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  1. 1. Hearing Complexthe sound art of John Wigginsan exhbition proposal for the HBO ART GALLERY double click to hear “Texture 1”
  2. 2. Hearing Complexthe sound art of John Wigginsan exhbition proposal for the HBO ART GALLERY A proposal for an HBO Gallery installation of the sound art of HBO alumni, sound designer John Wiggins. By Fran Shea This proposal is an exploration of John Wiggins, contemporary acoustic artist and sound engineer. His underground compositions have had serious influence in the world of sound artists and designers. He is a well known creator and innovator in the commercial world as well as among sound artists. The following presentation seeks to continue to bring attention to the fact that HBO has long influenced and encouraged artists. double click to hear “Texture 1” I invite you to meet our own John Wiggins in this new way and consider an installation of his work for inclusion in the HBO Gallery.
  3. 3. In the summer of 1980 I came to HBO Studios in NYC directly from college. I was hired as a production assistant and charged with creating simple promotional pieces for the nascent movie channel’s entertainment fare. Mostly I was writing and producing promos for movies and an occasional prize fight. My mentors and co-creators were young, artistic technicians, editors and audio guys. Among them was John Wiggins. A true original. John was and is an artist who always added sonic color to even the most pedestrian channel ID. I spent many YEARS in edit room 5 creating shows that won me awards and accolades, sitting right alongside a guy who was by day winning awards in his own right and by night creating breakthrough sound art, at home, in his basement. Over the years his passion for sound would find its way into countless productions. Mixing freaky background sounds deep into the soundtracks of sports documentaries, or textural audio on top of traditional music, John would evoke feeling where simple music would ordinarily dwell. I spent 10 years at HBO in NYC. John stayed a little longer after HBO built him his own audio suite to address the growing demand for his special talents. He left after 22 years to work from aJohn Wiggins in his basement simple studio space in Soho called Wonderland Sound which attracts a constant stream of devoted clients. He recently moved his work back to his basement when he realized his clients would follow him anywhere in search of his unique and original sound.
  4. 4. Known as a commercial sounddesigner,few know John Wigginsas an influential experimentalsound artist John would most easily be recognized for work associated with the images here. He has won numerous commercial industry awards and is known as a traditional sound designer. Those who know him well, however know of his long standing work in the area of sound creation and innovation in the experimental and sound art arenas.
  5. 5. Hearing Complex - the sound art of John Wigginsan HBO GALLERY installation From his early work as an experimental artist who traded tapes with other audiophiles through the mail, to a well regarded sound artist. You are invited to consider an installation of select pieces of the John Wiggins collection for inclusion in the HBO Gallery. Below you will find a considered approach to the show’s theme.Wiggins (left) and collaborator John Wood
  6. 6. Wiggins early work was captured on cassette tapes and pressedLP’s. Recordings were traded with fellow enthusiasts across theglobe. The proposed gallery show would seek to show a progressionof his interest in sound including works across the decade whichwould be chosen by Wiggins with help from archivist Don Campau,long time Wiggins, and underground music critic and soundarchivist. Don CampauSound art critic and enthusiast Don Campau includesWiggins work in The Living Archive of UndergroundMusic saying, “Those already familiar with Wiggins soundinvestigations of minute particles, crackling granulations andforays into the world of musique concrete may be surprised by thedirection. Of course his penchant for microscopic detail is evidentas is his ear for combining variegated tones. This time though the As an artist John has grown from his early worksound field is richer, less dry and perhaps, more human. Sort of where he was motivated to create sounds that no onelike he has arrived on this planet with a language that might be had ever heard.interpreted although still difficult to crack” Over the years he was able to describe his process “I had a method where I made sounds of all origin, recordedin another interview Campau said of John’s early work, “Of and layered them in multiple analog tape machines and thenall the people in the underground scene John seemed to be mixed it all together-to DAT- to make thick, original soundingthe composer most closely aligned with “serious” electronic music.”work, that is.”
  7. 7. Early Work...These recordings on cassette and vinyl represent a wider variety of recordings fromwhich the show pieces would be selected. “Engrossing and weird, his music existed in another universe, perhaps not even parallel to ours but somehow in communication with us. Albeit slightly different, “granular synthesis” is a term thrown around these days and to my way of thinking Wiggins was there way ahead of the pack working with equipment that made it much more difficult to accomplish.” Don Campau All the Truth At Once 1986 LP “All sounds on this cassette are real. Each was sampled in and manipulated by an 8 bit computer and then recorded and edited on a 4 track. No synthesizers were used”. John Wiggins Particle Music 1985 cassette
  8. 8. Later Work... as Wiggins continued to create he becamemore interested in merging his underground interests with thework he was doing as a sound designer. He continued to createsound pieces for himself and his underground audience while healso created original pieces mixed within traditionaltelevision shows and on air promotions... John Wiggins playing in his band “The Robinsons”
  9. 9. Here is a sample of how pieces might beincluded with a brief description by Wiggins. For the purposes of this proposal there aremore recent pieces as they are more easilyaccessible at present. double click on sound button “SLED” – many musics use sound as a “sled” for emotional outpouring. Sound is an entity unto itself and carries it’s own identities. Not a ride. “DEAD QUIET” – I realized the only really “quiet” place on earth was my studio – dead quiet until I get there. Then this comes out. “Inner Chord”When I look back at all the different techniques Ive used to create music I see that Ive never really abandoned any of them. Ive kept them all, and they run along side each other in tandem, like multiple worlds. Many components make up my voice and I refuse to label myself or align to a single style or language. “QUALIA 1” – very thick, very soft, very loud – like a solar wind.
  10. 10. Show Proposal-Date: TBDCollection: 10 pieces of audio and 10accompanying framed images detailing Wigginsgrowth as an artist over 3 decades.Length of audio experience: 1 minute each HBO ART GALLERYProcess:Equipment:High quality (Dr. Dre Beats)headphones connected to high quality MP3 Visuals: The pieces would be accompanied byplayers that are built into fixed simple framed photography and artwork that ispushbutton audioboxes meaningful of the period in which the audio was written. Additionally, written descriptions of Wiggins commentary will be hung adjacent. As Wiggins is also a painterCuration: These pieces would be chosen by the exhibit may include some of this work,Wiggins, Campau and myself to create a as well.visual and audio story of an artists path insound exploration and growth. High quality(Dr. Dre Beats) Headphones connected to Experience: The exhibit will invite guestshigh to listen to Wiggins work and experience the growth of an artist who has added greatly to the HBO body of work.
  11. 11. FOR INFORMATION regardingthis proposal... Please contact: Fran Shea 310-977-8086
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