The statement on Aren Skalman's bio on his web page says: "Art is made from the stuff of life."
It's a broad statement, indeed, and one that could easily be applied to just about any artist's conceptualization of what he or she does, but for Skalman, well, let's just say he takes that sentiment a little more literally.
"The audience is free to explore and see how these sounds get triggered in the room," says Skalman, when asked about the new sculptural piece he's working on for Response, a biennial group show at Space 4 Art in the East Village opening Sept. 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. "I'm also placing speakers and amps in parts of the room so they activate the architecture as speakers."
Wait, architecture as speakers?
"The sculptures themselves will trigger the sound," he adds, referring to one of the works that appears to be fashioned from everyday objects. "The speakers will vibrate a beam or a metal railing or places in a brick so it creates a sound chamber." He laughs then adds, "It's an experiment. I'm crossing my finger it works."
So far, they've worked for him. Skalman's site-specific, often sound-based sculptures have been popping up a lot more these days from group shows at the SDSU Downtown Gallery to Art Produce in North Park. For Response, Skalman is one of 15 artists who were tasked to "re-contextualize" their work to the Space 4 Art space.
"I've always wanted to show in this building," Skalman says. "We all have our own space, but it's certainly going to overlap somewhat."
After Response, Skalman has a solo show in January of site-specific sound pieces at the Athenaeum Arts & Music Library in La Jolla. He says it may also include some kind of performance aspect.
"Even as someone who's always been a musician, I never felt comfortable as a performer," says Skalman, who posts his own music and the sounds his art produces to his Soundcloud page. "I'm interested in composition and music, but I'm also very interested in sound in a more fundamental way—the relationship between physical objects and sound. That place between music and noise."