Sound Sculptures by Bill Fontana

Spiraling Echoes

Four Holosonic speakers installed in the roof eaves of the North Beach Library emit highly directional sounds that are heard by passersby walking along Columbus Avenue. Artist Bill Fontana’s sound sculpture titled Spiraling Echoes, originally presented at San Francisco City Hall in 2009, is an evocative mix of sounds recorded in the San Francisco Bay Area: red-winged blackbirds, foghorns, the melodious flow of underwater currents recorded near the Farallon Islands, streetcar bells, and speech from a post-election Proposition 8 protest.

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Sonic Dreamscape (Original Sounds)

Fontana also created a sound sculpture title Sonic Dreamscape inspired by the sounds of North Beach. The sounds were collected from the neighborhood and include the tinkling of glass and silverware at local cafes, the squawking of the famously enigmatic Telegraph Hill parrots, the chiming bells of Washington Square Park’s Saints Peter and Paul Church and the reading of a poem by famed beat artist and neighborhood icon Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

“I have been a resident of North Beach since 1999,” said Fontana. “The recordings used in this sound sculpture are an accumulation of 15 years of listening and recording sounds of this neighborhood, which have been a permanent part of my life here. Sonic Dreamscape portrays how the accumulation of these sounds float together in my memory and imagination as a sonic dream.”

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