Exploration, Field, and Anthroapologetic Sketch #2 for the Dynamic Listening Instrument

A thesis installation, December 1st-8th 2017  in the lobby and main gallery of the Fisher Studio Arts Building at Bard College.

The Dynamic Listening Instrument is an electromagnetic architectural sculpture that allows sound to be handled as a tactile entity. People can navigate a venn-diagram of magnetic fields with a sounding bucket to listen and compose a unique acoustic assemblage.  So far it has been used with buckets for dance performances, movement workshops, sound experiments, and listening installation.


Among sculpture, drawing, video, and large visual/text scores, were performances of the movement/sound compositions Exploration and Field, and an interactive listening installation, Anthroapologetic Sketch #2.




Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 1.44.25 PM

Listeners at the opening reception.

What is the Dynamic Listening Instrument?

Since Spring 2017, I have worked to develop an instrument that uses art as a productive social container. The Dynamic Listening Instrument is a tool/sculpture able to do two really important things. Most noticeably, it allows anyone interacting with it to play with sound as a tactile entity. I call the instrument dynamic because it allows extreme variability and openness. Sound can be controlled with unique precision by someone just lifting and moving a bucket. As electrical current in magnetic fields, sounds become fixed to locations and remain dormant unless those places are tapped by interaction. Anyone can experience this as long as they can hold a bucket and move. It’s a mystifying experience that is technically simple and can be built without digital technologies.

FullSizeRender (16)

The fact that the instrument allows someone to uniquely experience the materiality of sound helps the instrument do a second really important thing, which is make people want to listen. The type of listening the instrument engages is uniquely tied to touch and movement. Whoever is interacting with the bucket/instrument is in charge of audibility. They can fine tune and blend different sounds however they want. I believe that since the participant is in control of sound they become more invested in listening. Sounds are placed intentionally into the instrument, but it is the participants who accesses and expose themselves to these sounds, make their own compositions, and set their own durations. New value and curiosity is brought to sound because of the unique and surprising nature of the instrument. One can listen deeply for content or can just have fun with the aesthetic/tactile experience.
For more info email callanfish@gmail.com

Edited video stills for the process of “Field” printed on acetate.



A few listening buckets…



The Dynamic Listening Instrument powered by a rechargeable battery so as to be portable.


There were two nights of performances with Emma Lee, Margot Roo Ells, Lily Lasher, Livia Paraday, and Mehgan Abdel-Moheim with costumes by Mallie Sanford (Soulw0rm) and Cal Fish.

EXPLORATION Video Document

FIELD Video Document

FIELD Video Document




In the lobby were 5 CRT monitors with a scrolling artist statement and documentation from Dynamic Listening Dance Workshops held leading up to the installation.








The Dynamic Listening Instrument will be used next in Harlem from January 12th-18th to extend the “What Lies Upstream” documentary about water contamination in West Virginia,

and for the Co-Incidence Festival In Somerville MA from January 19th-28th.


Ellis Islander for Frontier Crossings Benefit

Looping cassette, Cassette player, AA batteries, sound collage, paint, wire, pastel, thread.


As I have been trying to work towards asserting art as a socially productive container and sound as a medium of communication I have been working on a collaborative practice that involves interactive sound sculpture. This piece, Ellis Islander, Is a 6 minute looping cassette that could play indefinitely until the batteries die and its sculptural container.

The primary sonic material comes from a tape found at a yard sale years ago which held reading comprehension tests of elementary schoolers from 2003, an excerpt from an interview I did with artist and activist Mario De Vega used to speak back to the found recording, manipulated flute drones, and construction sounds from NYC in 2017.
The test gives us a look into how public education infrastructures in New York introduce immigration to children, and what they decide is relevant for the children to know. This oral history is mediated by standardized testing, interrogation, and cassette. The drawings on the shell question what is and isn’t allowed to cross certain borders.


The work was produced and auctioned for the Frontier Crossings Benefit Art show in Red Hook NY.

“In “Frontier Crossings,” artists explore their relationship with location and belonging and consider the multivalent effects of travel and displacement. Artists also take a critical approach toward the concept of borders, scrutinizing the way they serve to construct different categories of space and relationships among people. The exhibition features a group of artists consisting of Bard students and faculty, as well as Hudson Valley locals, to raise a dialogue surrounding site and psyche during a political time in which the preservation of certain human rights is intensely tied to land.

The artists in “Frontier Crossings” share a desire to highlight emotion and intellectual inquiry in visual or auditory representations of space. For many, the process entails unearthing psychological attachments to particular locations in time and area, building upon common conceptions of visibility, liminality, and home. Ultimately, artists uncover the ways in which ideas regarding site have shed light on how they can engage with the current sociopolitical moment and our surrounding world.

Special thanks to Bard Experimental Humanities for funding this exhibition as part of a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

All of the proceeds will be donated to United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. They organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.”


The Video Voting Machine

Dispersion For Proximity’s Video Voting Machine was implemented in public for the first time on March 29th and April 1st 2017 at the first Global|Local Conference at Bard College. 

The following video shows the first exciting round of votes that came in.

Voters did not have to be citizens to vote and simply registered with Dispersion For Proximity by writing their name and email on a piece of paper. They were then asked, “What do you vote for?”

Some voters were explained Dispersion for Proximity’s voting philosophy. They endorse a political process that starts at the vote rather than culminating in a vote. The booth was accompanied by yarn and newspaper and receipt sculptures. The long strands of Newspaper were collaged of different publications from November 9th, 2016. The day after Donald Trump’s election.

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.24.56 PM

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.23.50 PM

The voting booth was ran by Cal for two days during the conference which also featured work, lectures, and activities by Manan Ahmed, Ting Ting Cheng, Treva Lindsey, Hoyt Long, Heather Love, Dennis Tenen, T.L. Cown, Angel David Nieves, Pedro Pedercini, and Nocile Starosielski.


Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.23.33 PM


Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.23.59 PM


Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.24.38 PM


Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.22.53 PM

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.24.26 PM

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 9.23.14 PM





Anthroapologetic Sketch for the Dynamic Listening Instrument at the Sound and Necessity Final Exhibition

These photos document an installation for the Sound and Necessity final Exhibition in Pankow, Berlin. Sound and Necessity was a month long intensive led by Julianne Swartz and Ana Maria Lopez Gomez that interacted with various sites in Berlin, sound art, and social art.

The installation consisted of strands of sewn receipts with drawings, the Tempo Snake, Dynamic Listening Dance Workshops, and a 15 minute 4-channel audio piece filling the courtyard, and a video projection of the first Dynamic Listening Dance Workshop.workshop 1

This listening prompt was hung with receipt strands in the courtyard, it introduces and explains the audio project.

listening promptlistening prompt 22listening prompt 33listening prompt 44

Variations of these drawings were hung in long sewn together strands in the installation, alongside long sewn together strands of receipts w/ drawings known to me and others as my ongoing piece, Conspicuous Consumer.


This installation/composition… “Anthro-Apologetic Sketch for the Dynamic Listening Instrument*”
it is a first attempt at setting the D.L.Instrument for anthroapology with oriented recordings and affective information…
Without the electro-magnetic D.L.I. present.
Among the recordings assembled in Berlin from July-August 2017 are…
Interviews/speech from
-April Gertler 
[A photographer, social artist, and teacher who runs the project “Picture Berlin”…]

-Dorothea von Hantelmann [a theorist, writer, and curator who has worked with Documenta, Free University, Berlin, MOMA…]

-Lola Jusidman Shoshana [An environmental activist studying Political Economy at NYU…]

-Anton Kaplan 
[An artist studying “Art and Accessibility” at Hampshire College in Massachusetts.]

-Nyika Mukada [An artist and musical producer working and living at Teufelsberg]

-Patrice Scott [An artist working in Media Studies at Vassar College NY]

-Julianne Swartz [A  artist based in New York working with sound, sculpture magnetism, kinetics, and more]

-Mario de Vega [A Berlin based sound artist and lecturer from Mexico City “exploring the threshold of human perception and the physicality of listening.” Speaking here on the radical potential of art communities.]

-Tamar Weiss [A Berlin based musician, artist, and Homeopathic doctor.]

…[also] Various [cassette] tape loops recorded in Berlin…

Sounds from:
Monbijou Park, Templehofer

Field, Devil’s Mountain [Teufelsberg,]

Krumme Lanke +more

…Bell towers & Birds from Kassel, Munster, and Berlin [Carillon]

+German birds recorded by “Sonnaberg”

+more -Cal Fish

***To attempt to “set the D.L.Instrument for anthroapology… without the D.L.I. present” was an effort to isolate the sonic and social aspects of the project from the technical electro-magnetic apparatus. Working on the Sound and Social Attitude without the actual instrument allowed greater focus and development of the sonic and social
practices that would have to develop to make the instrument worth sharing.

workshop 3workshop 5

A video document of the first Dynamic Listening Dance Workshop held in the space days prior.

Cassette Traveler

Cassette Traveler is a visual album assembled with a Fostex 280 4-track, a menu of DV cameras, VHS cameras, and analog video equipment from Fall 2015 until Summer 2017 when it began being mixed and digitized by Cal and Christian Billard for dispersion.

It’s video form is 54 minutes and has been sold on limited editions of home dubbed VHS and USB bracelets. Its audio form was released in limited editions on cassette and CD by the Brooklyn label, Firetalk.

You can read an extensive take into the album by Decoder Magazine here
An interview about the album in Impose Magazine here 
A review by Post-Trash here  

And most importantly, you can experience the album below…









Leftover Sculptures, 2016


BLUE III in the place it was assembled by the Rhinecliff train tracks and in the studio.

Pledge Allegiance to the Can at the Living Gallery in Brooklyn NY.

Pledge Allegiance to the Can at the Prattsville Art and Residency Center.

A Piece in the TAILGATE Parking Lot Exhibition at Bard College.


A sweater deconstructed and reconstructed in an improvised performance on a found stage with Lily Lasher.