Manzanar and Tule Lake: A Soundscape by Richard Lerman

January 22 – March 30, 2008

Manzanar2Location recordings were made at these two Japanese American internment camps in California. Using self-built transducers, sounds were recorded from artifacts still at the camps: barbed wire, crumbling foundations of the former barracks, plants, and from the boughs of an apple tree that had been planted by the internees. One also hears windharps, site-specific pieces the artist constructed at the sites.

“For me,” wrote Richard Lerman, “the recording made at sites from the existing objects and plants are about the past—these objects were present at that time and were therefore witness to everything that occurred at the camps. The windharps and constructs are more about the present time and explore how we now regard these places.”

Manzanar and Tule Lake is the second section of a longer work, From Dark to Light…but Dark. In this piece, the other recording locations include Auschwitz, Trinity Site (New Mexico), and Hiroshima.

Richard Lerman works in audio art, installations, and media. For years he has designed and built his own transducers usually using piezo disks. These are able to record sounds too soft for our hearing and allow him to record sounds of the environment that also allow the sonic flavor of each material to emerge. We know these as the devices inside cell phones beckoning us to answer.