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Jun 212013
Still from a/v synth performance at Transcinema, 1999, Benton C. Bainbridge

Still from a/v synth performance at Transcinema, 1999, Benton C. Bainbridge

Here’s episode 104: Adventure Bomb: Projecting, a revised and expanded edition of the set I performed at Soundcrawl in collaboration with Benton-C Bainbridge’s live video projection mapping (“Fast-mapping”). Recorded at Brick Factory Nashville. Best experienced through headphones.

Adventure Bomb is my experimental “scoop & loop” solo project.  “Scoop & loop” is a performance-style that involves scooping out sections of recordings and looping them live … basically, audio juggling.

Benton-C Bainbridge is a media artist based in The Bronx, working with custom systems of his own design. Benton has presented immersive environments, screenings, installations and live performances across five continents, collaborating with scores of artists around the world. He even has a Wikipedia page! (Someone should add this collaboration!)

Soundcrawl is a sound art and new media organization led by Kyle Baker presenting works by the best and brightest new media artists and composers in a unique “opt in” gallery format.

“Projecting” is comprised of:

  • Interviews with Soundcrawl attendees. As they listened to Soundcrawl “sound art” selections via headphones, they were asked to describe what they were hearing. The central idea to this experiment was seeing if I could “map” their descriptions onto the music I was generating live.
  • Snippets of live musical performances occurring at Soundcrawl 2012.
  • Instruments performed by Adventure Bomb live, including a Casio Sk-1 keyboard, circuit-bent toys and various effects.
  • Sound effects and field recordings from Freesound.org. Freesound aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, etc … released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse. Listeners are encouraged to donate to Freesound.

The interviewees (in order of appearance):

  • Lesley Beeman
  • Unknown (Let me know if you can identify this person)
  • Antonia Oakes
  • Joe Nolan
  • Tony Youngblood
  • Ilana Morgan
  • Ryan Hogan
  • Unknown (Let me know if you can identify this person)

The 2012 Soundcrawl performers sampled (in alphabetical order):

  • Jason Fick
  • Timothy Harenda
  • Ilana Morgan
  • Adam Vidiksis
  • Sally Williams
  • Mark Zanter

Freesound.org collaborators and the names of the samples used:

Big thanks to the participants and to the Freesound artists! Thanks for listening!

Apr 282013

Fort Houston's woodshop

Fort Houston’s woodshop

Nashville’s art scene has been exploding the last few years, and with expansion comes growing pains. The new Fort Houston creative facility (formerly Brick Factory and Zombieshop) in the NoHo arts district needs your help! They’ve been making enormous strides since they began renovations in November. They now have a full-service woodshop with brand new equipment, a print shop, a mechanical shop, an art gallery, a moped-service shop, a classroom/meeting room, performance stage and 30-plus shared and dedicated work desks. As with all business remodels, the renovations and code clearances are taking longer than originally anticipated. Once they finalize these issues, Fort Houston will be able to hold more events with the confidence that they won’t get shut down on a code technicality. You can help.

The Nashville Arts Coalition recently sent out a list of things we can do to help our growing arts community, including a letter-writing campaign to the mayor, your council district representative, (and in Fort Houston’s case, district representative Sandra Moore). In these letters, specifically mentioning Fort Houston and the NoHo arts district (NOrth of Houston St) will be a MAJOR help.

[UPDATE 05/02/2013. There was some confusion about whether or not the letters should address the city codes. They should not. My original letter was vague, and I updated it below, excising the bit about the codes. If you haven’t sent yours out yet, don’t mention the codes. Just tell a story about an art organization in Nashville and tie it in to budgeting dollars for Nashville arts funding.]

As an example, I’m including the letter I wrote to Mayor Karl Dean at the end of this blog post.

Stage and multi-use area

Stage and multi-use area

Here are some excerpts from the Arts Coalition e-mail:

1. Send a handwritten note to the mayor thanking him for his support for the arts.

His address:
Mayor Karl Dean
100 Metro Courthouse
Nashville, TN 37201

2. Send handwritten notes to the councilperson

in the district(s) where you do business and where you live plus all At-Large members and Budget and Finance Committee members thanking them for their support/reminding them of the role the arts play in Nashville’s cultural vitality.

[Fort Houston’s council member contact info:

District 17 Council Member Sandra Moore
916 Benton Avenue
Nashville, TN 37204

(615) 386-9246

Full list of Metro Council Members and addresses.

3. Get board members (and other arts enthusiasts) to write as well.

4. Attend Jen Cole’s budget presentation at Metro Council on May 14 at 5 p.m. (arrive by 4:45 p.m.)

Metro Courthouse, Second Floor, One Public Square.

Parking is available in the garage under the public square

(entrance on James Robertson Parkway).

5. Attend the public hearing on the budget in June (date to come).

6. Get involved in NashvilleNext meetings.

It is important that the voices of artists and arts organizations are included in all aspects of the city’s plan for the next 25 years.


Some of you requested help with messaging.  Your authentic voice is always the most compelling, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Thank them for their support of the arts and Metro Arts funding.
  • Tell a story at the heart of your mission that shows why Metro Arts funding matters (or include a press clipping highlighting your important work).
  • Discuss the role the arts are playing in Nashville’s status as one of America’s most creative cities.
  • Funding for Metro Arts is an investment in the vitality of our city.

Here are a few facts if you need them:

  • In Nashville last year, more than 3 million citizens accessed the arts through Metro Arts funded partners, direct events and projects.
  • Metro Arts grantee organizations provide jobs, vital education and a competitive edge we need to continue to be at the forefront of America’s creative communities.
  • Nearly 80% of the Metro Arts budget goes to grants that support art education and public access to art.  Jen Cole and Metro Arts Commission are great stewards of limited dollars.
  • A new NEA study indicates that kids in the lowest socio-economic cluster who have regular, quality arts exposure are twice as likely to graduate from high school and go to college. Metro Arts helped more than 1 million young people participate in the arts last year alone.

Any questions?  Contact Nashville Arts Coalition.

Configurable gallery space

Configurable gallery space

Here’s my letter to the mayor:


April 27th, 2013

Mayor Karl Dean
100 Metro Courthouse
Nashville, TN 37201

Dear Mayor Dean,

I’d like to thank you for your continued support of the arts in Nashville. During the past 7 years, I’ve seen the local art scene expand at an unbelievable rate. As a local musician, podcaster and blog writer, I can tell you our city is not the place it was in 2006. Nashville is rapidly developing a reputation as one of America’s most creative cities. We have amazing new performance venues such as Jack White’s Third Man Records, Marathon Music Works, The High Watt and The Stone Fox. We have a vibrant visual arts scene with an incredible downtown art crawl the first Saturday of every month. Nashville Arts Magazine and ArtsNash.com spotlight local artists. We have community workshops and creative spaces such as Fort Houston Nashville, Hacker Consortium and the Middle Tennessee Robotics Arts Society empowering people to make things for themselves. In September of this year, The Adventure Science Center and Make Nashville (of which I am a member) will host the city’s first ever Maker Faire. The Nashville Film Festival and the Belcourt Theatre help spotlight our growing film community. Nashville’s indie rock scene continually brings us national coverage, and for the first time in a long time, tourist and new residents are flocking here for more than just Country Music. It’s an exciting time to be an artist in Nashville.

I truly believe the national attention Nashville has been receiving is due to the cumulative effort of passionate individuals building things for themselves. The Fort Houston creative space in the burgeoning NoHo (NOrth of HOuston St.) arts community is one such example. Two years ago, a handful of dreamers recognized Nashville’s lack of community workshops and creative spaces. So they built one themselves. With very little money, they founded Brick Factory Nashville in the Cummins Station complex. Brick Factory quickly became a vital space for cutting-edge and experimental art and music performances. I worked with the Brick Factory founders to put on the 2012 Circuit Benders’ Ball, a daylong celebration of hardware hacking, art, music and the creative spirit. The event featured electronics workshops for all ages, interactive art installations and a dozen multimedia performances. We received positive press in local and national media, including a Nashville Scene article, which I am including with this letter.

In November of last year, those same dreamers relocated to a larger space on Houston Street behind the Chestnut Building. (Both Fort Houston and my own residence lie within Sandra Moore’s District 17.) Combining forces with the mechanical shop Zombie Shop Nashville, they rebranded themselves Fort Houston.  In just five months, they turned a vacant and aging warehouse into a full-service creative facility with amenities including a woodshop with brand new equipment, a print-making shop, a mechanical shop, an art gallery, a moped-service shop, a classroom/meeting room, performance stage and 30-plus work desks. They host workshops ranging from aerial dance to 3D printing to homebrewing.

Mayor Dean, I firmly believe that with your support, the NoHo arts community can become to Nashville what SoHo is to New York City. The area currently houses Zeitgeist Art Gallery and Architecture Firm, the 100-plus-year-old Chestnut Building artist studio complex, Infinity Cat Records, the 60-plus-year-old United Records Pressing, Ovio Arte, Threesquared Art Gallery, Seedspace Art Gallery, Louis Cage Glass-Blowing Studio, The Adventure Science Center, Nashville Sounds Stadium, Fort Negley historical park and so much more. I know you are an enthusiastic supporter of Metro Arts funding, and I thank you for that. I was present at the Marathon Music Works Wanda Jackson show when you spoke to the crowd about the importance of Nashville’s arts community. Thank you for everything that you do.

For your convenience, I am also sending an electronic version of this letter to mayor@nashville.gov.


Tony Youngblood
Editor, TheatreIntangible.com

Enclosures (1): Circuit Benders’ Ball at Brick Factory, 9/29/12, Nashville Scene

Meeting room and workshop area

Meeting room and workshop area

Greg Pond's Arduino workshop

Greg Pond’s Arduino workshop

Feb 202013

Greg Pond Fort Houston Classes
Greg Pond — installation artist, hacker, filmmaker, musician and Associate Professor of Art at University of the South in Sewanee — will be conducting four maker workshops at the newly-minted Fort Houston in March. Fort Houston is the brand new creative space and community workshop at 500 Houston Street in Nashville, a joint project by the entities formerly known as Brick Factory and Zombieshop.

The new facility is located directly behind Chestnut Studios and a stone’s throw from the new Zeitgeist Gallery location (opening sometime in the next few months). Noa Noa house/Theatre Intangible headquarters is a short walk away. The neighborhood, which also houses Infinity Cat Records, United Records Pressing, and the new Cotten Music Center, is shaping up to be Nashville’s own little SoHo (which, fittingly, is short for SOuth of HOuston Street). Since our action is mostly north of Houston, we may have to go with NoHo.

Greg Pond’s classes will be among the first taught at the new facility. His classes are of special interest to those in the experimental music and maker communities because they highlight two of the most important technologies to impact art in the 10s: open source electronics prototyping and 3D printing. If you’re a new media or experimental artist who has never tinkered with an Arduino or printed your own designs in a 3D printer, take these classes!

Here are the class details. Learn more and buy tickets at FortHouston.com.

3D Modeling & Printing

Price: $120.00
Date: March 17, 2013, 10am to 4pm

This class will provide the foundations for using SketchUp CAD software to generate 3D models that can be printed on a Makerbot 3D printer. We will begin by learning to design 3D models in SketchUp, providing an overview of the basic tools, best practices for design and how to install program extensions called plugins. The second half of the class will focus on techniques for drawing models in SketchUp that can be output as physical plastic model. We will work through a series of exercises that will yield 3D prints for you to keep.

Beginner level course, no experience necessary

3D Printing Open Lab

Price: $30.00
Date: March 17, 2013, 5pm to 8pm

This session is open to anyone who has some basic experience making 3D models in any CAD software who wants to learn how to or refine their models for export and 3D printing. We will share projects, ideas and questions as well as work on individual projects. Participants should bring their own laptop computer with the CAD software of choice. This session is designed for those who have at least a basic working knowledge of their CAD software such as SketchUp, Rhino, SolidWorks, or Meshlab and want assistance with designing and refining objects for 3D printing. We will print objects from participants or demonstration models during this session.

Introduction to Arduino

Price: $120.00
Date: March 23, 2013, 10am to 4pm

In Introduction to Arduino, students will explore using Arduino, an open-source micro-controller that allows the user to create interactive machines, otherwise known as physical computing. Students will leave this class with a better understanding of Arduino and a set of tools and parts that can be used for any future projects. No prior experience is necessary for this class. All participants are required to bring their own laptop with the free Arduino software installed and ready to use.

NOTE: Registration will close 1 week prior to this class to make sure all materials are ordered and arrive on time. This does not apply to Arduino Lab or 3D Modeling & Printing.

Arduino Lab

Price: $30.00,
Date: March 23, 2013, 5pm to 8pm

For those of you wishing to take the next step your projects, this Arduino Lab session is the perfect opportunity to share/develop your concepts within a group. This class is for those individuals looking to expand their knowledge of Arduino. Learn to connect Arduino to Processing or Pure Data. Those who enroll will get to experiment with some equipment during the session (extra sensors, motor shields, etc.) and all participants will be happy to know this class is BYOB. If there is a specific topic or project you would like to learn more about during this session, it is a good idea to contact Greg Pond (gregpond@gmail.com) in advance in order to get the most out the lab session.

Nov 032012

If you give most 1st Saturday Art Crawls a skip, consider making tonight an exception! For one, tonight is the last aftercrawl party to take place at Brick Factory’s Cummins Station location. They’re already in the process of moving to the neighborhood which houses Chestnut Studios, Infinity Cat Records, United Records Pressing, and house venue Noa Noa. I scoped out the new digs yesterday afternoon, and the space is MUCH larger than the Cummins Station pad. There are multiple rooms, making way for a dedicated wood shop, art gallery, photography studio, stage, and much more. I can’t wait until Brick Factory opens to the public again!

For two, tonight’s Art Crawl features the intriguing “temporary hyper-reality” environ Jerkwater Burg. An experiment by local artists including members of Blacktooth Records, Square People, and Fly Golden Eagle, the Burg will take over Open Gallery in the downtown Arcade tonight from 6pm to 9pm. I’ve been incorrectly pronouncing and spelling it “Jerkwater BUG” until this very moment. In fact, I had to correct the spelling in all the spots I wrote it above. Is the Burg already screwing with my mind?!?!

I can’t do any better than the description on the Facebook event page:

The evening of November 3, Open Gallery will play host to an environment built up of corporeal experience. ‘Jerkwater Burg’ is the collaboration of Nashville artists, under the guise of Blacktooth Records (in the archival sense), who work in varying mediums, combining their abilities in order to manipulate multiple senses with the hope of wholly influencing and enhancing the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of its audience. It is not a gallery showcase, but a temporary hyper-reality, designed to encourage its inhabitants to feel something new, something strange.

In ‘Jerkwater Burg’ an attempt is made to house an environment not unlike what Alan Watts described as, “the experiencer and the experience becoming a single, ever-changing, self-forming process,” one where the situation is familiar – semiotically, artistically, etc. – but unlike the unification of the place and person, we desire a slight discomfort with what we call the Arpeggio of Meaning while still holding belief in the singular experience. Magical. Curious. Off-putting. Inviting. A kind of forcing of an unconscious suspension of disbelief.Our idle frustration with our own inability to project a concrete meaning on experiences is fascinating to us, and in our current age we think that many others feel the same. Perhaps it is that these affects exist entirely outside of logistics. We invite you to explore ‘Jerkwater Burg’.You may accidentally find yourself in the middle of Jihad or adorning yourself with Mimosa in the springtime. Perhaps you’ll discover your lover to be too coquettish in this space, or that all your friends are a pale mutiny of dispossessed voidoids hatched in a misty somewhere between fictive and mundane. And we know you’ll want to help – we do too, that’s the idea – but we can’t help, and we view all these attempts at meaning as banging your head against a wall: it’s nice when it stops.The more unsure we are of the exact spacial province we’re inhabiting, the further into the ‘liminal hinterland we go. You have to know it feelingly in these ugly, mystifying times and the last thing we want to do is rest on our laurels when it comes to this slug we’re trying to salt.

Yes, I know. This could go either way. But I’m a sucker for experiential art ala St. Louis City Museum, and I’m placing my bet that this exhibit will be the most talked about Art Crawl show in a long time. The folks behind Black Tooth Records haven’t steered us wrong yet.

Jerkwater Burg
6pm-9pm, free

Open Gallery
The Arcade
244 5th Ave. N.
Nashville, TN 37219