Pictures from SoundWalk 2011 courtesy of FLOOD.
You have to hand it to FLOOD, the team that has curated SoundWalk for the last decade—they have never been slaves to the conventional.
So we shouldn't be all that surprised by "Silence is Golden," this year's iteration of the group's annual SoundWalk fundraiser. But it is an unusual approach to trying and scare up $1,500.
We're talking no band, no catered spread, not even a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. Instead, it's a silent auction of visual art, accompanied by bread and water.
"We're going opposite of the usual [fundraising] route, creating a silent auction on multiple levels," says FLOOD member Marco Schindelmann. "This event is there to purify and clear the perceptual palate in preparation for SoundWalk. […] It's almost a piece of sound art itself—not in presentation, but in stance."
Spoken like a true conceptual artist. But that's FLOOD for ya.
Actually, you will get a bit more than just bread and water for your cash (suggested donation: $20). Five sound installations from last year's SoundWalk will be on display, and several sound artists who are part of this year's event (which takes place September 1) will be on hand for mixing and mingling. There's also a live auction, and all attendees will leave with a piece of memorabilia.
FLOOD member Kamran Assadi admits this type of fundraiser is not going to be everyone's proverbial cup of tea.
"We're counting on some hardcore donors to help us out," he says. "But it will be a fun evening."
In the midst of our hyperlinked, overstimulated culture, with "Silence is Golden" FLOOD is creating a more serene and interpersonal public event, where the experience is not synonymous with distraction.
While it promises to be an unusual evening, Assadi and Schindelmann both confess that the whole concept could go awry. As Schindelmann put it as part of his own 2005 SoundWalk installation, "Conceptual art is like a bad gift: it's the thought that counts."
But in the world of curating the four square blocks of indoor/outdoor sound installations that is SoundWalk, money also matters. So while the whole event might be a quiet car crash, if you slow down to look, you'll also be making a tax-deductible donation toward helping the non-profit organization that is FLOOD produce one of Long Beach's greatest and most unique artistic traditions, one that's free in just about every conceivable way.
"Silence is Golden" takes place Saturday, August 11, from 6PM to 9PM at the Art Exchange Annex, located at 340 E. 3rd St. (at Elm Ave.). For more information, visit soundwalk.org.