I am happy to share Robert Sember's thoughtful and thorough article on Forest Listening Rooms and other projects spanning the past two decades. Written for the A Blade of Grass Magazine, Sember goes deep into the material and its contexts, and his knowledge on sound and Appalachian Ohio are especially appreciated. Read the article here.
I am excited to be participating in “With For About,” a conference at St. Helens in the UK. I’ll be joining other participants from A Blade of Grass and from across the field of socially engaged art. It will take place on May 23rd, from 9:30 - 5:30. More information can be found here.
We are getting exited to release “Shawnee, Ohio” next month (April 26) on Berlin-based Karlrecords. “Shawnee, Ohio” will be available as a CD with a twenty-page booklet and a large digipack, and as a digital download.
I've started my own imprint on Bandcamp, called Winesap Records, and am excited to share my first release, called Wayne National Forest.
A precursor and a premonition, a foreshadowing and a foreboding, Wayne National Forest is a quiet companion to Shawnee, Ohio. Recorded with the same Shawnee ensemble––that features Paul de Jong (The Books) and Anna Roberts-Gevalt (Anna and Elizabeth) among others––the pieces are delicate, static, and contemplative.
Long tones are met with independent rhythms and subtle changes that reflect the soundscapes of the forest, located in Appalachian Ohio. For many years, I’ve been walking in this forest to listen and learn of its histories of mining and extraction. The album shares a common sensibility: of quiet listening, of natural rhythms, of fixed movement, and how the past can seep into our present ears.
I'll be joining a panel at Ohio University on February 12, from 5:30 - 7:00 PM, for the "New Old Image Exchange" event. The panelists will each share an old photo, with a new commentary. I'll be sharing the above photo, a Harnetty family portrait taken around 1967, in Junction City, Ohio. With this photo, I'll talk about time, memory, loss, place, presence, and absence. I hope to see you there!
I really enjoyed writing an article for the Rethinking Marxism journal (Volume 30, Issue 4) that explores and describes Jonathan Johnson’s photographs. I’ve known Jon and his work for several years, and I jumped at the chance to organize some thoughts on both the images and his process of making them. Jon also helped me with the Shawnee, Ohio project, as a videographer. You can find the article here.
This video is a brief listen and look into Forest Listening Rooms, where I invite local communities in the Wayne National Forest in Appalachian Ohio to gather in public outdoor spaces and critically listen to sounds of the forest. This project contends that the simple act of listening to the forest’s past and present can transform its future. Find out more about this project here.
A New Brian Harnetty newsletter is out now. It features an update from the Forest Listening Rooms Project, photos from recent performances at Duke University, and more. Sign up and receive 2 new exclusive recordings and a corresponding score. Sign up and see the newsletter here.
What are your forest stories? Over the next two Saturdays (October 6 and 13, 2018), I'll be hosting a "Forest Listening Room" in the Wayne National Forest. We’ll be meeting at the new Tecumseh Lake trail, part of the Buckeye Trail. The site is beautiful, a sign of how far the local residents have come to help restore the land and its waterways. Yet, participants also experience acid mine drainage and the rejected coal of a century-old “gob pile” — here, the scars of time and extraction are not hidden, but are left as reminders of what is still needed to bring this land back from degradation.
The events are part of a Socially Engaged Art project, where I invite residents and the public to listen to the forest and talk about how it is used. These events are open to the public, and are funded through a generous grant from A Blade of Grass. I hope to see you there!
I'm very glad to announce that I've joined the AmeriCorps for the year, and will be serving in Shawnee and across Appalachian Ohio on projects for Ohio's Hill Country Heritage Area and The Winding Road. Read about it and more in my August newsletter. Find the newsletter here.
I'm excited to be a part of the Experimental Music and Listening Sessions (ELMS) taking place in Boston next month. I'll be joining seven other composers and performers for a weekend of discussions, listening (obvs.), presentations, and concerts. The public concert is August 5, 2018, 2:00pm, at Third Life Studio in Somerville. I'll have some simple piano pieces for several hands.
I'm happy to be a part of the launch of "Heard Tell," a new feature to the Looking At Appalachia project. Designed and directed by Roger May, "Heard Tell" brings together audio recordings that either reflect on images and words on the website, or are stand alone recordings about Appalachia.
A few years ago, I recorded the Moonshine Festival in New Straitsville, Ohio, and when I saw the above image, I immediately recognized it. I also wrote about my experiences there, about what I heard, and how listening transformed me and the way I understand place, the past, and the present. Find the image, audio recording, and my writing on the Moonshine Festival here.
Back in 2016, Duke Performances was a co-commissioner of the “Shawnee, Ohio” project (along with Wexner Center for the Arts and Contemporary Arts Center). Now, I’m excited to bring “Shawnee” to Duke Performances this October 26 and 27 (2 nights!), as part of their 2018-19 season. What a stunning lineup of artists to be a part of! Find the catalog here.
In the season catalog, I get to share the same page (but not the same stage) as the legendary Emanuel Ax. The only other thing we’ve shared was a piano tuner back in 2003.
I had the pleasure of a conversation with my friend Jerry David DeCicca for North of the Internet. We talked about whether we care what other people think, what musicians we'd like to play like who make music nothing like our own, and front porch music vs. concert hall music. Find it here, on North of the Internet, a fascinating website of connections, constellations, and design.
I spent this past weekend in New York City at the A Blade of Grass orientation. It's hard to believe that I get to be a part of such an amazing cohort of artists and organization. Listening to the artists explain their work -- in prisons and along the border, with food and literature and greenhouses and equine therapy, and in places from Philadelphia to New York to Texas to Puerto Rico to Alcatraz -- was truly an inspiring experience. I can’t wait to see how all of these projects continue to grow and unfold!
I wrote an article for SoundEffects: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience on the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection, and the Experimental Sound Studio commissions to reinterpret the archival recordings. Many thanks to ESS, Lou Mallozzi, Cauleen Smith, Todd Carter, Damon Locks, and Terri Kapsalis. For fans of: Sun Ra, archival performances, archival homophones, ways of listening, archival authorship, and embodied archives.
Also: here’s a great quote from Amiri Baraka on Sun Ra’s wordplay: “Ra taught that a word is not only an idea, but a sound. It has force and power...and its many meanings manifest at once."
Find the article here.
I am SO thrilled and honored to be among this year's A Blade of Grass Fellows for Socially Engaged Art. What an amazing cohort of artists. It’s particularly exciting to have been selected as the ABOG Fellow for Contemplative Practice. It really means a lot to me, and I can’t wait to for the project to begin! #ABOGFellows #sociallyengagedart
Here is a link to an ArtNews article announcement.