The Language of Birds

a site-specific installation, guided tour, and new piece by composer Carolyn Chen

Thu., Sep. 22, 2022
Doors at 12pm | Show at 5pm
Evergreen Cemetery
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RSVP for Guided Tour & Performance
The Language of Birds takes visitors on a guided tour through a transformed Evergreen Cemetery, seen and heard through the mythology of birdsong and the perception-altering power of dragon’s blood. Audiences will be immersed in the site through a series of activities by composer Carolyn Chen, seeking to reframe our perception of the landscape and soundscape. Set pieces by Visual Director Natalie Jenkins obscure and refract this environment through acoustic illusion and obfuscation. Docents directed by writer/director Alexandra Panzer give guided tours daily that veer into the surreal and fabulous. Part of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History's new festival CommonGround, the event seeks to uncover hidden and imaginary histories of Evergreen Cemetery and the surrounding Harvey West Park area.

Read Andrew C. Smith's essay on The Language of Birds on Medium

Comfortable shoes are highly recommended for participants in the guided tour.

The Language of Birds




September 22 – 24, 2022
Open daily from 12pm - 5pm
Guided tour and performance begins at 5pm by reservation

While the sound installation and sculptures will be on display throughout the second weekend of CommonGround, we invite you to join us for a guided tour and live performance from 5pm until dusk.
 
Ticketed performances include a docent-led tour and the performance of a new composition by Carolyn Chen for voices and strings, taking a nod from early music and transcriptions of birdsong.

Carolyn Chen, composer and original concept
Natalie Jenkins, artist and visual director
Alexandra Panzer, writer and director of docent-led tours

Docents: Alexandra Panzer, Kat Brault, Andrea L. Hart, Alexandra Mannings
Musicians: Samantha Bounkeua, Polly Malan, Kristin Garbeff, Laura McShane, George Demarest
Sculpture Fabrication Assistant: Veriche Blackwell

Full interviews from The Language of Birds


George Ow has dedicated himself to restoring the history of Chi-nese immigrants in the Santa Cruz area, and grew up in the last Chinatown in Santa Cruz.
george ow 35m.mp3


Martin Rizzo-Martinez is a historian of the Indige-nous culture of the region, and works for California State Parks as the Historian for the Santa Cruz District.
martin rizzo 33m.mp3


Rick Flores is the Director of Horticulture and the Steward of the Amah Mutsun Re-learning Program at the UC Santa Cruz Botanical Gardens.
rick flores 12m.m4a


Carolyn Chen


Carolyn Chen has made music for supermarket, demolition district, and the dark. Her work reconfigures the everyday to retune habits of our ears, through sound, text, light, image, and movement. Recent projects include a marble chase and commissions for Klangforum Wien and the LA Phil New Music Group.

Described by The New York Times as “the evening’s most consistently alluring … a quiet but lush meditation,” Chen’s work has been supported by the Fulbright Program, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, Stanford University Sudler Prize, ASCAP Foundation Fred Ho Award, and commissions from MATA Festival. The work has been presented at festivals and exhibitions in 24 countries, at venues including Carnegie Hall and the Kitchen (New York), Disney Hall and the Geffen MOCA (Los Angeles), the Menil Collection (Houston), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Guggenheim Bilbao, CYCLE Festival (Iceland), and the Institute for Provocation (Beijing). Her writing appears in MusikTexte, Experimental Music Yearbook, and New Centennial Review. Chen earned a Ph.D. in music from UC San Diego, and a M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature and B.A. in music from Stanford University.

About CommonGround


CommonGround is a new biennial festival of place-inspired, outdoor work hosted in locations throughout Santa Cruz County, from downtown plazas and nearby waterways to forested hillsides and local landmarks.

Focused on temporary and performative public art projects in rural, urban, and architectural space, the 10-day event features site-responsive installations and interventions across the area’s natural and built environments, connecting people, stories, and landscapes.

CommonGround is a mostly FREE event. While the majority of works can be visited at no cost, some festival performances are ticketed and there is a small admission fee to the MAH to view supporting exhibitions and installations.

CommonGround is presented with support from California Humanities, Kaiser Permanente, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Language of Birds

a site-specific installation, guided tour, and new piece by composer Carolyn Chen

Thu., Sep. 22, 2022
Doors at 12pm | Show at 5pm
Evergreen Cemetery
Add to Calendar
Free with RSVP
RSVP for Guided Tour & Performance
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