skip to main content

Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2018 / May 

Enter an evocative world of sound art with five leading artists in experimental music and multi-channel sound

May 14, 2018

Sound artist Jana Winderen
Sound artist Jana Winderen field recording in Iceland. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Moss Arts Center’s Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery becomes an immersive listening space, filled with the work of five leading artists from the world of experimental music and multi-channel sound, for its newest exhibition “SoundScapes.”

Curated by internationally-acclaimed sound artist Stephen Vitiello, “SoundScapes” opens with a reception on May 17 from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the Moss Arts Center, located at 190 Alumni Mall. Vitiello will deliver a curator talk about “SoundScapes” during the opening reception at 6 p.m. in the Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery.

The exhibition invites audiences to experience an evocative world of sound art. Created by artists representing four countries, “SoundScapes” spotlights each artist’s unique approach to the art of sound. Featuring a range of acoustical experiences, the exhibition includes a mixture of field recordings, voice, broken records/turntable, found sounds, and digital and analog synthesis.

The artists featured in “SoundScapes” were hand-picked by Vitiello for the Moss Arts Center. An electronic musician, sound and media artist, and professor of kinetic imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University, Vitiello’s installations, performances, photographs, and drawings have been exhibited around the world in museums, galleries, and public spaces. He is interested in the physical aspect of sound and its potential to define the form and atmosphere of a spatial environment.

“SoundScapes” will feature work from these artists:

Olivia Block

  • Based in Chicago, Illinois, Block is a composer and media artist who creates multimedia installations and performances using found sounds from micro-cassette tapes, curated 35 mm slides, and videos. At present, she is interested in site specificity, architecture, and ethnographic sound and uses archival and found materials from the mid-to-late 19th century in her current work.  Blocks’ compositions feature a variety of sounds, including field recordings, chamber instruments, and electronic textures.

Maria Chavez

  • A sound artist, abstract turntablist, and DJ from Lima, Peru, and currently based in New York City, Chavez creates sound sculptures, installations, and solo turntable performances that incorporate chance, accident, coincidence, and failure as integral components. She leads workshops around the world on her turntable practice and has written a book on her method of abstract turntablism. Chavez was also one of the performers for last year's Cube Fest, which is presented by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the Moss Arts Center.

Marcus Fischer

  • Fischer is an interdisciplinary artist and musician currently based in Portland, Oregon. Incorporating themes of memory and geography in his work, slowly unfolding melodies and warm tape-saturated drones have become a trademark of his recordings and live performances. His work has been featured in multimedia installations and short films, as well as on the popular public radio program “Radiolab.” Fischer was recently an artist-in-residence for the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, where he completed his most recent album, “Loss” (2017).  He has also worked with the New York-based experimental record label 12k and released photographic and sonic collaborations with the label’s founder Taylor Deupree. 

Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner

  • Scanner is a London-based electronic artist known for his use of police scanners and phone signals, choosing words and messages to use in his compositions. A composer who experiments with sound, space, and image, Scanner creates multilayered sound pieces that manipulate technology in unconventional ways and connect a diverse array of genres. Though intensely active in sonic art, Rimbaud also produces concerts, installations, and recordings, and his work has been presented throughout the U.S., South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Jana Winderen

  • An artist, curator, and producer from Oslo, Norway, Winderen researches the hidden depths of the world with experimental microphones, focusing on audio environments and ecosystems that are difficult for humans to access. Her work reveals the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world beneath. She works to find and reveal sounds from hidden sources and places difficult to access, such as the coral reefs and ice crevasses. Her work, including immersive multichannel sound installations and concerts, has been featured in major institutions and public spaces in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

As part of the exhibition’s opening reception, Ben Knapp, director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, and Kevin Concannon, director of the School of Visual Arts, will speak about some of the works created by celebrated composer, musician, and performance artist Laurie Anderson and reflect on experiences they had working with the famed artist and her collaborators. “Invented Instruments,” an exhibition featuring a selection of the artist’s invented musical instruments and unusual musical scores, is currently on view in the Moss Arts Center’s Ruth C. Horton Gallery. Knapp and Concannon will present the talk in the gallery at 5:30 p.m. on May 17.

“SoundScapes” and “Invented Instruments,” along with “ICAT: Open (at the) Source,” compose a suite of exhibitions highlighting various aspects of the art of sound. These exhibitions will coincide with the 2018 international conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), which will be held at Virginia Tech on June 3-6.

The Moss Arts Center’s galleries and all related events are free and open to the public. The galleries are regularly open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kacy@vt.edu during regular business hours.

Contact: