In 1982, Bill Fontana mounted a monumental outdoor sound installation called Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns that would near-impossible to realize today. Live audio feeds from eight foghorns around the San Francisco Bay were routed to a central listening arena on city’s waterfront at Fort Mason. As a pioneer in the developing field of Sound Art, Fontana’s fusion of sound and sculpture was virtually unheard of, much less on the region-encompassing scale that he was working with for Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns. A document of the installation was released as an LP by San Francisco radio station KQED, which has since become a sought-after collectors’ item.
Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns is not only foundational in the history of Sound Art, but is a major work within Fontana’s oeuvre, particularly his group of works he calls Sound Sculptures for Architectural Spaces. Similarly, he has gone on to make audio maps of trains in the East Bay, Berlin, and Lyon, the city of Venice, the London Millennium Bridge, and beyond. Fontana’s unique geographic folding technique reveals acoustic details inaccessible to the naked ear and thus provides a perspective of place that few artists or even art forms are capable of.
Nearly 40 years after its initial release, Other Minds is issuing an expanded edition of Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns on CD for the first time. Along with the original audio, this edition will include Fontana’s re-worked 2018 version as well as a concert version of the piece featuring Stuart Dempster (Deep Listening Band, Merce Cunningham Dance Company). Further, the CD includes a 24-page full color booklet containing Bill Fontana’s original liner notes, a new essay by Jennifer Lucy Allan (Wire, Arc Light Editions) and a recent conversation between Bill Fontana, Stuart Dempster, and Charles Amirkhanian.