Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures of Michael Brewster


Don’t miss this exciting weekend, August 13 & 14, launching our Arts @ the Observatory program at Mount Wilson Observatory.   

Immerse yourself in the distilled auditory experience of “Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures of Michael Brewster,” by the late Southern California-based artist.  Brewster designed and manipulated sound waves in architectural spaces to engage listeners within auditory fields that one explores via one’s body and ears moving in space.  

Brewster’s works — as much about science as they are about art — have been expertly adapted for the space inside the 100-inch Dome. They are a perfect blend of what the 100-inch telescope and dome represent: science and design in service of exploration and understanding, creating something extraordinary. 

We offer two ways to experience this art: a performance of the works along with a lecture and reception or a performance combined with observing through the historic 100-inch telescope.

On both Saturday, August 13, and Sunday August 14, there will be presentations of Within Sound at 3 pm and 6 pm. Attendees of both are invited to a talk at 4:15 pm by Homer Charles Arnold about the career of pioneering sound artist Michael Brewster. Learn about his artistic journey and how he invented various technologies and adapted architectural spaces to create his works. After the lecture, a reception with the curators will be held outside the 100-inch dome featuring Brewster’s art, examples of his experiments with sound, and technical drawings for his works.

On Saturday, August 13, starting at 7:30 pm, Within Sound will be coupled with viewing through the 100-inch telescope.  Encounter the cosmos in a whole new way with this enhanced observing opportunity. The evening begins with a curated presentation of the sound sculpture and continues into the night combined with observing on the 100-inch telescope.

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Michael L. Brewster (1946-2016) was a sound artist whose career spanned four decades of experimentation into new art forms, primarily in Southern California. He coined the term “acoustic sculpture” to describe his immersive sonic environments that were key in the evolution of contemporary sound installation. His works are in the permanent collections of MOCA Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Orange County Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the Giuseppe Panza Collection and private collections. Three of his sound installations are on permanent display in the Panza/FAI Villa in Varese, Italy. 

Brewster also co-built, and for over forty years, was a professor in the Graduate Arts Department at Claremont Graduate University. Born in Oregon, raised in Brazil, he created his art in a Sound Studio in Venice, California.

Homer Charles Arnold studies modern and contemporary art history, specializing in post-1960s new media practices. He was a student of Michael Brewster’s at Claremont Graduate University, and is the archive manager for the Michael Brewster Trust. 

Arnold teaches art history in the Riverside College district, writes art criticism, and has curated several shows of Brewster’s work. He is currently preparing a book-length manuscript on the artist dedicated to Brewster’s entire career. Originally from Austin Texas, he now lives in Culver City.

Alex Schetter is an immersive artist, sound engineer and musician who specializes in sound art and installation. He is a Los Angeles native who studied music and audio production at Loyola University New Orleans and the Art Institute of California.  His sound work has appeared internationally and he has contributed to factory sound design for major synthesizers manufacturers since 2012. 

As archival technician for the Michael Brewster Trust, his restoration and understanding of audio and acoustics has been key to adapting Brewster’s works in the Mount Wilson 100-inch Dome.

Masks are required, and must remain on, in all indoor areas of the Observatory.
Tickets are non-refundable; non-transferrable.
The Observatory is not ADA-compliant – stairs and paths could present challenges to those with difficulties.
There is a 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the 100-inch telescope; be prepared with comfortable shoes.
The temperature can drop in the evenings; be prepared with extra clothing.

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