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There was a great radio piece on the Water Stories exhibition at the Museum of Science on Here & Now on NPR. Robin Young interviewed Anne Neely and used a lot of my audio composition to capture the essence of the exhibition.

‘Water Stories': A Conversation In Paint And Sound

Her paintings, currently on display at Boston’s Museum of Science, explore the beauty of water, but also raise a cautionary flag about issues that threaten the world’s water, including pollution and climate change.

The exhibit is accompanied by an audio composition by sound artist Halsey Burgund, whose water-themed compositions play throughout the gallery.

The exhibit aims to elicit visceral connections for viewers and listeners, and also raise public awareness about water issues.

Big Red & ShinyI was interviewed for an article on the role artists can play in innovation in Boston, a city renowned for other sorts of innovation whether it be technology, biotech, education etc. It’s an interesting topic and I actually am optimistic that artists are being included more and more in forward-thinking cutting-edge discussions that are not necessarily related to art.

In any case, read for my perspectives and those of several other talented Boston-area artists:

Art in the Innovation Hub Part 3: Artists by Laura Mitchell

A story by Carey Goldberg, editor of the WBUR CommonHealth Blog, about Patient Translations:

Translating Your Medical Story Instantly Into Audio Art

You won’t be regaled with a beginning-to-end story of, say, a heart attack from first twinge to hospital to recovery. Rather, you’ll be immersed in bits and pieces of human experience, all united by one concept: what it’s like to be a patient.

Here’s a short audio sample of Patient Translations:

Audio MP3

Blue Mind 2013I will be performing and speaking about Ocean Voices at the annual Blue Mind conference organized by marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols.

It is a conference focussed on neuro-conservation and how the ocean can effect the brain. I’ll be part of a session with David Poeppel, a neuro-scientist from NYU and Jim Toomey, the creator of Sherman’s Lagoon, the syndicated comic.

Kill Screen DailyHere’s a nice article about Scapes in relation to a very interesting new musical video game called Proteus. I like thinking about the connections between real and imagined worlds.

How the magic sounds of Proteus are making their way into the real world

While Proteus is very much concerned with living in the now, Burgund is “trying to connect people to what is around them, past, present, and future.” Playthroughs of Proteus are ephemeral; there’s no way to record music in-game, leaving you to enjoy it in the moment. Proteus is about letting go while Scapes is about writing clues for the next person to consider.

Patient Translations booth titleThis past month has been insane creating a new piece that came about rather serendipitously (and with a very compressed timeline). I have been trying to get a piece going on the topic of health for some time now as it is a fascinating area for me, but I have always run into logistical issues. So when fellow artist Kelly Sherman out of the blue got in touch to see if I wanted to collaborate with her on an opportunity to create a new piece for the Healthcare Experience Design conference, I jumped at the chance.

I will post more about the ongoing piece soon, but for now, I only have time to announce that it exists. You can check out the website and download the app to listen and participate as well as soon see more photos of Kelly’s wonderful visual treatment of my long-time partner in crime, the Bring Your Own Voice booth.

I have a new piece on exhibit at the Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth, NZ. The piece is called “A Walk Through Deep Time” and is a collaboration with New Zealand artist extraordinaire, Trudy Lane. Through the marvels of the internet, we were connected from 9 time zones and 18 hours apart by our significant overlaps in artistic practice. Our love of science and discovery as well as the outdoors and geo-awareness was quite remarkable and pleasant to discover.

This piece is a part of the SCANZ 2013: 3rd nature creative residency which included a group of amazing artists who all created pieces for the exhibition. I am honored to be a part of the show and excited that my work, at least, has had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand. Someday, I hope to do the same.

Please check out the iOS app and feel free to contribute your own recordings regardless of whether or not you are on-site.

The wonderfully revitalized and re-launched Big Red & Shiny has published a review of ROUND:Cambridge, by the amazing Stephanie Cardon.

ROUND:Cambridge – a participatory soundscape by Halsey Burgund

“Now this is a guaranteed first date win. I jest but it’s true: Halsey Burgund’s new public art piece, a participatory soundscape encompassing the whole City of Cambridge, is an engaging and memorable way to while away an evening. You might even capture the sound of that stolen kiss.”

I’m participating in the Annual Dream Festival of the Deep Listening Institute as a digital artist-in-residence. Basically, they have ceded control of their Facebook page to me for the week so I can do whatever dreamy things I would like.
I will be using the time to share dreams contributed to my Hotel Dreamy and Dreamy Me projects. I hope to encourage people to contribute more dreams as well. It should be a good audience for that!


Last weekend, I was honored to be on a panel at the Multimodal Approaches to Learning International Conference at the MET. I got to speak about how my work follows a different approach to collaborative engagement of museum visitors via their ears and experiences. Of course, Roundware was a big part of the discussion and I’m hoping that the attendees found it useful.

I had a great time as I got to meet some of the other presenters including several amazing sound artists: Stephen Vitiello, Lou Mallozzi, Bruce Odland and Johannes Goebel. Being the new-comer on the sound art block, I was both dramatically humbled by their genre-defining greatness and encouraged by their uplifting stories, projects and approaches to this esoteric world.

Eliot Van Buskirk wrote a nice article and did an interview with me about Roundware on the popular blog put out by The Echo Nest.

Why The Roundware Open-Source Audio Location Platform Rules

Perhaps it takes someone of a more artistic bent to build a platform for pinning songs and live-recorded audio to specific locations on a map — and then open-source it, so that any other individual or company can use it to build whatever they want using the same basic framework.

Burgund’s apps are alluring, combining augmented reality, location, art, and crowdsourcing in a way that hasn’t quite been done before, though it builds on Burgund’s own Scapes project.

There was a great review of ROUND:Cambridge in The Arts Fuse by Margaret Weigel recently that I wanted to share:

ROUND: Cambridge Sounds the Depths of the City’s Public Art

The ROUND project succeeds well beyond its stated mission. One of the hazards of public art is that neighborhood residents tend to grow accustomed to them and, over time, they fade into the landscape. The app counteracts that tendency by both identifying works and encouraging direct viewings—Cambridge’s own exotica, rediscovered by intrepid urban explorers. At the very least, the app encourages viewers to pay closer attention to their surroundings by, ironically, interacting with a cell phone.

ROUND:Cambridge gallery shot

After several years of discussions and a year of beta availability, my site-specific sound art installation ROUND:Cambridge has officially launched.

ROUND:Cambridge explores the city of Cambridge, MA through music and evolving participant commentary. The installation ‘inhabits’ the entire city by creating a location-sensitive layer of audio consisting of a musical composition along with commentary recorded in-situ by participants. Each participant experiences a continuous, unique, real-time audio stream as they walk, weaving location-specific voice content in with a location-aware instrumental composition.

This piece was commissioned by the Cambridge Arts Council and there is an accompanying gallery installation, but the piece is only truly experienced by wandering the streets of Cambridge with the free ROUND:Cambridge Android or iOS app in hand.

Here’s a short audio sample:

Audio MP3

I am happy to announce the official release of a piece I created for the journal of Public Art Dialogue, an organization dedicated to promoting discourse on public art globally.

I have written music – called Music for Journaling – inspired by this journal filled with words, patterns and ideas related to public art and am asking that people who read the journal react to those same words and patterns and make a verbal contribution to the music.

Over time, more and more reactions to the journal and reactions to reactions will be collected, creating an evolving conversation about this particular (mass-produced) physical artifact as well as all the ideas and philosophies represented between its covers.

Have a listen and join the conversation if you feel so inclined!

Hotel Dreamy installationHotel Dreamy is now on exhibit in New York City at the Charles Bank Gallery in the Bowery.  It is a part of a group show called Inglorious Materials with four other artists who all work in some liberally defined form of collage:

I have a bunch of dreams already collected, but am continuing to collect more.  I have created Android and iOS apps to contribute and listen (keep your phone near your bed!) as well as a website with which you can also make and contribute recordings:

Add your dreams to Hotel Dreamy

TAPEdocsI was recently interviewed for a new online radio program called TAPEdocs.  The show takes an uncommon host-less approach to dive into the worlds of people who do interesting (or at least unusual) things.

My interview can be found here – “The way people are saying things” – but you should check out the others as well, especially the one about the guy who helped fix the mirror flaw in the Hubble Telescope.

Part two of my Dreamy project is live!  This part is called Dreamy Me because it contains my dreams only.  They will be accumulating for the entire month as I have (and remember) them, so you’ll be able to listen to more and more incomprehensible glimpses into my inner world as the days progress.  I am hoping this is significantly more scary to me than it will be to you…

Dreamy Me is part of a series of exhibits called ‘Now. Here. This.‘, curated and hosted by 3-art, a wonderful triumvirate of artists/curators who do a whole bunch of amazing things.  Please check it out; you can listen and customize your audio stream right from the website and every time you listen, it will sound different, so check back frequently!

Hotel DreamyI’ve just finished and released the first part of a bigger project centered on exploring dreams and people’s recollections of them. Hotel Dreamy was commissioned by the Museums and the Web conference, which provided a great opportunity for me to begin this series of pieces.

I never used to be very good at recollecting my dreams, but somehow when I think more about remembering them, it’s easier to do so. I’ve been recording mine when I wake up in the middle of the night and then I proceed to forget them entirely so when I listen later, it’s new again, which is pretty cool.

More on the project and how to listen and record your own dreams on the Hotel Dreamy page.  And an excerpt of the music here:

Audio MP3

Earlier this month, I was asked to speak about my work at the IMLS WebWise conference in Baltimore.  It was pretty cool to hang out with a bunch of museum and library people who are all doing really interesting forward-thinking things with technology at their respective organizations.  Here’s an overview blog post on the WNYC site.

I was part of a panel called “History Places and Spaces: Learning & Participation on the Move” and talked about my participatory installations, mainly Scapes.  I shared the stage with Nancy Proctor of Smithsonian, Rob Stein of the Dallas Museum of Art and Jason Casden of North Carolina State University Libraries and you can see the whole glorious presentation (along with overly diligent subtitles) thanks to the video crew.  I was the third presenter and began around 46 minutes into it.

I am working on a piece for the journal of Public Art Dialogue, an organization dedicated to promoting discourse on public art globally. Contrary to what it sounds like, I am not writing an essay (readers rejoice!), but rather have been asked to create a new artwork specifically for the journal itself. This is a bit of an experiment for any academic journal to take this approach, but it seemed pretty interesting to me, so I was excited to get involved.

The title of the issue is “Audience Response” and there will a number of scholarly articles, another art project and my piece, called Music for Journaling.  It’s fairly obvious why they wanted my work for an issue on this topic!

Essentially, I will be writing a piece of music designed to be listened and contributed to by people who are reading or have read the journal itself.  I envision people all over the world reading the journal in the comfort of their own homes while hearing ongoing and evolving commentary from each other.  I hope the experience will be as if you are jumping into the collective stream of consciousness of all the journal readers as they explore the ideas, philosophies and opinions expressed about public art throughout the journal.

I will be living in DC for two months during this fall and winter as a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. I’m exploring the vast collections of audio recordings they have spread throughout the institution for use in future projects. It’s pretty great to be able to do research and have the opportunity to really experiment with no hard exhibition dates to hit (yet!).

I’ve started a SARF blog (Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship…they love acronyms down here) if you want to hear more about what I’m up to with this on an ongoing basis.

Mountain Ghosts iconI’m working on a commission for the University of Colorado which will be installed throughout their campus in Colorado Springs beginning on September 8th. I’ve done a bunch of site-specific outdoor pieces before, but I’m very excited about the opportunity to explore a part of the country I have little experience with and which turns out to be really beautiful!
I’ll be working with students and faculty to create a landscape filled with the ghosts of individual past experiences and performances, both real and invented. I’m not really sure that makes sense, but it’s going to be cool!

Round:Cambridge logoI’ve been commissioned by the Cambridge Arts Council to create an audio installation throughout the city of Cambridge, MA.  Tentatively called ROUND: Cambridge, this piece will be a location-sensitive, participatory musical composition with a focus on gathering experiences and opinions related to the public art that exists in Cambridge. As the name suggests, this piece is related to my installation ROUND at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2008 where I asked participants to react to the artwork in the museum and I created an evolving piece of music with those voices and instruments.  R:C is scheduled to open sometime in the fall; I’ll keep everyone updated!

I was extremely honored to receive an ‘Ocean Advocate’ award last month from Céline Cousteau.  I felt more than a little out of place given the other recipients’ track records, but am very pleased that music/art is recognized alongside scientific efforts as playing an important role in ocean conservation.

Ocean Inspiration Announces Winners of “Ocean Advocate” Awards

This article on National Geographic’s site captures the spirit of this event nicely:

Even the Ocean Has Grass Roots

I am very excited to announce the release of the Ocean Voices app for Android.  The app allows users to record their voice for inclusion in the Ocean Voices project as well as listen to customizable audio streams of music and the voices of over 1200 other participants.  Hopefully this new app will increase participation globally!

Huge thanks goes out to Rob Knapen who developed the bulk of this app and who, more importantly, exhibited extreme amounts of patience and grace throughout the somewhat convoluted process of bringing this app to fruition.  Thanks, Rob!

I will be performing Ocean Voices in the nation’s capital on May 20th as a part of Céline Cousteau’s ‘Ocean Inspiration’ initiative as well as the opening night of the 2011 Blue Vision Summit. I’m excited to bring Ocean Voices to more people and to perform in a city I have never performed in before.

Ocean Voices performance @ California Academy of Sciences

The show is at 6:00PM on Friday, May 20th at the Carnegie Institution For Science. Peter Bailey, Marissa Licata and Javier Caballero will be joining me.  It’s free and open to the public!

Here’s a video of excerpts from our performance at the Museum of Science in Boston last July.

Voices Without Faces logo

My newest sound installation is open now in the Art/Science Gallery at Boston’s Museum of Science.

This 6-channel piece contains the voices of over 250 people from eastern Massachusetts talking about their experiences with race; the good, the bad and the ugly.

The audio in the gallery is composed to constantly evolve in real-time and hence never repeats. The following is a snip I recorded from the live stream and is probably as representative of the whole piece as a two-minute sample can be… (more)

Audio MP3

Check out the newly released Patagonia Music initiative.  It’s another great way for Patagonia to expand its philanthropic efforts while promoting some great music simultaneously.

“Buy a song; benefit the environment”

And of course, I have an ulterior motive, which is to say that ‘Ocean Voices’ is included in the ‘New Music Stream’ section for everyone to enjoy. They have a super-slick iPhone app as well which will stream all the music and let you make purchases/donations.

Jump in!

Yes, you are looking at it…there is still much work to be done to flesh it out, but thankfully, I now have a flexible framework in place that I can use to organize things better between all of my sites as well as dynamically post new content etc…

Please be forgiving for the time being of all the little bits of weirdness (and gaping holes) that will exist while I make this transition.  I’m not technically savvy enough to do a nice, clean cut-over, so this is going to be a bit more of an organic process!

I participated in a discussion at deCordova today with Geeta Dayal, author and critic extraordinaire regarding my Scapes exhibit. It was great to meet her and hear her thoughts on what I’ve done as well as other related projects and artists/musicians. Often I feel like I have very little understanding of the context around my work, so it was really cool to hear Geeta’s thoughts.

She has written a fantastic book about Brian Eno as well for the 33 1/3 series.

Here’s the audio for those brave individuals…

Audio MP3

Thanks to Andrew Sempere for the excellent photos…

My sound installation called Scapes, at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, enjoyed an extended run and captured more than 800 recordings from museum visitors. Look for more Scapes-like projects in the future!

Scapes is a location-sensitive, evolving, interactive piece of music. It allows participants to augment the physical landscape of the museum’s sculpture park by leaving audio commentary in locations of their choosing for others to hear within the musical setting. Video.

I have been working with marine biologist, Wallace J. Nichols on a project called Ocean Voices for a number of years now on and off. Finally I have gotten the time (and technology) to launch an initial version online:

We are collecting voices from across the world responding to several questions about the ocean in hopes of fostering communication and collaboration in the name of ocean conservation and participatory sound art. Anyone can participate so check it out and become an ocean voice! You can listen to other voices from around the world too.

On May 1st, I put on a performance at the MIT Museum which was a part of the Cambridge Science Festival as well as Boston Cyberarts. I worked with guitarist Peter Bailey as well as video artist Francois de Costerd to create several new pieces based on the theme of ‘the elements’.

We collected voices to use in this performance at schools, community events, the Science Festival opening event at MIT as well as via an online system. Watch video redux of the show!

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A Walk Through Deep Time

A walk through 4.57 billion years of the earth's history, layering ideas from across philosophy, science, and culture and inviting you to share your own sense of wonder.

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A new piece of public sound art created from personal responses to existing public art and the city of Cambridge, MA itself.

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Music for Journaling

A participatory audio composition about sharing ideas and creating a critical community focused on public art and its role in society. Commissioned by Public Art Dialogue for Volume 2, Issue 1, "Audience Participation".

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Hotel Dreamy

Where our dreams go on vacation... A growing collection of dream recollections and some music to bring them together.