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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

TEMPORARY PUBLIC ART IN DOWNTOWN BERKELEY BART PLAZA
With the completion of the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, the City of Berkeley has an innovative new public art space in its downtown that is being programmed with a variety of engaging and dynamic art installations and cultural presentations, including an ongoing series of sound art compositions and temporary sculptural installations, as well as live music and dance performances.

SOUND ART INSTALLATIONS
A series of ten sound art installations at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza playing 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Current Installation:

Santomieri-Farhadian Duo: November 20, 2020 - February 15, 2021
Violinist Thea Farhadian and guitarist Dean Santomieri have been performing together since 2011. Their music is almost exclusively improvisational - created in the moment from many stylistic and global musical influences. Their creative process results in a musical conversation. One player begins and the other responds intuitively based upon the timbre, pitch, energy, and artistic direction of the music. A New Sense of Place is a site-specific sound installation created in the hope that people moving through the plaza will be pleasantly roused from their thoughts, conversations, or devices, by the unexpected gift of music.

A two-minute excerpt of the installation can be heard here:
https://soundcloud.com/tfarhad/a-new-sense-of-place-2020/s-ol8K94fEQhb

Thanks to Myles Boisen and David Kwan, for recording and multichannel mixing. 

Thea Farhadian is a performer/composer who works with solo violin and interactive electronics, acoustic improvisation, solo laptop, radio art, and video. Her solo pieces for violin and electronics combine a classical music background with extended technique and digital processing. As a free improviser, she has performed and recorded with musicians internationally. Her work has been seen at venues which include the Issue Project Room, and Alternative Museum New York City, Galerie Mario Mazolli, Sowieso, and Quiet Cue in Berlin, the Room Series, Meridian Gallery, and Center for New Music in San Francisco, and the Center for Contemporary Experimental Art in Yerevan, Armenia. Thea is a former member of the Berkeley Symphony orchestra where she played under Kent Nagano for ten years. For more information visit www.theafarhadian.com

Dean Santomieri composes and performs using electric resonator guitars in non-standard tunings. Stylistically his playing is most closely associated with the modern classical avant-garde and is characterized by a loose compositional framework that allows for improvisatory explorations. Since 2011 he has been playing and recording with violinist Thea Farhadian, in the Santomieri-Farhadian Duo. He also regularly performs as a spoken word artist, usually with musical accompaniment. His stories and poems are inspired by music, dreams, the visual arts, word games and intentionally misheard/misread items from radio and newspapers. In addition to performing with various improvisers, he has been a member of the groups: Donkey Boy, Malcolm Mooney and the 10th Planet, Ghost in the House, I Franzen and the Cornelius Cardew Choir. More info and recordings at: http://deansantomieri.com/

S-F Duo
Thea Farhadian and Dean Santomieri (Photo by Donald Swearingen)

Past Installations:

Yann Novak and Robert Crouch: October 18, 2019 - January 17, 2020
"Histories of the Present" is a multichannel site specific sound installation featuring field recordings from Berkeley’s urban, industrial, and natural environments interwoven with recorded multilingual texts sourced from the City of Berkeley’s municipal codes. The artists digitally processed and synthesized the sound samples to create a harmonic composition which moves through the plaza space and becomes a meditation on the contingent relationships between the array of human activity taking place in Berkeley and the area’s ecological systems. More information on the artists’ work can be found at www.yannnovak.robertcrouch.com.

Yann and Robert
Open Composers Yann Novak and Robert Crouch (Photo by Chrisopher Wormald)

 
Maggi Payne: July 18 – October 17, 2019
“Immersion—Bay Area Soundscape” is a discrete eight-channel installation using sounds of nature the artist recorded in the Bay Area over many years. The sonic environment this work creates is reminiscent of sounds that once likely existed in this very location—windstorms, thunder, rain, streams, a seashore, underwater sounds, frogs, crickets, and birds. “Immersion” follows water from storm to creek and ocean portraying nature’s water cycle, which is so critical to the life of this planet. Sounds travel both laterally and through the four pairs of speakers, providing an immersive experience for people standing still or traversing the space. For more information on the artist’s work visit www.maggipayne.com.

Maggi Image 4
Composer Maggi Payne (Photo by Brian Reinbolt)

 

Ed Campion: April 18 – July 17, 2019
"Berkeley Rain" by composer and sound artist Edmund J. Campion. “Berkeley Rain” is a site specific music composition and sound installation created for the Berkeley BART Plaza. It is a timepiece, not for telling time, but one whose mysterious sonic repetitions express a continual and immersive now. Inspired by the unifying effects of rain and resonance, the sounds drip and pulse as they spatially accompany each passer-by. This audio soundscape is thirty minutes long and repeats on the hour and half hour. The work includes singing voices from the University Chamber Choruses at UC Berkeley, led by the Director of Choral Programs, Wei Cheng. Steve Adams provided the saxophone fragments and Jeremy Wagner, from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), assisted with recording and spatial audio mixing. Edmund Campion has been active as a composer, performing artist, software developer, collaborating artist, sound artist, and educator for over 25 years. He is a Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the Director at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (www.cnmat.berkeley.edu). More information can be found at www.edmundcampion.com.

Campion
Composer Ed Campion (Photo by Alex Coughlin)

Gregory Robinson: January 18 – April 17, 2019
"The City, The Block, A Village Amongst Us…" by sound designer, composer and recording engineer Gregory Robinson is a soundscape representing the City of Berkeley's rich cultural and racial diversity, its history of political protest, and its atmosphere of creativity and artistic expression. Created for the BART plaza sound poles, Robinson's audio composition weaves together an array of evocative sounds taking listeners on an auditory journey of the city through sound.

Greg Robinson
Composer Gregory Robinson (Photo by Erica Deeman) 

Chris Brown: October 18, 2018 – January 17, 2019
The first sound art installation presented on the plaza was an original site-specific composition by local composer and electronic musician, Chris Brown, called "Flow in Place" which is comprised of field recordings of musical performances and natural and urban environments from around the world. These recordings were shuffled together into sequences that accompany the movement of people heading from the BART station entrance through the plaza, suggesting conversations and connections between distant places and global environments. More information on Brown and these recordings is available at: http://cbmuse.com 

Chris Brown
Composer Chris Brown (Photo by Lenny Gonzales)

Upcoming installations:   
Danny Clay                                            
Margaret Noble                                      
Spiritual Technologies                            
Jim McKee                                              

TEMPORARY SCULPTURE
A large-scale sculpture called “Home” by Berkeley-based artist Michael Christian is on display until June 2022. Home resembles an oversized desktop globe. It is made up of multiple layers of steel with cutout imagery of street maps from around the world evoking the interconnectedness of all people and places around the world. Home was originally created for Burning Man, but has gone on to have a life beyond the desert art festival. For more information on Michael Christian's work: http://michaelchristian.com/ 

Bart Plaza Home Photo
Photo of Michael Christian's sculpture, Home

LIVE PERFORMANCES
The plaza also showcases music performances, as well as other community and cultural presentations. Through a collaboration with the Downtown Business Association and with support from the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission, this cultural activation program (called "Berkeley LIVE!") is being produced with the guiding principles of "equity, quality, community and frequency" and is managed initially by Berkeley-based Taylor Street Productions.
Link to Berkeley Live! website 

Artists who are interested in performing as part of the Berkeley LIVE! Program are invited to submit an application here (Click on "Perform on the Plaza" link): http://ontheplaza.downtownberkeley.com/  

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