for more information, go to highzero.org.

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