Description of Works in Andrea Williams Video Reel 2019: 1. Sanderlings (2016) Created by commission for ReSound Series as part of San Francisco’s Flyway Festival 2016.
San Francisco’s Flyway Festival on Mare Island celebrates the peak bird migration in San Francisco Bay Area each year. I was asked to perform in the ReSound Series in a military bunker that is now empty. Re:Sound is an experimental music series which explores the relationship between forgotten spaces, sound abstraction and the natural environment. The series takes place on the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve, a 215-acre park that formerly served as one of the first Naval Ammunition Depots. The event is held in a concrete munitions storage magazine measuring 55'x100' with ceilings over 15'. The architecture of the building traps sound resulting in a prolonged reverberation. The sanderlings are a common bird worldwide yet they are becoming less common from beach erosion and oil spills. I posed the question: Why do we wait until a species is endangered to care so much about it? I created a piece that included a saturated black and white video of sanderlings and the San Francisco Bay near Mare Island. I performed maritime field recordings that turned bubbly and thick sounding. As the sandlerlings disappear in the video, two upside down oil drums on wooden palettes with speakers inside were activated out into the audience. A stereo bell piece was then performed as though the oil drums were bells. Water on top of the oil drums formed a vibrational pattern. I then handed out bells to the audience to perform with me as I played a sound of a heartbeat and finished with a singing bowl.
This piece was partially composed at Motel, a three-week long artist residency in Innsbruck, Austria with Glockengiesserei Grassmayr, the local bell (and singing bowl) foundry and museum, founded in 1599. I have also performed Sanderlings at Bennington College, the Albany Library Series, and at Troost in Brooklyn, NY. 2. Riverfront Park Soundwalk (2016-ongoing) Riverfront Park Soundwalk is a 20-minute artist audio tour that is part of a larger project called the Troy Waterways Project: www.listeninglistening.com/troy-waterways-project.html For the artist audio tour, participants use their mobile phones to hear a narrative of my voice guiding them on a particular route with field recordings, musical elements, and interviews with the public and water experts that overlay the actual surroundings as they walk. The content is mostly non-fiction but as members of the community told me the same myth repeatedly I included it as part of the storytelling. Sometimes silences are included for one to listen to feel past the headphones to the actual environment. These narratives are not to replicate radio or NPR with filler sound effects, but to allow one to have a greater connection in a more meditative way to their surrounding environment. At the end of the soundwalk participants are encouraged to remove the headphones and just listen totheir surroundings. The Riverfront Park Soundwalk was launched at the Rensselaer Historical Society in the Summer 2016 in Troy, NY, but it is ongoing with maps periodically distributed for the community. 3. SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams (2016/2018) Excerpts from Multimedia dance performance from May 2018 at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, NY. Premiere was October 2016 at the Chapel + Cultural Center in Troy, NY. SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams is a multi-media dance performance based on the collaborative dreams of participants of SleepWalks overnight soundscape performances. This project was supported by a Community Arts Grant by the Arts Center of the Capital Region via the New York State Council on the Arts.
SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams project includes:
1) Two SleepWalks overnight improvisational soundscape performances for the public by sound artists, Andrea Williams and Lee Pembleton (with EEG wireless headbands provided by scientist Todd Anderson) on September 2nd and September 9th, 2016 at the Chapel + Cultural Center in Troy, NY. These events were free for the public with RSVP. Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company dancers were participants of the September 9th SleepWalks.
2) A SleepWalks art exhibit of ephemera and hypnograms from the SleepWalks overnights from September 17th to October 28th at the Chapel + Cultural Center in Troy, NY.
3) SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams, a multi-media dance performance by Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company with artistic direction, video environments and sound by Andrea Williams; composition by Andrea Williams and Lee Pembleton. The 45- minute dance performance is based on the descriptions of the collaborative dreams (or strong themes that emerged) of the participants of the SleepWalks overnights.