Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter July 2013

In This Issue:

  • Save the Date!
    • Artumnal 2013
  • Artist Update – Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn
  • Grantee Updates
    • Swap-O-Rama-Rama
    • Global Lives Project
    • ME’DI.ATE Art Group
    • Skate Stump
    • Bambufonomat  (Bamboo Element)
    • The Metamorphosis Project
    • Silent Lights

The 7th Annual Artumnal Gathering

It’s never too early to plan for BRAF’s big year-end bash. This year’s gala event promises to be the best ever! Mark your calendars as tickets go on sale Sunday, September 15, 2013.

Saturday, November 23, 2013
Bently Reserve
400 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA  94111



Artist Update – Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn

2007 BRAF Grantees Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn have begun production urban site-specific installation entitled Caruso’s Dream for a new building at 55 9th Street in San Francisco.

About the Project

Hovering high above the sidewalk, a sculptural canopy of angled and overlapping glass pianos is held aloft in the eaves along the building’s frontage. These airborne pianos, an elegant composition of uprights, grands, and baby grands, appear to be intricately tied together with rope and supported from below by finely crafted wood braces.

The pianos glimmer and sparkle during the day, as rays of natural light refract through the pianos and create brilliant prismatic patterns on the building and the sidewalk.  From dusk until dawn warm light emanate from the pianos, harmonically flickering to the majesty of Enrico Caruso’s operatic recordings. A magical drama unfolds as pedestrians discover the source and relationship of faint stirrings of opera music. In a hidden area beneath a single piano, discerning listeners will find the one spot where they may be serenaded by the particular Caruso recording which inspired that moment’s light show.

After singing Carmen in San Francisco, the famous tenor Enrico Caruso woke the next morning in his room at the Palace Hotel to the fantastic shaking of the 1906 Earthquake. “But what an awakening!” he was quoted in the newspaper, “…feeling my bed rocking as though I am on a ship in the ocean, and for a moment I think I am dreaming.”  This artwork imagines Caruso’s dream on that fateful night.

Caruso’s fame was not only attributed to his voice and musicianship but also to a tech-savvy business sense and an enthusiastic embrace of commercial sound recording, a brand new technology at the time. His 1904 recording of Vesti la Giubba was the first to sell a million copies, and all of his 290 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920 are available today. Caruso’s Dream draws on the Bay Area’s rich cultural, entrepreneurial, and technology innovation heritage. Several piano companies were founded in San Francisco, most notably Sherman Clay, built on the spot where a piano was buried to fill a large pot hole, and which has operated continuously for over 135 years.

Both the binding and shoring techniques draw from customs brought from the Old World to San Francisco by intrepid settlers, as well as reference historical gold mine construction. The metaphor of the wooden supports and rope-like tethering symbolically relate to San Franciscans’ endeavor to preserve and develop their maverick culture and city. In Caruso’s dream, utilizing time-tested, high craft buttressing techniques under new conditions, they gather together and succeed in elevating the pianos skyward as hovering, poetic beacons.

Corner frontA 02 adj





Conceptual artist, yogi, gardener, writer, and founder of the global textile re-purposing event Swap-O-Rama-Rama Wendy Jehanara Tremayne is on tour! Her new book The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living has just been published, and the author / artist is on tour discussing the book.  Click here for her tour schedule.

Read more about her BRAF-funded project at and about her other work at

The Good Life Lab, by 2005 BRAF Grantee Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

The Good Life Lab, by 2005 BRAF Grantee Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

2007 Grantee – Global Lives Project

Take a trip around the world this summer with the Global Lives Project! Through their digital video library, the Global Lives Project virtually transports people across barriers of distance and language, creating opportunities for intercultural learning.

If you are an educator searching for dynamic, free content to incorporate global learning in your classroom, sign up for their Educator list. Hundreds of hours of free content and resources will be at your fingertips. The first 100 teachers to sign up will receive a print booklet of our 60-page full-color curriculum created by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. Over the summer, Global Lives Project will be developing even more new ways to bring these projects to your students. Share your ideas with them at

9th Grade Ethnic Studies Students at Balboa High School taking part in Global Lives' Filmmaker in the Classroom program. (Photo by Lauren Valdez)
9th Grade Ethnic Studies Students at Balboa High School taking part in Global Lives’ Filmmaker in the Classroom program. (Photo by Lauren Valdez)


2010 BRAF Grantee – ME’DI.ATE Art Group (Illuminated Forest)

Listen up! Soundwave, the Bay Area’s art and sound community, tells us much is happening in San Francisco in July to tickle the ears. Check out The Mission Creek Audio Bus and the Pacific Bus Audio Bus.

For details and to purchase tickets visit


BRAF 2011 Grantee – Skate Stump

Ryan Burns is poised to break ground on his skateboardable sculpture of old-growth tree stumps in southern Oregon. Originally slated for Portland, the sculpture will now be installed in the rural city of Cave Junction. The City’s lack of skate parks and the passion of the city’s local youths convinced Burns to relocate the project. After much close work with local nonprofit Youth Empowerment and Support, with the City of Cave Junction, and with the recent award of a Tony Hawk Foundation grant, Burns’s interactive public art piece will soon be a permanent part of the 10 acre Jubilee Park!

2011 Grantee Skate Stump. Artist's rendering courtesy of the artist.
2011 Grantee Skate Stump. Artist’s rendering courtesy of the artist.


BRAF 2013 Grantee – Bambufonomat

The Bamboo Element crew is in full production-mode, working on Bambufonomat. After a few weeks of finishing the design and considering technological details, the real construction work has started. By the end of this week the basic structure should be welded. The crew will focus on smaller details next week. Next step: finish the electronics and set up the software!

2013 Grantee Bambufonomat. Photo courtesy of the artists.
2013 Grantee Bambufonomat. Photo courtesy of the artists.
2013 Grantee Bambufonomat. Rendering courtesy of the artists.

2013 Grantee Bambufonomat. Rendering courtesy of the artists.

For more the artists and their work, visit and

BRAF 2013 Grantee – The Metamorphosis Project

The Metamorphosis Project is making an appearance in support of a great cause. This transformative installation will be exhibited at the Down Syndrome Association’s annual festival and fundraiser, Twenty Wonder, on July 13. The project is looking for two volunteers for the festival. If you are in the Los Angeles area, and would like be a docent for this unique interactive work of art at the festival, please contact Metamorphosis artist Alex Andre at Alex .

For more information on Twenty Wonder visit

The Metamorphosis Project will also be at the Exploratorium in San Francisco on August 1st for their After Dark event Freestyle. Visit for more info. This mind-bending artwork is truly something you have to see in person!

2013 Grantee The Metamorphosis Project. Photo courtesy of the artist.

2013 Grantee The Metamorphosis Project. Photo courtesy of the artist.


BRAF 2013 Grantee – Silent Lights

Michelle Brick writes in to tell us Artist Build Collaborative has finally raised enough money to go forward with their final installation! Back in the studio, the team has been hard at work refining the technology and lighting for an upcoming test of Gate #1 on site with the NYC DOT.  By day, the perforated metal gates create a moire effect created with natural sunlight and shadow. The focus right now is on the night scheme – getting the lights to work in tandem to provide a sense of movement as they respond to the sounds of traffic noise. This first gate will be lit by two custom fabricated acrylic light boxes outfitted by an arduino microprocessor connecting 256 LEDs.  The artists have been experimenting with different LED programs that will visualize the noise pollution on site.

With the first gate underway, Artist Build is currently looking for interns and volunteers in New York City with a background in design-build and fabrication to help push Silent Lights forward in the final stages. If interested, please contact the designers at info with a description of your experience and any relevant samples attached.

For more information on the interdisciplinary group of interactive, product, and interior design artists that is Artist Build Collaborative visit:

Light box image by Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh.

Light box image by Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh.

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