Shattering Silence


July 17, 2012  |   Feature,   Initiatives,   World
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Two recently commissioned artworks displayed in the new Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport were recognized as some of the best public art projects in the country over the weekend.

Local MacArthur Foundation genius grant winner Walter Kitundu’s “Bay Area Bird Encounters” and Seattle-based artist Norie Sato’s “Air Over Under” were two of 50 public pieces recognized at the 2012 Americans for the Arts convention in San Antonio out of about 500 entries, according to the San Francisco Arts Commission.

San Francisco sound artist, instrument builder and composer Walter Kitundu, best known for his phonoharp, which makes the common record player a stringed instrument. Kitundu has been affiliated with the Exploratorium Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception since 2003, where he is currently a multimedia artist. In 2008, he is the Wornick Distinguished Visiting Professor of Wood Arts at the California College of the Arts and artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. His work has been exhibited and performed at such national and international venues as the Singapore Arts Centre, the Gunnar Gunnarsson Institute, Iceland, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. He has also created instruments for and performed with the Kronos Quartet at several venues across the U.S.
Kitundu’s musical contribution, displayed since T2’s re-opening in April 2011, lets travelers play around on xylophones embedded on two sparrow-shaped wooden benches and a mural featuring photographs of local birds.
Many of Kitundu’s artistic pursuits, including ambitious proposals for public installations of his instruments, reflect his ongoing interest in the interaction between technology and the natural world. His elemental phonoharps, for example, draw on natural forces such as wind, waves, light, and the movement of birds to produce unique sound sculptures. An experimental instrument builder, composer, and musician, Kitundu’s interdisciplinary approach to music-making and performance is inspiring a wide range of musicians and audiences. Photo credit: Walter Kitundu

Check out more about Walter Kitundu