The Mount Wilson Observatory – the place where humanity discovered its place in the universe – will feature a special exhibition of acoustic sculptures created by the late Michael Brewster, taking place on Saturday and Sunday August 13 and 14, 2022. Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures by Michael Brewster will be featured in the historic 100-inch telescope dome at Mount Wilson Observatory. A talk on the installation will be given on Saturday and Sunday afternoon by former Brewster Homer student Charles Arnold, a specialist in post-1960s new media art and also in charge of the archives of the Michael Brewster Trust. These lectures will take place in the auditorium of the Astronomical Museum on the campus of the Mount Wilson Observatory.
Within Sound is launching the new Arts @ the Observatory of Fine Arts program at Mount Wilson. There will be two presentations of the sound works on the afternoons of Saturday August 13 and Sunday August 14, at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. each day, with a 50-minute talk (free) on Michael Brewster in the Observatory Auditorium room at 4:15 p.m., between the two performances. A reception with the commissioners including light meals and refreshments will be offered after the conference.
Tickets are $50.00 each and can be purchased online in advance (highly recommended) or at the door. For more information on this event, visit https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2186191®id=9&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mtwilson.edu%2Farts-the-observatory%2Fbrewster?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign= item&utm_content=bottombuybutton1. To learn more about the artistic program, please visit https://www.mtwilson.edu/arts-the-observatory.
The performance consists of six pieces, with a brief live introduction for each. Works are pre-recorded and customized for the Dome to create sound patterns that guests cycle through to experience different ways sound interacts with our body and mind. In order to allow guests to move freely among the sound waves, the audience will be limited to 60 people per performance.
Sound artist Michael Brewster.
Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures of Michael Brewster immerses visitors in the sonic environments of the pioneering sound artist who introduced his concept of acoustic sculpture in 1974. Six representative pieces capture Brewster’s artistic evolution over four decades.
The works demonstrate the evolving acoustic complexities that Brewster built up as he developed his works from single sound wave to multiple sound wave installations. Visitors will physically engage with these works as they move through the 100-inch dome and experience Brewster’s hands-on approach to art, encompassing sound, engineering and architecture.
Each performance is a site-specific installation that has been tailored to the dimensions of the 100-inch dome. Once activated, Brewster’s art and the Dome become one, forcing visitors to experience their particular location within the acoustic space. To quote Brewster, “To see an acoustic sculpture, we must move from the ‘stand and watch’ behavior of a passive viewer to the exploratory ‘move and listen’ approach of an active participant; slowly walking our ears, instead of move our eyes, through the environment.”
Standing Wave 1971 “Space F” Santa Ana, California
Synchromesh 1977 La Jolla, California
Two-tone concrete 1978 Groningen, Netherlands
Whistlers 2 (Adapted) 1994 Los Angeles, California
Unnamed1999 Los Angeles, California
Sky Falls 1994 Varese, Italy
Each work will be preceded by a brief explanation of the evolution of the artist’s approach to acoustic art over the course of his career.
Examples of acoustic sculptures by Michael Brewster can be found on his website. http://www.michaelbrewsterart.com/acoustic-sculpture.html
In addition to the acoustic sculpture presentations, there will be a talk by Homer Charles Arnold in the MWO Auditorium on August 13 and 14 at 4:15 p.m.
This talk will cover the career of sound artist Michael Brewster and the development of acoustic sculpture. These works of sound art create immersive sound fields that we explore with our bodies and ears as we physically move through them. Creating this art form after a long process of research and investigation into sound, engineering and phenomenology, Brewster’s discoveries were as much those of a scientist as of an artist.
A participant in the “Light and Space” art movement of the 1970s in Southern California, Brewster realized early on that he could turn the natural phenomena of sound into art. This conference covers his artistic journey by telling how he invented various technologies and architectural spaces to create his works. Brewster dealt with the whole environment in his process, revealing how art places us deep within itself and makes us aware of our place within it.
A reception with the curators will take place outside the Dome Gallery after the conference and between the afternoon performances, after the conference. Artifacts of Brewster’s experiments with sound, mechanical drawings for his works and his art will be displayed in the gallery. Light meals and refreshments will be served. Spectators of both performances are invited.
Michael L. Brewster (1946-2016) was a sound artist whose career spanned four decades of experimenting with new art forms, primarily in Southern California. He coined the term “acoustic sculpture” to describe his immersive sound environments that have played a key role in the evolution of contemporary sound installation. His works are part of the permanent collections of MOCA Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Orange County Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the Giuseppe Panza Collection and private collections. Three of his sound installations are on permanent display at Villa Panza/FAI in Varese, Italy.
Brewster also co-constructed and for more than forty years was a professor in the arts department at Claremont Graduate University. Born in Oregon and raised in Brazil, he created his art in a Sound Studio in Venice, California.
Homer Charles Arnold studies modern and contemporary art history, specializing in post-1960 new media practices. He was a student of Michael Brewster at Claremont Graduate University and is the Director of Archives for the Michael Brewster Trust. Arnold teaches art history in the Riverside College area, writes art criticism, and has curated several exhibitions of Brewster’s work. He is currently preparing a book-length manuscript on the artist. Originally from Austin, Texas, he now lives in Culver City.
Alex Schetter is an immersive artist, sound engineer and musician specializing in sound art and installation. He is originally from Los Angeles and studied music and audio production at Loyola University in New Orleans and the Art Institute of California. His sound work has appeared internationally and he has contributed to factory sound design for major synthesizer manufacturers since 2012. As an archival technician for the Michael Brewster Trust, his restoration and understanding of the Audio and acoustics were essential in adapting Brewster’s works to Mount Wilson. 100 inch dome.
The 100-inch telescope is the instrument with which astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered our place in an expanding universe and expanded our understanding. The telescope dome – designed by Chicago architect DH Burnham – is a 20th-century temple of science whose acoustics rival Europe’s great cathedrals and provide a unique setting for this ambitious series.
Mount Wilson Observatory
Mount Wilson Circular Road and Mount Wilson Toll Road
Mount Wilson, CA 91023
On the MWO website, the “Map” page shows the various SoCal highways connecting 210 and 2 and the start of Angeles Crest Highway, which goes to Mount, Wilson Red Box Road which in turn ends at Mount Wilson Circle Road.
Complete information on all scientific, educational and cultural activities of the Mount Wilson Observatory is available on its website.
George Ellery Hale, founder of the Mount Wilson Observatory and co-founder of Caltech, wrote: “No great creative work, whether in engineering or art, in literature or science, has ever been the work of a person devoid of the faculty of imagination.”
This fine arts program in this high place of science aims to foster and spread this spirit.
Please note that access to the representations of the dome is via a staircase of 53 steps. The Observatory, built before 1917, is not ADA compliant.