ArtsBeatLA

Cosmic Sounds at the Mount Wilson Observatory

Cosmic Sounds – a special event happening at the Mount Wilson Observatory this Summer combines art and music with the constellations.

Sound Artist Michael Brewster.

Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculpture of Michael Brewster is the first presentation in the new “Arts @ the Observatory” program at Mount Wilson Observatory, launching in August. Six representative pieces created by Brewster—a pioneering Los Angeles sound artist—will be featured in this site-specific installation. Visitors will be physically immersed in Brewster’s masterpieces as they move through sound waves in the acoustically amazing 100-inch Dome.

THE PIECES:

  • Standing Wave             1971   “F Space” Santa Ana, CA
  • Synchromesh               1977    La Jolla, CA
  • Concrete Two Tone      1978    Groningen, Netherlands
  • Whistlers 2 (Adapted)  1994    Los Angeles, CA
  • No Name                      1999    Los Angeles, CA
  • Falls From Sky             1994    Varese, Italy

From the press release:

Mount Wilson Observatory—the place where humankind discovered its place in the universe—is pleased to present a special exhibition of Acoustic Sculptures created by the late Michael Brewster, to take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14, 2022. Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures of Michael Brewster, will be presented in the historic Dome of the 100-inch telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory. A lecture about the installation will take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon by former Brewster student Homer Charles Arnold, who is a specialist in post-1960s new media art and also Archive Manager for the Michael Brewster Trust. These talks will take place in the Astronomical Museum Auditorium on the Mt. Wilson Observatory campus. Within Sound launches the new Arts @ the Observatory program of fine art at Mount Wilson. There will be two presentations of the sound works on the afternoons of Saturday, August 13th and Sunday, August 14th, at 3:00pm and at 6:00pm each day, with a 50-minute lecture (complimentary) about Michael Brewster in the Observatory’s Auditorium at 4:15pm, between the two performances. A reception with the curators including light fare and refreshments will be offered after the lecture.

Tickets are $50.00 each and are available for purchase online in advance (highly recommended) or at the door. For more information on this event, please visit https://www.mtwilson.edu/arts-the-observatory/brewster.

For more on the arts program, please visit https://www.mtwilson.edu/arts-the-observatory. The performance consists of six pieces, with a brief live introduction for each. The works are prerecorded, and are customized to the Dome to create sonic patterns that guests move through to experience various ways sound interacts with our bodies and minds. In order to allow guests to move around freely among the soundwaves, audiences will be limited to 60 people per performance.

There will be four events over two days: Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 at 3:00 and 6:00pm, in the 100-inch telescope dome.

Additionally, a very special 5th event, “Cosmic Sounds,” will take place on August 13 at 7:30pm featuring Brewster’s Within Sound event PLUS an expertly guided viewing through the 100-inch telescope. 

The dome, designed by Chicago architect D.H. Burnham, is a 20th-century temple to science whose design provides acoustics that rival the great cathedrals of Europe and offers an ideal setting for this series. Arnold’s lecture on Brewster’s career will be held in the Auditorium between the two daytime presentations. After the lecture, a reception will be held outside the Gallery, where examples of the artist’s designs, mechanical drawings, and art will be displayed. Parking is located near the main entrance, and a small shuttle is available for those with disabilities.

Tickets are $50.00 for each of the daytime events and are available for purchase online in advance (highly recommended) or at the door. 

Tickets for the “Cosmic Sounds” event are $100 each and are available for purchase online at https://www.mtwilson.edu/cosmic-sounds

Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 at 3:00 and 6:00pm

ALSO – special event – Saturday, August 13 at 7:30pm

Mount Wilson Observatory

100 Mount Wilson Circle Road

Mount Wilson,CA 91023

The exterior of Mount Wilson Observatory’s famous 100-inch dome. Photo by Todd Mason.

About the Program:

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 Brewster constructed as he developed his works from a single sound wave to multi-soundwave installations. Visitors will physically engage with these works as they move throughout the 100-inch Dome and learn about Brewster’s pragmatic approach to art, encompassing sound, engineering, and architecture. 

Each performance is a site-specific installation that has been tuned to the 100-inch Dome’s dimensions. Once activated, Brewster’s art and the Dome become one, compelling visitors to experience their particular location within the acoustic space. To quote Brewster, “To see an Acoustic Sculpture, we must shift from the ‘stand and look’ behavior of a passive spectator to the exploratory ‘move and listen’ approach of an active participant; slowly walking our ears, instead of moving our eyes, through the environment.”

About the Experts:

H.C.Arnold Ph.D., Archive Manager, Michael Brewster Trust.

Homer Charles Arnold studies modern and contemporary art history, specializing in post-1960s new media practices. He was a student of Michael Brewster’s at Claremont Graduate University and is the Archive Manager for the Michael Brewster Trust. Arnold teaches art history in the Riverside College district, writes art criticism, and has curated several shows 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, Archival Technician, Michael Brewster Trust.

Alex Schetter is an immersive artist, sound engineer, and musician who specializes in sound art and installation. He is a Los Angeles native who studied music and audio production at Loyola University 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 Archival Technician for the Michael Brewster Trust, his restoration and understanding of audio and acoustics has been key to adapting Brewster’s works in the Mount Wilson 100-inch Dome.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

Add comment

Categories

Follow us

Follow ArtsBeat LA on social media for the latest arts news.

Categories