During the summer of 2019, non-disciplinary artist Eric Ellingsen guides “walkshops” throughout the city. If, as urbanist and author Jane Jacobs asserts, we need eyes on the streets then we need ears on the streets, too. Participants in the first phase of the project—including members of the Samaritan United Methodist Church, Third Baptist Church, and other CAM neighbors—construct and wear hearing devices based on early 20th-century technologies to engage protocols of listening. Ellingsen and CAM staff guide walkshops to observe and collect sounds from the surrounding neighborhood, with musicians, poets, field scientists, and landscape architects. These field recordings are gathered, archived, and mixed into sound installations, creating aural portraits. Visitors can experience soundscapes of St. Louis neighborhoods in an acoustically designed tool shed in CAM’s courtyard throughout the summer.
Eric Ellingsen: Tool Shed is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator; Alex Elmestad, Director of Learning and Engagement; and Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator.