If you’ve been near Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San José lately, you might have heard a new sound amid the urban cacophony of nearby building construction, music from Downtown Ice and crowds at Christmas in the park. And it’s not your imagination: the historic clock tower of the San José Museum of Art speaks to you indeed.
This is a new installation by Trevor Paglen, a Berlin artist with connections to the Bay Area, which was commissioned by the museum as part of Beta Space, a museum program that encourages artists to experiment and truly color outside the lines. “There Will Come Soft Rains” activates every hour from 8 am to 8 pm – with sunrise, sunset and solar noon – with a series of chimes followed by a computerized male voice which strikes the time and weather and other facts from speakers mounted on top of the clock tower.
Paglen’s art is often about technology, politics, surveillance and the environment around us, and this piece – his first sound installation – fits into those themes. Some of the information the voice speaks is taken from the United Nations Endangered Species List and Cal Fire records, giving it a little more urgent benefit than your standard time and weather update. There is something a little ‘1984’ about the disembodied voice projected in public spaces like the Circle of Palms and Cesar Chavez’s Plaza.
In a statement about the coin, Paglen said, “When this clock was built in 1908, it represented a kind of public truth – time was a social pact that we agreed to. The past year has marked a change in my conception of time, which no longer feels like a gradual walk into the future, but rather a perpetual feeling of loss.
“This project explores the time marked by what was and is no more, and what it means to live in this context when the idea of shared knowledge, or of facts, is increasingly elusive,” he said. -he declares.
The installation will take place around November 6, 2022, so it will be interesting to see over the months whether it blends into the background or becomes an hourly listening post for downtown residents.
STAGE PARTY: The Republic Urban Properties holiday party on Thursday night was a boon for the San Jose Stage Company, but it was also a good test of how comfortable people can be with large crowds during a season usually filled with festive events. If the crowd of 350 people who have come to Blanco Urban in downtown San Jose is any indication, people are at ease.
Now the event had a few perks including the verified vaccination cards at the gate and Blanco Urban’s unusual layout – two of the three levels of the San Pedro Square event space are outside, which works great. with the temperate fall climate of San Jose.
With leading San Jose scene leaders Randall King and Cathleen King at the forefront, Michael Van Every of Republic Urban Properties gave a very passionate speech about the importance of art in our community. And it appears that plans are already underway for “Monday Night Live” – Stage’s political satire fundraiser – to return in June 2022 after last taking place in 2019. Hope is dying. ‘get the first two of the primary for San Jose. mayor to share the functions of guest host.
CREATIVE CHANGES: Jackie Copeland – who served as COO for Santa Clara County Catholic Charities and the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology – launched the WISE Fund last year after revealing visits to see the damage climate change has caused to the Great Barrier Reef and Kuranda Rainforest in Australia. She decided to bring the network she had built over her long career to help the planet – WISE stands for Women Invested to Save Earth – by supporting women of African descent, indigenous people and women of color working on solutions to eco-health to climate change. which also help underprivileged communities around the world.
But she also channeled some of the hustle and bustle of the past year into art, working on “Blachant,” an avant-garde jazz music studio album under the name Bouvier. The title comes from her vocal style of jazz singing, which she called blachanting. The first single, “Brown Baby,” was released Tuesday on Spotify and other streaming channels, with sales supporting the WISE Fund and the Black Philanthropy Month program.
LAST DANCE: This year’s production of “The Nutcracker” will be special for Linda Hurkmans, artistic director of the San Jose Dance Theater, who has produced the show for 56 seasons. For starters, the show – which runs December 10-19 – returns to the 2,600-seat Center for the Performing Arts with a live orchestra after being sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year. But it will also be Hurkmans’ last “Nutcracker” as artistic director as she has decided to retire after eight seasons. But there is a silver lining: his daughter will dance in this last race.
More information about the show, including schedule and ticket prices, is available at www.sjdt.org/the-nutcracker.
BUON NATALE: Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito has entertained audiences in the Bay Area and around the world for over a decade now, and he’s having his fourth special, “In the Spirit of Christmas,” which will debut on December 12 on PBS stations around the country. The holiday show was taped in Naples, but Esposito will perform a live version of the concert at the Montgomery Theater in downtown San Jose on December 18. regular combo on stage. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show can be purchased at www.pasqualeesposito.com/tour.