The Convent Arts Collective
signal:noise art show

Signal:Noise Art Show

Art Show Opening at The Convent: Friday, October 7, 2016 — 6pm-10pm

An exploration of sound as material.

As abstract and concrete.

As form and function.

As silence and noise.

As experience and object.

As conceptual and physical.

As living and dying.

As the origin and the end.

World of Silence/World of Noise

In Vedic literature, the syllable Om or Aum is ascribed various meanings including the sacred sound, the Udgitha (song of the universe), the infinite, the all encompassing, the whole world, the truth, the ultimate reality, the finest essence, the cause of the Universe, the essence of life, the Brahman, the Atman, the vehicle of deepest knowledge, and Self-knowledge. These vast interpretations testify to the prominence of sound and music in the Eastern world. Of course, Western religion also places a high value on sound (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- John 1:1) that is if we equate word with the spoken sound rather than its visual written counterpoint. We can do this because speech predates language and indeed some spoken languages that exist today continue to have no written counterpart. So here, thousands of years apart in distinct and diverse cultures we find the belief in an original sound, an origin in noise.

Indian music relies heavily on the drone, typically produced by the tambura, a long-necked plucked string instrument. This instrument provides no melodies but instead is played in a continuous cycle in order to provide a harmonic backdrop for other solo instruments. The sound it creates is both dynamic and static, due to the fact that while it is played without variation, the sound it creates interacts harmonically with other tones sung or played by the soloist. Indian music then can be said to be built on a continuous layer of sound which the melody exists within and interacts with rather than the Western additive system of musical composition which begins at silence and ends at noise. Indian music begins in noise.

If we extend the metaphor of the drone to our experience of living we can say that rather than living in a silent world beset by sound (“All I want is some peace and quiet!”) we are living in a world of noise; noise which can be filtered and tuned into infinite combinations and permutations. We are working with what is already there, in the hum of traffic or the sound of the earth. There is no silence. Even our ear is a sculpting tool, cutting away at frequencies to hear but a narrow spectrum of all possible sound. Music or sound-art is the highlighting and excising of this sonic material like a spotlight in a dark field or the whittling of a walking stick out of a full and rugged tree branch.

There is nothing to look for, for it is already there.

-Gray Tolhurst, San Francisco, 2016


Rickey Lee Bauman
Paul Clipson
Rich DDT
Neeti Fidurko
Mike Finklea
Katherine Franklin
Gabriel Gold
Rose Hartley
Lucy Kang
Chris Latina
Matt Ligon
Taylor McElroy
Ana Montenegro
Papa Bear
Melanie Pietch
Faith Rawson
Ariella Robinson
Kolby Rowland
Theodore Slavin
Synchroton Media Research Laboratory
Gray Tolhurst
Kaitlin Trataris


Rickey Lee Bauman

Obliging a trans-personal theory of time, Rickey’s installation explores the synchronic relationship that Charles Dickens’ The Chimes has had with his ancestry.  He has assembled various heirlooms and photographs and re-published The Chimes in a unique hand-bound edition to create a living backdrop for his story, which begins in 1844 when the book was first published.  His great-grandmother, Verna (who receives dedication in the re-publication), holds a special place in the story as she carries The Chimes still further into the 20th century when she names her own son Richard after a character in the book.  Having thus shown how events over the course of time come to resonate with the present, this installation’s keynote piece will be an antique 19th century iron bell.  A single-tonal note produced by this bell when struck symbolizes the installation in its entirety.


Rich DDT


Explore the creative possibilities of that most familiar of musical instruments: the human voice. Wearing headphones, speak or sing into one of the microphones to hear your voice affected; your partner on the other side of the table will also hear you. Press the illuminated pads and slide your finger over the trackpad to drastically alter the pitch, tone, and character of the sounds coming out of your mouth. The tabletop spectrogram displays a graphical representation of the music you create.

by Rich DDT & John Brian Kirby

Neeti Fidurko

So many ways to see a person.
So many ways to hear a person.
So many ways to be a person.
So many ways to perceive a person.

Several mini self-portraits compose this large audiovisual self-portrait.

Tree in the Sky

Katherine Franklin

Gabriel Gold

Receding, 2016 / mixed-media sculptural installation

View ^ Within; a glimpse from within the heart of a glacier. 2016 / photography
Voice ^ Within; song and spirit from the receding, sacred glaciers of Iceland. 2016 / audio installation

The aim of the project is to express an emotive voice for the impact of global warming on the glaciers of Iceland as well as highlight the sacred, powerful and yet delicate nature of the glaciers. My means of doing so is through a piece composed of a collection of recordings I made in ice caps in multiple glaciers throughout Iceland when I was there in February; of natural sounds of the glacier and solo musical explorations that were coupled with long periods of meditation inside the ice caves.

– The music recordings were made in Iceland in Feb 2016, inside glacial ice caves.
– According to a number of researchers and local experts it is likely that these ice caves will melt permanently within the next decade due to rising temperatures caused by global warming
– The intention behind the project is to help give a voice to natural sacred spaces threatened by global warming and societal ignorance.
– My process consisted of a pilgrimage onto the glacier to reach the caves, inside of which I set up my instruments and recorders and mediated until I could feel the melodies emerging, playing and singing them into being. The final piece is a compilation of three such musical prayers.
– The background cracking/thunder-like sounds are recordings of the calving (structural collapse) of an arctic glacier that I added to the piece to help give an additional voice to the power and pain present in the glacier’s receding.
“Music that moves one to journey through both the deep joy and sorrows of the Soul.” 
Gabriel Gold is a San Francisco, CA, USA based sound healer, composer & acoustical researcher, specializing in the study of sacred resonant spaces.
Gabriel’s current work is founded on inspiring deeper connections to “sacred spaces” around the world, both natural and manmade and to help bring awareness to the need to protect them.
A selection of Gabriel’s past works include; his latest album “Halo”, recorded in sacred resonant places throughout the world; his “Healing Voice” workshops and singing circles, through which he has personally supported thousands of people on the journey of developing a spiritual and fulfilling relationship to their singing voices; the musical score for four feature length ballets with Labayen Dance Co. and Mudita Arts Ballet; the musical score for “Praṇām”, renowned yoga teacher Sianna Sherman’s internationally acclaimed yoga DVD; the live musical score for “Yoga on the Labyrinth”, a weekly, 700+ student yoga class taught by renowned yoga teacher Darren Main in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral; a 4 month tour of Australia as a featured member of Grand Mother Drum, a transnational group of musicians and healers, working in and fundraising for Aboriginal communities through performance, teaching, and ceremony; “Communion”, a ritual-performance in the De Young Museum’s “Three Gems” (architectural artist James Turrell’s resonant sculptural dome); a ritual-performance inside France’s Chartres Cathedral.

Rose Hartley

And There Was Light

In collaboration with:

Emiel Harmsen: Technical realization

Joshua Cook: Narration and audio

David Goedicke: Additional audio

Inspired by: “And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran: Blind Hero of the French Resistance” by Jacques Lusseyran

Sight, the predominant sense for most of us, is so fragile and yet we rely on it so heavily. We are so deeply reliant on our eyes to orient ourselves, physically in our surroundings and emotionally in relation to others and ourselves.

Our vision is created through colors, a spectrum of light running from one direction to another, only a portion of which we can see. We call this visible light. But what of the light we cannot see? What is beyond our sight? And if we close our eyes, or lose them – what can we “see” without our sight?

When contemplating creating a non-visual art piece for this show I thought immediately of the blind French Resistance fighter, Jacques Lusseyran, who, though not sighted was resplendent with vision. Translated from French in his autobiography: “Without my eyes light was so much more stable than it had been with them… I saw the whole world in light, existing through it and because of it. Colors, all the colors of the rainbow, also survived.”

This colored light would guide Lusseyran through The Volunteers of Liberty, the Resistance group he founded and led beginning at age 17, and for which he successfully recruited hundreds of French men and women, based on the light they “emitted” and the truth in their voices. Light guided him in turn through his arrest and imprisonment in Buchenwald, and torture by the Gestapo. He survived the camp, and eventually recorded his experiences in his autobiography, “And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran: Blind Hero of the French Resistance”, beginning with the moment he lost his sight and gained his vision.

His work inspires me to ask, what do you see when you close your eyes? What truth do you find there? What sort of light can you see then?

Lucy Kang
Orphan Talk

The world is littered with scraps of orphan talk.
They flit and float into the sky,
Roaming the earth for welcoming ears,
Before dissipating in tiny, disappointed puffs of smoke.
We are drowning in words and letters.
They press on us,
Invisibly and unnoticed,
Until the burden of all their
Unheard meanings
Weigh down on the world –
And logic and order collapse into insensate anarchy.
Words, words, words
Fill the space around us.
Beautiful words. Cruel words.
Words to live by.
Words to kill.

We live in a world of endless and constant communication.

There is no way to opt out from this chatter in the cities. But we only have so much listening power. That renders the majority of the words around us impotent and meaningless, drifting off in an ether of lost signals.

As a radio producer, I record and listen to hours of scenes and conversations across a spectrum of topics. I sometimes wonder what happens to the words that I record but never use. Do they feel disappointment?

These are the words that were entrusted to me, plucked from their original contexts, and layered together in a sea of sea of disparate thoughts, feelings and sounds.

Matt Ligon
Oscilloscope Synthesizer

With the oscilloscope synthesizer, the user is able to generate sound waveforms defined by the shape of a physical object. Optical feedback is utilized to cause the oscilloscope beam to trace the contour of the object placed in front of the screen. This allows direct and interactive waveform manipulation.

Papa Bear
Teufelsberg In Flux pts. 1-3

These recordings are an exploratory improvisation in sound and physical space. They were captured on the outskirts of Berlin in Teufelsberg, an abandoned NSA spy station turned graffiti mecca.  Used as a listening station, the dome that sits atop this hill provides a surreal experience for anyone that enters, as the audio pathways completely disorients/distorts ones common relationship to space and sound.  One can hear massive extensions via natural delay and reverb, making the space feel gigantic… yet a whisper can be heard from across the room, creating an incredibly intimate environment.  Using found objects, instruments, and voices, we made this room our playground.  These are the raw recordings, untouched.

Melanie Piech
Sound Machine, 2016

Sound Machine is a metal box constructed from 3/16” steel plate and housing 12 sound cards. The sound cards each contain less than 20 seconds of a single type of noise recorded by the artist. The viewer accesses these noises by plugging an attached phono plug into any one of 12 phono jacks on the front of the piece. The noise on the sound card connected to the chosen jack plays through the speaker hidden in the attached can. The dimensions of the piece are 16”L x 12 .”D x 15 .”H (or 4”H when closed).

Through its title, Sound Machine alludes to the time machine and the notion that a physical mechanism can transport one to a different place or point in time. Sound Machine attempts to do this through memories triggered by its nondescript fragments of sound. While these sounds are not listener specific, one cannot help but access memory banks to try to identify the sound or source. In its form, Sound Machine also suggests the complicated and varied means we employ to preserve our memories: it folds to be portable, but is only awkwardly so, remaining bulky and heavy and with cords dangling; once set down, it then needs to be unfolded and activated to access its contents; and those contents are only prompts for moments that cannot be recreated. Its parts reference old-fashioned means of hearing and listening. Its vertical panel of phono plugs hint at the telephone operators of years ago, while its can on a string, old-fashioned children’s listening games.

Faith Rawson
Stephen’s Flower, for six Walkmans

Stephen’s Flower is an interpretation of Stephen Rawson’s future coming-out story as told by Faith Rawson.

Ariella Robinson

Diner Piece, multimedia installation

Untitled (Dancing), video

Kolby Rowland
Untitled, 2016

On the roof of The Convent will be eight infrared door-entry chimes installed atop a concrete pillar. These sensors will reorganize the space they occupy through the construction of invisible boundaries, triggered only by the audience’s physical movement. The chimes will magnify the panopticonical quality of the building’s architecture, and will demarcate entirely new zones from this point. This work is concerned with notions of privilege, subjectivity, accessibility, and experience as they relate to art viewing. It rehearses, and faintly inverts, the model of the Victorian panopticon, producing a one-note imageboard which registers only the movement of its occupants.

Synchroton Media Research Laboratory
Untitled, 2016

Audiovisual noise in the basement.



Theo Slavin
Taylor McElroy
Dead Alleys
Chris Latina & Mike Finklea
Faith Rawson
Rich DDT
Paul Clipson
Gabriel Gold
Gray Tolhurst

Paul Clipson

LIGHTHOUSE (2015) 16mm film, 5 minutes, color/B&W, music by King Midas Sound / Fennesz
A study of surfaces, figurative and metaphysical, with various levels and planes of a city combined and superimposed to become visual echoes, suggesting an animated city of grids, graphs, geometries and lines: layers of subterranean streets and shadows evoking multiple levels of consciousness. Filmed in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong. An unintentional homage to Saul Bass.
Paul Clipson is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who often collaborates with sound artists and musicians on films, live performances, and installations. His Super 8 and 16mm films aim to bring to light visual preoccupations that reveal themselves while working in a stream of consciousness manner, combining densely layered, in-camera edited studies of figurative and abstract environments, in a process that encourages unplanned-for results, responding to and conversing with the temporal qualities of musical composition and live performance. His work has screened around the world in festivals and at sound and film events such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The New York Film Festival, and the Cinémathèque Française.
Inline image
Filming a chrysalis in Oakland on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016.

Dead Alleys

The Dead Alleys is a cultural experiment performed in a dadaist fashion by Ana Montenegro and Kaitlin Trataris. Through their performance of songs they are both drawn to and don’t understand, they explore the way in which music is transformed, transferred and transversed when dislocated from its original context and/or language.

Gabriel Gold

Voice ^ Within, performance in conversation with audio installation of the same name located in the confessional booth.

Instrumentation: Voice and Crystal Singing Bowls.

Chris Latina + Mike Finklea

Striations + Article Collection collaboration
Video + Performance

Striations is Mike Finklea of Nefarious Activities label. Finklea works with sheet metal and synthesis pulling from a long history of industrial and power electronics styles.

Chris Latina’s Article Collection moniker employs generative and algorithmic techniques using custom built software and hardware, focusing on the intersection of natural and synthetic acousmatic phenomena. Latina is one half of label and ambient power electronics outfit Private Archive.

Rich DDT


Wet FX submersion.

Taylor McElroy

Cause and Effect of Error

This piece explores the physical exchange between man and machine as the written word is digitized, compressed, exported, effected, and then projected into a physical space.

By providing information through performance, the piece highlights the imperfect nature of the human element; represented through the redundant process of manipulation and improvised performance.

Contrasting against the perfected means of technology used to perform the piece results in a sonically altered state, emphasizing the importance of physicality in the musical process.

Faith Rawson

Lullaby for my Lover (Lullaby for my Mother)

This is a sound performance piece about the relationship I share with my mother and femininity as a source of comfort in both the familial and sexual aspects of my queer identity. I have a recorded element (ideally played over a loud speaker in a near empty room full of idle wandering spectators) that is an abstracted atonal version of an intimate lullaby composed of each lullaby that was sung to me as an infant. There is also a live element to the piece. I hum a counter melody and slowly ruminate throughout the people of the room creating an intensely meditative enviornment in which the lines between digital and live interactive sound remain completely ambiguous

Theo Slavin
I’m just here because my friends are

I’m just here because my friends are rearranges the purpose of performance within the audience/performer dynamic and troubles the validity of that space through sound as a physical object. Inspired in part by David Fair’s essay “How To Play Guitar”, this piece is composed as a solo, electrified guitar performance, 2 minutes or less. Anyone can play it anywhere.

Gray Tolhurst
Sun Cycle

Sun Cycle is a collage of sounds mined from found cassette tapes. These tapes were found at garage sales, thrift stores, and in my basement. They contain disparate materials: from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake to instructional meditation recordings to early blues and unidentifiable cassettes .Through an improvisatory performance I hope to act as a sonic archaeologist: (re)arranging, distorting, and illuminating commonalities and feedback loops between vastly different audio sources. This piece explores the role of the artist as archivist and contends with the vast amount of material that threatens to bury us in cultural and physical noise. The title alludes to both the cycles that signal the beginning and end of each “day” and the nascent possibility of the end of human beings and systems of production.

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