Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly
Chapter 1 — Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born in Mexico, works in Canada) is the artist behind the enormous outdoor art installation OPEN AIR, and the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) is the commissioning organization. One feels the hand of an alien or machine intelligence in the presence of many of Rafael’s works, and OPEN AIR is no different. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is covered by a canopy of light, provided by 24 powerful robotic spotlights. This canopy moves, each light darting and pulsing in synchronization with the others, triggered by the voices of the citizens of Philadelphia. Like something out of STAR TREK, the effect is like a benevolent alien being made of light, city-sized and 10 miles high, happy to be in Philadelphia. In addition to an interview with Rafael, we speak with the director of the APA, Penny Balkin Bach, about the present, future, and past, of public art.
Andrea Clearfield: Composing East & West
Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles
Chapter 2 — Andrea Clearfield is a Philadelphia native and an award winning American composer of music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, dance and multi-media collaborations. Her works are performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. Commissions include works for The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Debussy Trio and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Carol Wincenc, the Turtle Creek Chorale, the Mendelssohn Club, Orchestra 2001 and Network for New Music. She has composed ten cantatas for voices and orchestra and is currently working on an opera.
Clearfield’s newest cantata, Tse Go La (At the threshold of this life), was co-commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and premiered on April 29, 2012 with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. It was inspired by her experiences studying chant and folk music in the Tibetan community of Lo Monthang, located in a remote and restricted Himalayan region of Nepal.
This month Friday Arts talks with Andrea about her trek into the eastern world of music and how she was able to transform that experience into such a vibrant work. We also hear from the Tibetan community here in Philadelphia about the importance of sharing their music and culture with others.
Happy Cat Farm
Art of Food — Produced by Monica Rogozinski
Chapter 3 — Tim Mountz is a seed fanatic. After the death of his grandfather in 1993, he received a jar of beans that would generate his fascination with food and its history. Now as the owner of Happy Cat Farm, Tim seeks to instill that sense of history and tradition into great, naturally grown food. Starting as the hobby of a seed collector, Happy Cat Farms has grown into a national distributor of both seeds and plants. Describing the endeavor as a “triple-bottom-line” business, the farm is dedicated not simply to profit, “but [to] people and planet as well.”
In this segment, Art of Food walks us through the history of various heirloom varieties of seeds, engendering in the land a cultural relevance not readily apparent. Through explaining his love of farming and living off the land, Tim Mountz reminds us what it means to live simply and by the seasons in the face of a complicated modern world.
“My grandfather’s gone but his beans are right over there, still growing. That’s my life’s mission, to make sure everybody knows that story.”