Hearing the weather at Epsilon Spires

Art and science, sun and wind at Epsilon Spires

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BRATTLEBORO — What does sunrise sound like? How about sunset? Are they different? What can rain sound like other than the pitter patter on a roof?

Brattleboro is going to get a chance to answer these questions and more thanks to Quintron, a New Orleans-based musician and inventor brought to town by Epsilon Spires to install the Weather Warlock in the bell tower at the First Baptist Church on Main Street.

The Weather Warlock is an analog synthesizer controlled completely by the weather, employing sun, rain, wind, temperature, moon, and lightning to produce an F major drone chord, with special sonic events occurring at sunrise and sunset. Access to the sounds of weather will be available at epsilonspires.org.

Brattleboro's Weather Warlock joins four active set-ups in New Orleans, Miami, Acra, N.Y., and Abu Dhabai, United Arab Emirates. Each instrument is customized to the local climate and the exact location of the sensors.

This system has also been called "weather for the blind" (weatherfortheblind.com) in reference to a circadian rhythm sleep disorder suffered by many sight-impaired persons. While making no medical claims of any sort, Quintron asserts from personal experience that mental and cellular relaxation in this direct connection to nature can be beneficial for sleep.

Weather Warlock is also the name of a band that sometimes accompanies the live sound of weather as it is distilled through the instrument. Musicians on a recent tour were Quintron, Gary Wrong (Wizzard Sleeve, Kajun SS, Jeth-Row Records), Kunal Prakash (Jeff The Brotherhood), and Aaron Hill (Eyehategod, King Louie). A few local musicians are usually invited to take part.

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Epsilon Spires manages the performance and event spaces being re-purposed at 190 Main St. The Sanctuary, with its historic Estey Organ, and Social Engagement Salon, the completely refurbished community room, will be the sites of a full schedule of events. The grand opening is this Friday with artist Natalja Kent's newest exhibit, Movement Artifact, along with a multi-media production by artist Victoria Keddie.

In her latest body of work, Kent upturns the conventions of photography by removing the camera altogether. These sensuous, large scale color fields are inhabited by dynamic geometric abstractions that seem suspended mid-motion. Angular bands of brightness and shadow clash and gather with a dynamism suggestive of an animating force that remains just out of sight. That generative motion is the artist herself, who produces these images by the direct application of light to the paper in the darkroom. Using flashlights and colored gels, she dances around the plane of each piece building the images cumulatively with beams of light that activate the silver halide crystals to produce jewel-deep colors on the paper.

Kent's work presses the tension between photography's documentary and expressive capacities, and in Movement Artifact she pulls the creative act directly into that exploration by opening her process to view. For this series the artist brought her mindfulness practice into the studio by beginning work on each piece with a body scan meditation. In this way, each of these images is the open record of a moment of embodied intuition that the viewer can trace through the rich sensory experience of the photograph.

Movement Artifact will be on exhibit from Sept. 6 through Nov. 1.

Also on Sept. 6 in the Sanctuary, Victoria Keddie performs the multi-media Electrona in Crystallo Fluenti at 8 p.m.

Epsilon Spires is the non-profit organization charged with managing the performance and event spaces being re-purposed at the big red brick church at 190 Main St. Visit epsilonspires.org for more information.


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