sam anthem
 selected work

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sam anthem
 selected work
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a project about banned/challenged books; performance and research; wearable with microcontroller movement-to-sound technology
“What’s Inside”audiovisual performance projecting real MRI images of my body onto and beside it, enacting and inviting fabulation of medical images 
“Together We Share”
 a performance for a crowd
“Lessons from an Elm”
interactive site-specific installation w/ a history-rich American Elm Tree
“Botanical Telephone Line”
interactive installation playing with biosonificatory expectations
“This is a Guitar”
interactive found wood sound sculpture  
Steel Pipe Woodwinds
instrument construction, performances with electronics
“Improvisations with Philodendron”
iterative art/research project about human-houseplant relations, philodendron, and biosonification technology

Lessons from an Elm

“Lessons from an Elm” was an interactive site-specific installation that enabled dialogue between human passersby and an American Elm tree on the border of Central Park, NYC.  The installation was made up of two elements: a series of guided meditations played through delicately dangling speakers across the tree’s canopy; and the "Arboreal Communication Transcoder”—a box with a telephone and mechanical interface that mediated a both literal and symbolic conversation between the human engager and the Elm.

 This American Elm tree is on the corner of Manhattan’s 77th Street and Central Park West. Being on the cusp of Central Park and the Urban Upper West Side—also so proximate to the Museum of Natural History—it has a wide range of sonic characteristics to enrich listening-focused meditations. From this site, one can hear the traditional sounds of the city: traffic and honking; pedestrians and joggers passing by; the multilingual din of tourists taking photos; also, the relative quiet and calm of central park, birds chirping and squirrels jumping from tree to tree, rattling branches beneath their feet. Simultaneously, this site contains important historical entanglement with settler colonial forces that I sought to address with this project. Situated in Manhattan, beneath this site was once the Lenape’s, before settler colonials stole and dominated it. And many years after that, just a few blocks away from the tree is where the similarly displaced predominantly African American settlement of Seneca Village was established. 

In addition to teaching strangers about the taken for granted histories of Central Park and settler colonialism, the interactive experience encouraged people to 1) “listen” with interwoven senses beyond solely the ear, 2) consider not only other, peripheral agents in their own listening process but non-human listening agents as well, 3) become more comfortable with uncomfortable kinds of listening, i.e. listening practices that unsettle rather than affirm dominant sensorial relations.