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ASU professor explores sound vibrations using organic and high-tech media

February 07, 2006

Arizona State University professor Richard Lerman presents a series of self-built loudspeakers constructed of bamboo, paper, CT Scan film, wood and other unconventional materials. Each material is used both for its visual quality as well as for its unique sonic quality. The installation is produced by the department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performances in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

The installation is designed so audiences can gain a sense of the physicality of many materials and the unique sounds that move through them. The exhibit is opened to the public from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3, at the Chocolate Factory, 1105 N.W. Grand Ave., Phoenix. The exhibition will also be open Feb. 4, Feb. 17 , Feb. 24, and by appointment.

As part of the installation, Lerman will also display a series of large Polaroid photographs that documented his process of making the audio devices. Three of the Polaroid images are wired to play back the audio that was recorded during the actual photo shoot.

Lerman is a professor at ASU's West campus in the department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performances, teaching classes in audio art, music and media. His organic art installations have been shown extensively in the U.S. and Europe, and he has been offered work in Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Considered a sound artist, Lerman has devised his own microphones and transducers to record environmental sounds too quiet to hear without amplification. His recent work, "Biopsy," recorded the sounds and video of Death Valley, including footsteps in, and wind blowing over, the salt flats. In another piece, "Grain Series," he used audio and video recorded from a rice paddy in Japan, a corn field in the Netherlands and a wheat field in Waddell, Ariz. "Grain Series" will be exhibited with video monitors installed directly in cereal boxes, which are also made into loudspeakers.

Recently, he collaborated with Mona Higuchi on an installation "Relocation: Alaska 1942-45," which was displayed at the Phoenix Public Library in March. Lerman's "Fences-Borders" was installed at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum during the summer, and will be installed in March at the Jack Straw Foundation Gallery, Seattle, Wash.

Lerman's installation is part of the 2005-2006 arts and performance season, produced by the department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance. The season includes visual arts exhibits and installations, theatrical and musical performances typically highlighting the research and creative work of faculty and students in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. For more information visit, or call (602) 543-ARTS (2787).