John Berendzen (Portland, OR): Air Objects #3
live sound installation

In his Risk/Reward Festival debut, we’re bringing in a live sound installation by John Berendzen, which will occur in the lobby during intermission, though the installation will be present throughout the festival. This socially and architecturally interactive performance will showcase the ElectroHorn, an electrically modified brass instrument with realtime looping and processing abilities. Check it out during intermission in the Artists Rep lobby!


Air Objects #3 is a new solo composition for the ElectroHorn, an original hybrid instrument which creates both the acoustic tones of a brass instrument, and, through added electronic circuitry, effects and loops which modify the original sound. The live and processed sounds interact and fill the space with a virtual orchestra of tones. The audience hears both the natural sound of the horn instrument, as well as loops and modifications of the sound coming out of the surrounding speakers, in a spatial environment which empowers the subjectivity of the listener. In the live performance aspect, the performer’s physical movements trigger changes in the music, adding a layer of visual interest, drama and even humor, as motion is translated into sound. The work is architectural in that the roaming performer can leverage the contours and depths of space in the venue to create site-specific air objects, or sonic shapes, in different parts of the building structure. The work is social in that the listeners encounter the performer moving around the space; create their own subjective mix of the sound by listening from different vantage points; and encounter the sound in a liminal/transitional space (the lobby), experiencing the sound as a seamless part of their conversations and social interactions in that temporary space. The tone of the music is mellow, constantly shifting, hypnotically suspenseful, ritualistic and actively meditative. It responds in part to Eno’s concept of ambient music – music meant to “reward attention, but not so strict as to demand it‚” and also to La Monte Young’s conception of “eternal music,” creating a sense of participating in a timeless duration.


John Berendzen has created noise for theatre, dance and arts in Portland and elsewhere for 25 years. He is co-founder and co-artistic director for Liminal, and has collaborated with Linda Austin, Imago, Mary Oslund, Hand2Mouth and many others. His works and collaborations have appeared at festivals such as NW New Works and Seattle and Vancouver Fringe Festivals. John creates and plays electroacoustic instruments, and spent a 2013 residency at Caldera Arts developing the basic technology behind the ElectroHorn. He enjoys the collision of technology with natural instruments and voices, and seeks a total immersion in and heightened awareness of sound and time. He enjoys socially interactive art, spatially-oriented acoustics, limitation of materials and processes, and nested time structures. John sings shapenote music and classical Indian raga. He spent a year as an intern, student, and sound recordist for minimalist granddaddy La Monte Young in New York City. He is currently working on an ElectroGuitar.