Imagining Tellus # 28: Heard in LA

Heard in LA

A speculative audiocassette: an archaeological artifact of the present. Not available through subscription or purchase, for educational use only.

Envisaged as an audiocassette publication, The Tellus Project, produced and curated by Carol Parkinson, Joseph Nechvatal and Claudia Gould, is now considered a historic and significant archive of experimental sound, noise, performance and spoken word artists from the 1980s. The tapes included works by Sonic Youth, Louise Lawler, Elliot Sharp, Glenn Branca, Tom Cora, Fred Frith, and Spaulding Gray among others. Assembled as a series of twenty-seven audiotapes, each tape was titled with a number and a theme that reflected their sequential release and the curator’s research and intention. The tapes were compiled and distributed to their subscribers, bimonthly through the mail.

Imagining Tellus # 28 references and pays homage to this important project as an imagined twenty-eighth tape titled: Heard in LA. As curator, Tom Leeser reached beyond the project’s original focus to current artists working within the vibrant and active experimental soundscape of Los Angeles.

These new works will not be published as a cassette. However, they were exhibited at Harvestworks in New York from July 7-13 as part of the 2017 New York Electronic Art Festival. They are now archived and available for streaming online at Imagining Tellus # 28 includes emerging and mid-career artists that are exploring new forms of digitally produced sound works extracted from interdisciplinary practices that fuse poetry, electronic composition, improvised music and performance into an assemblage of beautiful antagonisms. Heard in LA injects the original collective spirit of Tellus into an alternative archive for future reference.

This project is collaboration between the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and Harvestworks.

Harvestworks Executive Director: Carol Parkinson
Curator: Tom Leeser
Project Management: Tyler Calkin

Imagining Tellus 28


 Neela Banerjee

Matt Barbier

Scott Benzel

K. Bradford

Dan Bustillo

Tyler Calkin

Scott Cazan

Provisional Collective

Louis Coy


Carmina Escobar
(with the Banda Filarmonica Maqueos Music, the Maqueos Music School, and Yulissa Maqueos)

Sarah Fylak

Jacob Goldman

Ulrich Krieger

Gregory Lenczycki 

Parches + Tim Tsang

Free Radicals (link 1 | link 2)

Jason Richards

Sara Roberts and the Readers Chorus

sadubas (Robin Sukhadia and Ameet Mehta) 

Christina Santa Cruz

Stephanie Cheng Smith

Thomas Sturm

Jack Taylor

Daniel Watkins

Ebony Williams

Additional Statements & Bios

Neelanjana Banerjee’s fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, The Liner, PANK Magazine, The Rumpus, World Literature Today, The Literary Review, Asian Pacific American Journal, Nimrod, A Room of One’s Own, Desilit, and several anthologies, including the forthcoming Good Girls Marry Doctors: South Asian Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion (Aunt Lute Books, Sept. 2016). She is a co-editor of Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2010), and The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles (Tia Chucha Press, 2016). In 2007, she received an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has had residencies at Hedgebrook and the Blue Mountain Center, and received scholarships to attend the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute and the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Her journalism has appeared in Alternet, WordRiot, Colorlines, Fiction Writers Review, HTML Giant, Kitchen Sink, and more. She is currently based in Los Angeles, where she is the Managing Editor of Kaya Press, a contributing editor with the Los Angeles Review of Books, and teaches writing with Writing Workshops Los Angeles.

K. Bradford is a writer, interdisciplinary performer, educator, and cultural worker living in Los Angeles. Their work has appeared on stages around the U.S. and in publications such as the LA Review of Books, Slag Glass City, Gulf Coast, Trop & Bradford has received scholarships from the Tin House Writers Workshop, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts & others. Before moving to LA, Bradford taught poetry and literature at Columbia College Chicago for eight years and was the head of the LGBTQ Office of Culture & Community. They also founded and directed innovative arts programs for marginalized communities in Austin and Chicago, funded by City Arts Commission grants. A recent graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, Bradford holds an MFA in Writing and in Art + Technology. By day, they give public art tours and teach woodworking to kids on a school bus turned wood shop; by night they brew new work that blurs poetics, sound, bodies, and the space between the analogue & digital.

Dan Bustillo is a host and member of the Best Friends Learning Gang, a facilitator of L.A. based Cryptoparties, an organizer in neverhitsend, and an adviser of the Financial Aid Department of parafactual institution, Los Angeles College. Their practice is a collaborative, collective, and individual investigation of power dynamics. They also write letters.

Dan Bustillo holds an A.A. from Miami Dade College, a B.A. from Hunter College, and an M.F.A. from the Art and Technology program at California Institute of the Arts. They have been a speaking agent at Hunter College, KCHUNG radio, Otis College of Art and Design, Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts, the Center for Integrated Media at CalArts, and the CalArts Aesthetics and Politics WHAP! Lecture series at West Hollywood Public Library. They have shared work at Machine Project, For Your Art, 356 Mission, Flux Factory, sometimes, Knight Hotel, Monte Vista projects, and Joey’s house, and their writing has been published in Tessex? (Image and Text Ithaca 2015), Black Clock blog, Perusal Per Usual Press, Hesse Press, and Dan Bustillo currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

 Tyler Calkin is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in Art and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts. He has shown his work across the US and internationally, including at The New Children’s Museum in San Diego, Cercle Blanc Gallery in Berlin, studio 1.1 in London, the Torrance Art Museum, and Centre for the Living Arts in Alabama. He has also led gameplay and media workshops for artists and educators in Nepal, Mexico and Los Angeles.

His participatory projects examine social constructions, habits, and anxieties through play and improvisation. Drawing particularly from safety and hygiene products and evolving digital interfaces, Tyler rearranges material culture into social catalysts. The resulting situations propose new models for interpersonal and inter-object relations.

Interspecific Empathy Project is an effort to increase empathetic abilities by creating interactions between disparate organisms. Hominid-Canid Vocalizations is a composite of field recordings made during moments of communication between a human and a dog. Overlaid onto this composite is a reading of excerpts from a study by T. Faragó, N. Takács, Á. Miklósi, and P. Pongrácz, published by Royal Society Publishing in May 2017.

Scott Cazan is a Los Angeles based composer, performer, creative coder, and sound artist working in fields such as experimental electronic music, sound installation, chamber music, and software art where he explores cybernetics, aesthetic computing, and emergent forms resulting from human interactions with technology. His work often involves the use of feedback networks where misunderstanding and chaotic elements act as a catalyst for emergent forms in art and a Los Angeles based composer, performer, creative coder, and sound artist working in fields such as experimental electronic music, sound installation, chamber music, and software art where he explores cybernetics, aesthetic computing, and emergent forms resulting from human interactions with technology. His work often involves the use of feedback networks where misunderstanding and chaotic elements act as a catalyst for emergent forms in art and music.

Digital media artist, curator, writer and educator, Tom Leeser founded the Provisional Collective in 2012 to explore the relationship between art, life and media in a technological age. Since then the Provisional Collective has collaborated with numerous artists and has employed a diverse range of projects resulting in online publications, seminars, public art works, videos, installations, sound-based works and socially engaged initiatives.

The Provisional Collective’s intent is to explore collaboration through temporary experimental and networked based projects that can occur in public media spaces, alternative cultural and educational institutions and in our everyday landscapes. As a multidisciplinary practice, the collective has engaged in topics such as climate change, arts education within a globalized context, cultural memory and speculative futures. With backgrounds in photography, film, video and sound, the impulse of the collective is to expand our understanding and experience of social and physical space through a critical process of immersion and participation.

 Louis Coy is a performance artist, writer, and multi-instrumentalist currently residing in Los Angeles, California. Originally from southwest Texas, he is ethnically Tejano (mixture of indigenous and European groups existing in Texas prior to Texas revolution) and Ukrainian Jewish. Much of his work stems from an interest in forging a tangible identity as a multi-ethnic, queer person of color. His practice is based around investigations of mourning, shame, failure, childhood/adolescence, beauty and gender, and takes shape in the form of ritual/performance art, video installation, drone music, folk music, and song.

E.E.L. (Electric Elastic Language) lives between the rock and sand. They make their microphones from the periwinkle brittle mud in order to record the imprints carved in rock and the dripping of the tide pools. E.E.L loves all animals and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Sarah Fylak is a musician and composer currently creating from the sunny hills of southern California. In the likes of noise, pop and experimental wandery this minimalist gone max continually redefines their connections to sound through all things extramusical. #Blessed2Know is an ode to the Tellus Tapes and a thank you to friends at CalArts.

Jacob Eli Goldman’s Onomatopoeic takes the recording of someone trying to describe the sound of one’s own voice and produces sonic abstractions by reducing the original track down to its component parts––pitch, rhythm and timbre––using a software for phonetic analysis. Both the original recording and the abstraction are played in sync with one another, each from its own speaker and at such a volume that the words spoken in the first track are just barely discernible. In theory, the second track distills and isolates the distinctly sonic qualities of the voice that are the objects of description in the first.

 Ulrich Krieger is an internationally recognized German composer and saxophonist living in Southern California. He is known for his originality and innovation in composed and free improvised contemporary music. As a celebrated composer of chamber and electronic music, Krieger’s compositions are widely performed by ensembles in Europe and the USA. He works in variety of contexts; from new and experimental music to free improvisation, electronic music, reductionism, noise, ambient, rock and metal.

Outside Krieger’s solo practice, he has performed extensively with his groups Metal Machine Trio and Text of Light. He has collaborated and performed with Lou Reed, Faust, Merzbow, Thomas Köner, Carl Stone, John Zorn, Lee Ranaldo, Christian Marclay, Laurie Anderson, LaMonte Young, Phill Niblock, Radu Malfatti, Michael Pisaro, Berlin Philharmonics, Ensemble Modern, PARTCH Ensemble, and many more. As a saxophonist he has performed in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia. Krieger studied classical/contemporary saxophone, composition, electronic music, and musicology in Berlin and New York. He is professor for composition, Experimental Sound Practices, and rock music at CalArts, where his special field of interest is the cross-pollination of new art music and avant-garde rock.

Krieger’s recent focus lies on the fringes of contemporary rock culture, in the areas of limbo where noise, metal, silence, and experimental chamber music meet. Not accepting stylistic categories, Krieger’s practice operates in the margins of 21st century genres while resisting the problematic trappings of appropriation. His compositional approaches include micro-sounds, microtones, reductionism, ‘instrumental electronics’ (instrumental music evoking the soundworld of electronics), drone, and noise; forms that often demand elaborate and nuanced amplification.

Gregory Lenczycki – Most recently Lenczycki has presented at Show + Tell and The Box Los Angeles, Long Beach City College, The Center for Living Arts Mobile Alabama and the Fort Mason Center San Francisco. Recent premieres include The Listening Garden, a five week sound installation culminating in a concert for clarinet, tuba, percussion and electronics, the ballet Metamorphosis, the requiem You Are Not Alone with support from Newtown Arts Pasadena in the Lower Arroyo Park to mark the 100th anniversary of the Colorado Street bridge, works for string quartet and wind quintet, his setting of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Mont Blanc for soprano, clarinet, tuba, and live electronics and the second iteration of Kathleen Johnson’s nine-year science fiction opera Brainchild. Lenczycki frequently collaborates with filmmakers, sculptors, photographers, choreographers and writers.

Composer // Producer // Media artist Parches is an identity within Ensō Co. Ensō is a network of alien creators collaborating in contingency. Time travelling, this network assembles elements both original and appropriated, to create collage forms from pop songs to post-internet art.

Tim Tsang is a (performer) (performer). Constantly engaged in infinite play as an accumulative performance strategy, Tsang scripts friendly spaces [theoretical // physical] that invite uncertainty and perplexity. Often-through over-identification and over-exposure toward the social, these spaces act as repositories for [critical thinking // contemplation // escapism] in the context of [event // game // concert].

Together, they employ strategies of [composition // production // performance] such as [play // conversation // acceleration], which creates a sense of wonder. Their work speculates on nonlinear modes of time travel and the nonhuman subjects that emerge.

Jen Hofer is a poet, translator, interpreter, teacher, knitter, bookmaker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder of the language justice and language experimentation collaborative Antena and the local language justice advocacy collective Antena Los Angeles. She publishes poems, translations, and visual-textual works with numerous small presses, including Action Books, Atelos, belladonna, Counterpath Press, Kenning Editions, Insert Press, Les Figues Press, Litmus Press, LRL Textile Editions, NewLights Press, Palm Press, Subpress, Ugly Duckling Presse, Writ Large Press, and in various DIY/DIT incarnations. Her most recent translations are Intervenir/Intervene, by Mexican writers Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015), Estilo / Style by Dolores Dorantes (Kenning Editions, 2016), and the forthcoming book Amé.RICA by Uruguayan poet Virginia Lucas (Litmus Press), whose work was featured on The Offending Adam. Her visual work has shown at The Blaffer Museum, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, The Hammer Museum, and Project Row Houses.

Rob Ray is a Los Angeles artist examining technology in public/outdoor spaces through installations, interactive public artworks, experimental videos and sound compositions.

In 2015, Rob launched the EXOSKELETON arts concern in Los Angeles, California. EXOSKELETON collaborates with artists to create enthusiastic and thoughtful events and installations in the EXOSKELETON house and in strange disused places across the earth. EXOSKELETON also joins with artists to create monthly mail art mailings and weekly emails.    
Rob’s interactive disorientating guide, GET LOST! was commissioned by the Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Manchester, UK and has exhibited at Conflux 2012 in New York and the Tracing Mobility festival in Berlin, Germany. His video game disguised as ATM, Bucky’s Animal Spirit, was selected for the exhibition at The Lab (San Francisco), and the (re)load exhibition at Antena (Chicago).

Rob also collaborates with Jason Soliday and Jon Satrom as a member of the Chicago-based circuit-bent multimedia noise trio I Love Presets. I Love Presets has performed at the GLI.TC/H 2011 and 2012 festivals, The SAIC’s Conversations at the Edge series and the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

From 1999 to 2008, Rob was founding curator of the DEADTECH electronic arts center in Chicago, IL, USA. DEADTECH’s unique curatorial vision, residency facilities, workshop facilities and exhibition space were custom created to cater to the specific needs of the electronic artist and performer. DEADTECH exhibited artists from across the globe including the Beige Programming Ensemble, Institute for Applied Autonomy, Trevor Paglen, Norman White, Kevin Drumm, T.V. Pow and Kazuyuki K. Null. In 2010, Rob received his MFA in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.

Jason Richards is an artist working and living in Los Angeles, California. His work is somewhat varied but the main through line is a focus on creating a new or renewed awareness of the body’s physical presence and its relationship to space and to the abstractions of memory through technology, sculpture and sound.

The Reader’s Chorus, co-directed by Sara Roberts and Jordan Biren, is made up of LA composers, musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, writers and poets. Inspired by the possibilities of a group of speaking voices we write for, experiment with, and perform the sound of reading. Since 2014 the Reader’s Chorus has presented programs at the wulf, the Velaslavasay Panorama, Automata, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, and MOCA Geffen.

This recording features excerpts of a live performance of the Black/White Oratorio (1998) by poets Robert Lax and John Beer, an epic compilation of Lax’s abstract color poems. The full recording is 30 minutes. The performance can be heard in its entirety at Soloists are Christine Tavolacci and Casey Anderson.

sadubas, aka The Sadhus of Bass, converges classical Indian rhythms with 1970s Bollywood vibes to create psychedelic soundscapes that are one part trip hop and two parts cinematic south Asia. Electronic artists Robin Sukhadia and Ameet Mehta bring a wide range of contemporary influences to their compositions, including media samples, Bollywood grooves, and classical Indian rhythm and raga.

“What the Hell is Going On?” is a response to Tellus #20, entitled Media Myth. The ominous overtones of a contemporary myth, manufactured by the media surrounding the new administration, overshadow indigenous culture and knowledge, represented by the tabla. Tabla, the traditional percussion instrument of North India, opens the track in a classical fashion. The meditative tones of tanpura, which typically accompany tabla, are replaced by a more sinister and darker drone, building up until the abrupt entry of the distorted myth midway through the track.

Robin Sukhadia studies tabla with maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Ameet Mehta is an electronic and turntable artist and based in Los Angeles.

Christina Santa Cruz is a Los Angeles, California based experimental filmmaker and installation artist. In her work, she explores what it means to see things that are absent—the psychological impact of hauntings as it relates to the places and objects, which occupy our shared understanding of history/culture/media.

Christina has showcased her findings in various festivals and exhibitions, such as Chicago Underground Film Festival, Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, EFF Portland, Norcal Nosiefest, Dances with Films, and Sunspot Cinema. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in Film from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in Art and Technology with a concentration in Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts. Christina also makes music with a band called Chestnut.

Stephanie Cheng Smith is a composer, performer and programmer who creates interactive pieces, installations, improvisations and through-composed works. She often uses electronics, violin and light, and her latest explorations with motor arrays have been featured in the 2016 issue of Experimental Music Yearbook. Smith’s performances and residencies include Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM, Amsterdam), PACT Zollverein (Essen), liebig12 (Berlin), Re-New Digital Arts Festival (Copenhagen), EcoSono (Caribbean), Centre for the Living Arts (Mobile), Megapolis Arts Festival (Baltimore), and—in Los Angeles—Machine Project, LA Film Forum, REDCAT, and the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS). She has also made appearances on webcasts such as EarMeal, Experimental Half-Hour and dublab. Smith frequently performs electronic music under the name Stephie’s Castle, is a member of networked music ensemble bitpanic, and has composed for and performed as a member of the Dog Star Orchestra. Serving on the wulf.’s Artistic Advisory Board, she also curates and produces experimental music concerts in the Los Angeles area.

Thomas Sturm is a Los Angeles based composer who works in a wide variety of mediums including chamber music, sound installation, free improvisation, and computer music. His work explores playing with and critiquing emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, and surveillance. He also experiments with data sonification and pataphysics, and has explored end of life issues through his art. As an improviser, Sturm works with creative coding and no-input mixing.

Sturm has performed and received numerous commissions with organizations such as M.A.R.S. Festival, The American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, The American Festival for the Arts, the International Society of Improvised Music, Friends of Flutes Foundation, and Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt. Groups including The Boston New Music Initiative, the Enso String Quartet, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, and Little Giant Chinese Orchestra have performed his music. He has collaborated and performed alongside a variety of artists such as Ethan Marks, Ulrich Krieger, Erin Demastes, Iris Sidikman, Joshua Westerman, Cody Putman, Louis Coy, Sam Friedland, Anthony Storniolo, and Brandon Bell.

Alongside working as a composer and musician, Sturm is an installation artist. In these works he primarily collaborates with visual artist, Samantha Calvetti. Their work has been shown in the M.A.R.S. Festival’s Testing Site Salons at Art Share, California Institute of the Arts’ Digital Arts Expo, and the Center for Integrated Media at CalArts.

Professionally, Sturm works as an educator and teaching assistant at institutions including California Institute of the Arts and previously did so at Rice University. His teaching focus is in composition, music theory, and creative coding. He also works as a copyist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Sturm is currently completing an MFA in Experimental Sound Practices and Integrated Media at California Institute of the Arts under Ulrich Krieger and Tom Leeser. He holds a BM in Composition and Theory from Rice University. His past teachers include, Kurt Stallmann, Sara Roberts, Laura Steenberge, Scott Cazan, Shih-hui Chen, and Anthony Brandt.

Jack Taylor’s practice fluidly occupies the interstitial space between critical and artistic disciplines, and functions as a plastic net of continually shifting relations within processes of sense making. Particularly focused on themes of erasure, archive, looping, recombination, revision, spectrality, and possession, the work manifests in a variety of mediums, from video to sound, text to action.  He received his BA Reed College, English Literature and an MFA CalArts, Art and Technology with a concentration in Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts.

Daniel Watkins is a visual/sound artist based in Los Angles, California. Of his work both as a filmmaker and installation artist he writes “I foreground the decay of media in an attempt to reassemble the pieces into something reflective of my own narrative timeline. My fixation on Lo-fi media practices is as much ideological as it is aesthetic. I see using cheap, readily accessible technology as a push against the ‘resolution fetishism’ that permeates much of the fine art world.”

He has garnered acclaim both at home, and abroad through exhibitions with (including but not limited to) the Strathmore Gallery, Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, Haverhill Experimental Film Festival, NYC Bootleg Film Festival, Sunspot Cinema, and the London Exploding Cinema Collective. He received his MFA in Art and Technology with a concentration in Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts.

Ebony Williams is a first generation Guyanese American Queer Black writer and healing artist transplanted into the sprawl of Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York. She holds an MFA in Writing from The California Institute of the Arts and is at work on How to Build a Ragdoll, a creative non-fiction manuscript where she and generations of women in her family seek home, a sense of place in the midst of violence. Her writing, explores the experiences of women throughout the African diaspora and the female body as container for memory, for culture, for an ancestral home often impacted by trauma. Ebony aims to embrace, complicate, break apart, and rebuild the way she/we understand family, culture, gender, race, the body/being embodied, and home. Her work has been included in S-tick Literary Magazine, Shadowbox Literary Magazine, and In-Process Inventory. IPI Press, and Line- The Journal of The Richard and Mica Hadar Foundation. Ebony is a healing artist organizing and leading community based writing, doll making, and fiber arts workshops focused on healing personal narratives across Los Angeles.