Jim Green's Talking Water Fountains by Julie Conquest

Last winter I was in Seattle and I happened upon one Jim Green's talking fountains. Green was commissioned to create these during the expansion of the airport in 1992. The one I happened upon gurgled like mountain spring. This project inspires thoughts about how the unexpected can shift perception and seamlessly be integrated with the everyday. 

 

 

Monkey Town Last Year by Julie Conquest

Yes, I am behind times. But! I don't want to forget that just about a year ago I visited Monkey Town when it was in Austin, Texas. I love the concept of this show. In short, from where you are seated in a cube of projection screens you are served a delicious four course meal while a selection of films by experimental local artists plays around you. I believe they are currently in Los Angeles, check them out if you can! 

Walking with Sounds by Julie Conquest

Just before the balmy spring days of Austin heated up to summer, I was invited by my friend Lauren Walker to participate in a workshop on topographical soundscape recording organized by Conor Walker with the artist Lawrence English. It was incredible how many folks showed up and together we wandered the streets in search of signs and bridges to record, amplify, and marvel upon. From analog to sophisticated digital gear, everyone brought something different to experiment and it was a unique experience to be one of many hyper-attuned to sonic experiences. I brought my current binaural system and it was particularly helpful troubleshooting binaural technique with Lawrence afterwards. Much appreciation to everyone who made this event possible! 

Basking in reverberations under the bridge.

Basking in reverberations under the bridge.

Using a contact microphone to hear wind on the sign. 

Using a contact microphone to hear wind on the sign. 

Contact microphones on telephone cables.

Contact microphones on telephone cables.

Hello, You Have Reached the Road Line by Julie Conquest

I just kicked off a new experiment for A Loner Together in which participants will call in and answer a weekly prompt via voicemail. The origins of this experiment are situated in the fact that for many full timers on the road the telephone is an important way of staying in touch with loved ones so I figured what better way to collect impressions and thoughts? Also, as some of you probably know, I have a thing for voicemails. With any luck, I anticipate the results of this experiment may accompany one of the visual installations. 

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Getting Aural: Literature by Julie Conquest

Just how aural can literature be? Well we are going to find out! Much appreciation goes out to Kyle Schlesinger of Cuneiform for the opportunity to participate in a three part podcast, reading, and publication for the Austin Public Library. Kyle brought together such an inspiring group of folks, check out the podcast here! I will keep you posted about the print publication and until then here are two photos from our recording session. 

Andrew Murphy helping Grant Cross keep his hands free. 

Andrew Murphy helping Grant Cross keep his hands free. 

Kyle Schlesinger being interviewed by the Master of Ceremonies (aka his son). 

Kyle Schlesinger being interviewed by the Master of Ceremonies (aka his son). 

For To Get Clean by Julie Conquest

Over the years, I often seek to celebrate the transition between years of life by trying something new. I am open to all suggestions and I have tried things like sky diving, oxygen bars, floatations chambers. In March, I was able to experience a traditional cleansing with the indigenous healers in Ecuador.  

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My friend Francesca advised that cleansings were excellent for transitions and clearing energy. So we walked up a hill towards a mountain peeking out over Quito and before the streets ended we entered a large, modern marketplace. At the back of the store the indigenous healers who were all women, have stalls outside which their patients wait. Fortunately I was able to get in to see Francesca's favorite and she ushered me in to a curtained area of a small stall and requested me to disrobe. When she returned she had several branches of stinging nettle that she began to slap across my body, requesting me to turn continually. The itch grew to a burn and soon my body was alight. When she finished she ask me to spit on the stinging nettle three times and then she threw it on the ground.  

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Then my healer repeated the process with several other plants. On the other side of the curtain a small baby cried and its mother tried to quiet it. After my body was brushed with several more plants, my healer shoved rose pettles into the top of my head before taking a generous swig of what I assume is a kind of floral concoction in an alcohol base. She then puffed out her cheeks and spat the liquid all over my body as I again turned. She did this several times and then motioned I could get dressed. My body was dripping and burning, covered in leaves and pettles. Next to me the baby was getting the same treatment.  

When I finished my healer recommended a special soap and a bracelet to protect me from bad energy. Guess which one:

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She also suggested I return the next day, just to snuff out all the questionable energy. I wasn't able to make it, but I think that just gives me a reason to return before too long.