Bill Fontana, Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns EP, KQED FM

Gray Box Gallery and Main Gallery, SFAI | Fort Mason Campus

February 16-April 30, 2018

This exhibition featured a re-installation of Fontana’s 1981 site-specific sound installation alongside recent, never-before-seen audiovisual works. I commissioned and curated the technically complex re-installation of this historic work in partnership with Meyer Sound.

Exhibition text:

Music is continuous; it only stops when we turn away and stop paying attention.
—John Cage

As part of the year-long opening celebrations of SFAI’s new Fort Mason Campus, internationally-renowned sound artist Bill Fontana’s 1981 work Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns is re-presented in its original location on the eastern wall of Pier 2, now San Francisco Art Institute’s Fort Mason campus. This temporally-specific installation layers and overlaps with the contemporary soundscape of the San Francisco waterfront.

The original 1981 iteration of this work was a live acoustic map of San Francisco Bay. Microphones were installed at eight different positions around the bay in order to hear the multiple acoustic delays from the foghorns on the Golden Gate Bridge. Sounds were broadcast to the facade of Pier 2 at Fort Mason Center. Listeners are able to hear various locations simultaneously, delayed by the distances the sound has to travel, translating topography into sound.

For this exhibition, Fontana also presents never-before-seen audiovisual artworks, which he refers to as “acoustical visions,” extensions of his decades-long practice of concentrated attention and deep looking.