Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

513 345 8400


Event Details

Members – $10 / General – $15

Tickets: Nov 3

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A composer, sound artist, and author, Brian Harnetty’s work connects sonic archives, performance, ecology and place. His pieces transform archival material – including field recordings, transcriptions, images and historic recordings – into newly re-contextualized sound collages. Recent projects have involved working with recordings from the Berea Appalachian Sound Archives, and the Sun Ra/El Saturn Collection.

Harnetty’s newest work, Shawnee, Ohio, is a portrait of a town, both real and imagined. Performed with sampled archives, field recordings and live musicians, Shawnee, Ohio asks: what are the sounds of mining? Of fracking? Of a town fighting to survive after a century of economic decline and environmental degradation? These sounds are recorded as compositional material reflecting layers of history and memory in Appalachian Ohio. Shawnee’s history includes coal, gas, and clay extraction, and the formation of early labor unions. The town’s downturn and partial restoration act as an ethos of the struggles and hopes of the larger region, now immersed in a controversial fracking boom. Focusing on eleven personal portraits, Shawnee, Ohio considers histories, evokes place through sound, and listens to the present alongside traces of the past. In words and song, people recount their lives, work, loves, and deeds. At the same time, other subjects are at play: mining and extraction, disasters, fires, environmental destruction and recovery, parades, protest, and hope.

Performers: Aaron Michael Butler, Elizabeth Fisher, Jocelyn Hach, Brian Harnetty, Katie Porter, Jane Van Voorhis, Jeremy Woodruff

"Harnetty brings gem recordings up out of the basement and into the light....the resulting music isn’t about stepping back into the past, but rather experiencing the past and the present simultaneously in a way that is instructive” – New Music Box

Shawnee, Ohio is co-commissioned by the Contemporary Arts Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, and Duke Performances at Duke University

Contemporary Arts Center is a partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). This project is made possible in part by support from the NPN Performance Residency Program

Front page banner video: "Boy" by Brian Harnetty.

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Brian Harnetty: Shawnee, Ohio

Brian Harnetty: Shawnee, Ohio


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