Audioreolae Becomes an Audio Relay: Looping People, Cities and Sounds from Eastern Europe to The Western U.S. Summer 2016.

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The player stands between the Hypotenuses of two Pythagorean triangles, under an arch containing speakers. The loop creator is immersed in the sound of her loops, from above and below.  The participant’s figure is framed in a circular opening, a reference both to the circular nature of the audio loop, and to the etymology of the words “areola” (diminutive form of the Greek word for “open space”), aureole (the traditional “halo” of light around sacred figures in Medieval art) and the literal “audio relay” that is being created as the user completes the audio/visual circuit.

In 2010 I brought an interactive, musical sculpture to the Burning Man Festival called “Audioreolae” that allowed participants to experience live looping. Two “Golden” Pythagorean 3/4/5 triangles create the base for a twisted arch containing speakers. Audioreolae uses collaborative looping as a vehicle to question dichotomies such as performer/observer; front/back; now/then; beginning/end.

Over the course of 2010-2012 I installed the piece in various festivals, parks, Burning Man again, and the way people used the piece evolved…

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Audioreolae is more of a phone booth than a stage, and eventually I started leaving the last loop open for the next person to augment. Capturing authentic moments of collaborative looping works because the person or persons creating Loops are isolated from the spectators around them, but plugged into the messages left by the previous user.


The audio environment is quadsound tilted from horizontal to vertical array, and paired with ping-pong delays form “random surround sound.”  A tight sweetspot is cast at the intersection of a four channel arrangement of the speakers to create what I like to call a TAAZ:  a Temporary Autonomous Audio Zone. When one is standing inside of it, it is very loud, but also almost inaudible from the perspective of bystanders.

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This year I rebuilt the looper to collapse into itself, creating a battery-powered, 20kg package that could fly with me across Europe. In this “audio-relay,” the last loop is played first at the next site, connecting the recording sessions across both time and space.

The first activation took place at the Latvian Burn, DeJa, where from June 23-26 the sculpture stood in a field of knee-high hemp. I recorded Latvian and Lithuanian chants, as well as Ukrainian folk songs in multiple harmony looping, laughter, stories, etc.

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Next we crossed the border into Lithuania and deployed Audioreolae on the evening of June 27th in a Mescal bar in Vilnius called “Yucatan.” My crew and I were invited by our new friend Kamile, who spins as Nataraja-the cosmic dancer.  We were pickin’ up what she was puttin’ down in the DJ booth back at DeJa, so her friend opened up his bar to do a kind of improvised decompression event. He served us flights of cactahol ’til early in the morning, while Burners from the mighty Birds of Lithuania crew recorded messages for Playa.

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From there it travelled back to downtown Riga, Latvia, where on June 30th I activated it across from the statue of the mythic Latvian poet Rainis, on Esplanade park. Passers-by took a moment to say a few words to the great scribe, and others played the guitar mixed in with the voices of the plaza.

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“Ciau, Raini…”

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Cloffy serenades the poet.

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I’ve known musician/chef/Jedi Austris Silins for over Twenty years, since before Latvia was on the Euro, in NATO or had seen its first brand ambassadors. There’s a lot going on in this picture, and I can’t help but wonder what Rainis would’ve thought of it all…. ‪#‎audioreolaeurope‬‪#‎audiorelay‬ ‪#‎looping‬ ‪#‎soundsculpture‬ ‪#‎interactiveart‬ ‪#‎inwardsoundprojection‬‪#‎Riga‬ ‪#‎Rainis‬ ‪#‎esplanade‬

This was the first activation in a public park, and I didn’t get hassled at all by anyone. half a dozen folks including a few from the Baltic Burn stopped by and once again the sculpture was a decompression zone.

I left the capitol and drove East, to Cesis, where I had some art handing business to attend to at the Global Center for Latvian Art.  I camped at the base of a ski-lift across the river from the Gauja National Park, using the looper’s case as my table as I cooked dinner over a campfire.

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In the morning I swam in the Gauja river and then drove into town and later assembled a small crew to activate the looper.

We renegaded the triangle box past security into the “Lampa” conversation festival in Cesis castle park, Latvia, on July 2nd. Just as security was distracted by the political roast going down on the mainstage, I walked the Pythago case past them and just started setting up. Better to ask forgiveness than permission. Look busy. Capture sound. Repeat.

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The next stop was Nowhere, a European regional Burn held deep in the desert of Spain. Despite not being officially placed or on the map of the event, the Kunsthaus crew gave me excellent placement and art support and the piece looped dozens of individuals and groups in a variety of languages, from July 7-11th.IMG_5982




The culmination was using a variety of pickups, mics and sensors to attempt looping an unborn baby in the looper. My new friend Astride and her partner let me try -at least- to capture the sound of her baby’s heartbeat.



If we can isolate the heartbeat in the sample (which includes other music, people striking camps, using tools, etc) I’ll try to turn the little person’s bio-rhythms into a banging four-on-the floor beat for a DJ to mutate at Burning Man! On to New York, Chicago and the Big Burn, where the sculpture will have an interface that allows users to trigger the sounds of these places.


Marci Rubin – Microcosm – May 6/Artist Talk May 7, 3pm.

Pen, Ink & Song welcomes sculptor/printmaker/animal rights activist/DJ Marci Rubin for an exhibition of new and existing work called “Microcosm.”


Rubin’s process of direct printmaking on paper with fruit and ink led her to discover a basic, raw, and primary nature of creating work. Working with fruit as a material evoked questions regarding origin of cycles and phases. Utilizing fruit such as limes, grapefruits, tomatoes, apples, bananas or peaches as a material source captures the essence of the fruited body and transforms them into narratives of cellular cycles, phases, or generation. These works are a direct documentation of the lime, grapefruit, tomato, apple, banana, and peach as symbols of the cell.

“Recently my work involving the body has become political. The questions leading me to create these pieces are constituted from my interrogation of concepts such as; what is our body’s direct and indirect relationship to our environment, and how does the media and government have control of/over our bodies?” -Marci Rubin.

Marci holds an BFA from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and and an MFA from the University of Chicago. Her work was recognized with the “curator’s choice” award at Wicker Park’s legendary Around the Coyote art festival twice, and she was a winner of the Bridgeport Art Center’s 1st Annual Art Exhibition, where she was awarded Best 3D work in show.

We will be open in conjunction with Wicker Park First Fridays from 6PM-10PM May 6th, and then please join us at 3PM, Saturday, May 7th for an informal artist talk with refreshments and music.

19th Chicago Bike Winter Art Show Poster

Co-curators Steven Lane and Stuart Hall once again bring us a beautiful show based on a simple idea: ride your bike all winter. The 19th annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show returns!CBWAS2016

To me, nothing epitomizes this concept more than flying over one of Chicago’s frozen, grated bridges and looking down to see snowflakes twenty feet below you settling into the icy water of the Chicago river. Based on the Chicago Ave. Bridge. Pen; white and black ink; glass shards; digital effects. Orig. size: 11 x 14″ (2016). Available as a print-to-order.

BwB Winter Ball Poster

bwbposterFINALin 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast during the Burning Man festival. A group of Burners heard about the disaster by word of mouth and packed up their party and travelled with their gear down to the disaster site and gave what their could. From this act grew an international aid org. called Burners without Borders. BwB Chicago’s annual winter ball raises thousands to fund micro-grants on the local level. I was honored to design the poster, and in collaboration with mosaic artist Jeff Zelnio was able to give the image an icy, wintery feel by using real crushed glass. Find more of Jeff’s work at his Etsy site.

Soda Pop – Erotica Recondite: a Collection Curated by Keith Brownlee.

Join us Friday, February 5th for a celebration of erotica from a diverse group of artists, curated by Keith Brownlee.  From the Oxford English Dictionary’s entry for recondite –  Mid 17th century: from Latin reconditus ‘hidden, put away’, past participle of recondere, from re-‘back’ + condere ‘put together, secrete.’eroticareconditeChicago artist Keith Brownlee studied at the American Academy of Art, the School of the Art Institute Chicago and Columbia College. Keith has worked for 15 years in the commercial design industry and as a museum installation expert.

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From painting to sculpture, design and fabrication, Keith is a passionate teacher who loves the process of developing an idea into an artistic reality. His long and diverse resume includes opening Chicago’s Fetutio gallery, so as our guest curator at PI&S this February, he has assembled a body of work that delves into a world of erotica that is neither obvious or crass – but rather challenges the viewing audience’s preconceived notions of erotic art.

Featuring work by:

Jojo Baby
Ian Bennett
Keith Brownlee
Chris Cullner
Margaret Bobo Dancy
Karlis Kandero
Chuck Walker
Jeff Zelnio

The Flat Iron Arts building, 1579 North Milwaukee Ave. Studio#344, Pen, Ink & Song. 6- 10 pm.

The Empire Acquires … Your Childhood

The Walt Disney company is worth about $80 Billion. Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 at a valuation of about $4 Billion.


From now on, the Star Wars ‘canon’ will come to include whatever movies Disney churns out every Christmas, and Dark Horse comics will no longer publish Star Wars books – now Marvel comics will. Because Disney also acquired Marvel for about $4 Billion in 2009.

George Lucas might very well have created the most beloved fairytale of our time, and Stan Lee’s shop gave birth to the socially relevant superhero…but both companies were but little rogue ships by comparison to the Death Star that is Mickey and Co. Like the Empire we were raised to fear, Disney’s tractor beam will keep sucking up pieces of our culture. “That’s no moon…”

And speaking of moons…Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures’ films are marketed and distributed by its parent company -you guessed it- Disney.

December Guest Artist: Jeff Zelnio

Join us for December’s First Friday celebration at the Flatiron Arts Building this Friday the 4th, from 6 -10pm as we feature guest artist Jeff Zelnio, owner of the Etsy store “Pieces of my Art.”

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Jeff’s intricate mosaic work draws fans from all over the country. He makes wall pieces, fan art, switch covers, lights and much more. Jeff recently relocated to Chicago from Des Moines, where he worked for some years as a full-time artist. Jeff contributed time and effort to the Area 515 maker space in Des Moines and left his mark on the Iowa art scene before moving to our fair city.  The rest of the maze-like Flatiron will be open as well for our annual Holiday Bazaar! Food! Drink! Music! Gifts!

Flat Iron Flier xx