Seven Questions with Karen Crews

Seven Questions with Karen Crews

Long Beach's East Village is usually a snore at night, but for one evening a year, there's actually a reason to go down there that doesn't have to do with House of Hayden. That's SoundWalk, a free outdoor festival that showcases sound installations from local and international artists. If that means nothing to you, basically it's a bunch of abstract noise. For dudes like me, this is heaven.

We talked to participant Karen Crews--she used to live in Long Beach, but sold out (just kidding!) and moved to Fullerton with her boyfriend, Brian Hendon. The pair collaborated on an installation this year, so I figured I'd get the behind-the-scenes dirt from people who know what's up.

SoundWalk takes place Saturday in the East Village Arts District from 5-10. And regardless of what Crews says, you can't come over afterward.

1. How did you get involved in SoundWalk?
It all began when I started collaborating with the Hop-Frog Kollectiv. We would all get together and do experimental visual-audio projects at this tiny space called the Salvation Theater in Silverlake. These projects later moved around neighboring warehouse spaces and were called "Dung Mummy Festivals" and were known as "experimental art/noise & dissent culture gatherings."Not to mention that there was a giant sculpture of a bed pan right in front of the place, the ambiance begged for the very strangeties that we created. Exploring sound art was fascinating. Having a love for performance art, installation and the historical "happenings" from artists in the 1970s, our ideas here weren't too far off. It was a real freedom of expression that ached sometimes, but were refined later. If you never experiment, how will you ever know what you're capable of?

The connection with artist group FLOOD was there and so when they launched the idea to take outdoor spaces in downtown Long Beach and morph everyday environments into sound sculpture, we were naturally all over the project. Since then, I have grown close to FLOOD and have collaborated with them as often as I can .I find them to be one of the only art group activists in Long Beach who aren't afraid to push the boundaries. They tapped into a serious subculture that a lot of mainstream folks just don't know about.

2. Tell me a little bit about your entry.

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My entry is exhibited as a Sound Musaik and is a sort of tribute to two members of FLOOD, Marco Schindelmann and Frauke von der Horst. The sound pieces are manipulations taken from interviews I recorded with them. I find them to be extremely talented people who share many synergistic qualities, yet have interesting differences. They are sort of kindred spirits that try to get away from one another but can't due to their personal understandings with one another. Frauke, a contemporary art historian, and Marco a director of opera, both are highly aesthetic and multi-lingual people. Yet when in the same room with them, there is no need for verbal communication because both know what the other is thinking. In my sound installation, I showcase them with their own words from the two separate interviews and through audio time-experimentation, their communication mixes quite nicely.

3. How did you come up with the concept and how long did it take to make the concept a reality?
The concept hit me the more I worked with them both. I used to think they were like Siamese twins who both hated and loved each other, yet when together they create a whole that at times is greater than their individual parts. Visually the concept comes to be out of the blue. It was around April. It became a reality this week, especially when the project date comes a little too quick.

4. Where is your entry at?
132 Linden -- In the Lafayette Gallery.

5. Are there any other artists you are looking forward to hearing?
Kadet Kuhne, MLuM, Object Control, Machine Head, and of course Clowns and Fetuses.

6. Is it difficult being in a relationship and working together?
This is our first attempt working together on a sound piece. We usually go our separate ways when we express our art. He's a little more down-to-earth and I'm usually in outer-space, so we compliment each other in many ways and offer differences which help us both grow. So far so good.

7. Where's the after party?

I heard the after party is at Ryan Ritchie's house.

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