Preserving leif BRUSH


leif BRUSH

Leif Brush (b. Bridgeport, Illinois, USA, 1932) is a true pioneer when it comes to sound art. Toward the end of the 60s, as an undergraduate, he created his own sound studies department in 1969 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Audible Sculpture. Before this he had been very active in the world of broadcasting, which he left when he became disappointed with the direction taken by modern radio. His lifelong fascination with nature would direct him to the, often hidden, sounds of the vegetation and the elements. Trees and the wind became some of his classic instruments. His Audible Sculpture took the form of what he would then call his Terrain Instruments. Instruments allowing him to extensively sonify his surroundings. He gradually turned his vast garden in northern Minnesota into his studio, populating it with Windribbons, Signal Discs, Terrestrial Whistlers and even an Insect Recording Studio; all allowing him to sense and amplify the hidden or at least very discrete sounds of nature. He never intended these sounds to remain in his garden and basement studio, but instead he investigated and developed technologies and philosophies to disseminate them worldwide, ranging from satellite communication to audio-cassette exchange. He developed the Terrain Instruments (both in his garden and in a few (in the end not so) permanent public installations) until the mid-eighties. Then gradually they got dismantled and eventually recycled, leaving behaind but a few remnants as a reminder. Their existence only being publicly documented on Leif's exhaustive website and his CV which became Leif's new, ever expanding terrain, along with the development of new concepts, the realization of which would involve global networking.

In the early summer of 2011 Guy De Bièvre and Sofia von Bustorff flew to Duluth, Minnesota, to visit Leif Brush in order to extensively interview him and digitize both analog video and audio testimonies of his practice. The results of their endeavour will be presented in audiovisual documentation spaces during 2012 (the year of Leif's 80th anniversary).

In addition to the documentation they will also re-install or replicate, for the first time in almost 30 years, original Leif Brush Terrain Instruments (under the artist's supervision): such as the Windribbon.

In 2013, the windribbon became a permanent installation in Klankenbos (BE), a unique outdoor public sound art park.