RON KUIVILA composes music and designs sound installations that revolve around the unusual homemade and home modified electronic instruments he designs. He pioneered the use of ultrasound (In Appreciation) and sound sampling (Alphabet) in live performance. Other pieces have explored compositional algorithms (Loose Canons), speech synthesis (The Linear Predictive Zoo) and high voltage phenomena (Pythagorean Puppet Theatre). Other pieces have recalled the sound world of live electronics while exploiting the compositional possibilities of digital signal processing (fugue states). Outgoing Message is an evening length work based on the dial tones, ring tones, and busy signals of the world¹s telephone systems. Many of Kuivila's compositions also take the form of sound installations. For example Radial Arcs, a sound installation commissioned by Ars Electronica, involves the coordination of 96 stun guns. Visitations is on extended display at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art as is Singing Shadows at the New York Hall of Science. The weather (at 6) involved the electronic mimicry and transformation of the sounds of a university carillon in accordance with the changes in weather over 100 years.
Ron Kuivila is an Adjunct Professor of Music at Wesleyan University. He received an artist¹s fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2007 and was a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio institute in 2002. He was a fellow of the DAAD Artist in Berlin program (1999-2000), an artist in residence at the Institute for Studies in the Arts at Arizona State University (1998-99), California Institute of the Arts (1997), the Banff Centre for the Arts (1994), Tempo Reale (Florence Italy, 1990), and Stichting STEIM (Amsterdam, NL, 1987, 1988, and 1993). Kuivila has performed and exhibited installations throughout the U.S., China, Canada, and Europe.
Alex at Twilight (2010)
A set of pointers mime one hundred years of weather in a kind of electromechanical Butoh in an arrangement reminiscent of the garden at Ryoan-ji. The pointers’ own creaking bodies, periodically interrupted by that venerable cliché of electroacoustic music, the mutated bell. That bell lines out the temperature of different years, decades, and centuries in its changing pitch and timbre.
Within the SC symposium, the piece may be regarded as an allegory of the tension between code making and breaking that mark the relation of sound art, computer music, and digital media in general.