Phonography Austin

Sunset is an auspicious moment, both an ending and a beginning, a way to commemorate the previous day and herald the change that will come with the next one.

Previous NMASS Festivals have been ceremonially opened by Dusking, an outdoor, public sound event organized by R. Lee Dockery, performed from dusk to sunset.

For NMASS 2020, four members of Phonography Austin will participate in a live, remote audio/video stream documenting the sunset in Austin, Texas on June 20, from 8 PM to 9 PM.

With the artists and audience geographically separate from one another, and opportunities for ceremony strictly limited, the artists will focus on the visceral shared moment of sunset to find new ways to communicate and connect.

R. Lee Dockery is a musician and artist working out of Austin, Texas . His primary focus is the recording and manipulation of field recordings, objects and unconventional sound sources . He has released albums for such labels as No Kings, Somatic, and Astral Spirits. 

Vanessa Gelvin is a sound artist and sculptor working in glass, stone, and porcelain. Her work primarily draws from her academic background in cultural anthropology, sociology, and media studies. She is a founding member of arts collective Phonography Austin and avant-garde chamber ensemble, Katie & Rachel.

Alex Keller is an audio artist, sound designer, curator and teacher based in Austin, Texas. His work is in the media of performance, installation, and recorded release, and reflects his interests in architecture, language, abstraction and music.

He is an active audio production professional, has taught classes in media production at the Art Institute of Austin, Shoreline College, and the Art Institute of Seattle, and has won awards for his creative work from the Austin Chronicle, the City of Seattle, Puget Sound Transit, and Jack Straw Productions. Recent recorded pieces have been released on Elevator Bath, Loma Editions, and Mimeomeme.

Daniy Oberle is a sound designer and field recordist based in Austin, Texas. She aims to highlight the beauty and interest of the everyday sounds that define us. An avid traveler, she incorporates recordings from all over the world. After finding so much electromagnetic interference and machine noise in field recordings, she hopes to promote education of the effect humans and their technology have on the audible environment.

Phonography Austin is dedicated to exploring phonography (the creation and presentation of field recordings as art objects) and acoustic ecology (the study of the effects of the acoustic environment on those living within it).

Our activities include sound art events, an annual report, workshops, and citizen research in acoustic ecology.

Rue Bainbridge

Rue Bainbridge, the duo of Gryphon Rue and Benton C Bainbridge, explores the intersection of expanded cinema with sonic art.

In response to the pandemic, Rue Bainbridge is developing  I’ll Wear a Mask for You, a socio-existential absurdist media-opera.

On July 25, New Media Art & Sound Summit presents the world premiere of Rue Bainbridge: I’ll Wear a Mask for You… karaoke in an iron lung… a humorous mosaic dredged from our collective mindscape… pantomiming intimacy, global and emotional corruption… an apocryphal chapter of Perfect Lives for the hyper-now. WE ARE EVAIL ! EW ARV ALI E ! Wha ? ? ? 

I’ll Wear a Mask for You brings together experiences and sensations from disparate moments of American life in 2020. Generated during quarantine and an urgent road trip, the opera manipulates material captured under conditions of vivid adjustments and articulated anxieties. Conceived in relation to a larger field of mass media architectures, the network performance dramatizes the symbolic resonances and politicization of masks.

Juan Cisneros

Defying genre definitions with his ever-evolving process, Austin-based electronic composer JU4N fuses elements of new age, neoclassical and modern jazz on the new single “Loops for MIDI Pt.1.” Utilizing the expressive sound design capabilities of FM synthesis as his canvas, JU4N playfully dives into avant-minimalism via MIDI-controlled sequencing on both vintage hardware and modern software. Fractured melodies meticulously coalesce into a driving, multi-layered piece that cycles through a beautiful cast of nostalgic tones and morphing polyrhythms. Beyond the veneer of shimmering crystal bells and glassy digital piano, JU4N’s imaginative exploration and understated complexity reach new heights of refinement on “Loops for MIDI Pt.1.”

Zachary James Watkins & Luke Judd

Zachary James Watkins studied composition with Janice Giteck, Jarrad Powell, Robin Holcomb and Jovino Santos Neto at Cornish College. In 2006, Zachary received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College where he studied with Chris Brown, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran and Pauline Oliveros. Zachary has received commissions from Documenta 14, the Kronos Quartet, The Living Earth Ensemble, sfsound and the Seattle Chamber Players among others. His 2006 composition Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition and has subsequently been performed at the Labs 25th Anniversary Celebration, the Labor Sonor Series at Kule in Berlin Germany and in Seattle Wa, as part of the 2nd Annual Town Hall New Music Marathon featuring violist Eyvind Kang. Zachary has performed in numerous festivals across the United States, Mexico and Europe and his band Black Spirituals opened for pioneering Drone Metal band Earth during their 2015 European tour. In 2008, Zachary premiered a new multi-media work entitled Country Western as part of the Meridian Gallery’s Composers in Performance Series that received grants from the The American Music Center and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts. An excerpt of this piece is published on a compilation album entitled ”The Harmonic Series‚”  along side Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Fullman, Theresa Wong Charles Curtis and Duane Pitre among others.  Zachary recently completed Documentado / Undocumentado a multi media interactive book in collaboration with Guillermo Gómez Peña, Gustavo Vasquez, Jennifer Gonzalez and Felicia Rice. His sound art work entitled Third Floor::Designed Obsolescence, “spoke as a metaphor for the breakdown of the dream of technology and the myth of our society’s permanence,” review by Susan Noyes Platt in the Summer 05 issue of ARTLIES. Zachary releases music on the labels Sige, Cassauna, Confront (UK), The Tapeworm and Touch (UK). Novembre Magazine (DE), ITCH (ZA), Walrus Press and the New York Miniature Ensemble have published his writings and scores. Zachary has been an artist in resident at the Espy Foundation, Djerassi and the Headlands Center for The Arts.


Luke Judd is a postpartum premortem artist based out of Oakland, CA.

As an A.D.D. only child, born and raised on a dead end rural road in California’s Gold Country, Luke learned to entertain himself at an early age. As a child he would often direct his own experience, focusing and unfocusing his eyes as he told stories in his head. Long before he would touch his first camera, Luke was framing and reframing the world. The act of play is still at the heart of his work. A self professed master of none, he tries to find the red thread between mediums and modalities, focused on the connection between rather than perfection of any given element.

Luke uses 2D animations on 3D surfaces to create depth rather than vice versa and works mostly in the medium of light, whether it’s capturing, creating or throwing it across space to best serve an environment or experience. His methods entice an extra sensory perception, providing a backdrop to memory to create fully immersive visual experiences.

Luke has worked with hundreds of music acts in his 10+ years in the Bay Area including Shannon and the Clams, The Coup, Go Dark, Two Gallants, Oakland Symphony, Sh8peshifter, Tune-yards and many more.

Charles Benjamin Russell & Douglas Laustsen

Slow Burn is a video project by Charles Benjamin Russell and Douglas Laustsen. Using long shot and audio processing of diagetic sounds in the video, they manipulate the meditative process of starting a fire. 

“I draw paintings of dark and whimsical worlds composed characters living a narrative that’s based around their interaction with each other. I use ink and watercolor to help this community come to life. My work is a sort of portraiture of the silly details that connect all of us. I taught myself to draw and paint the pictures I do. I’m also a songwriter and sometimes storyteller from Linden-Kildare, TX. I live and work in Austin, Tx” – Charles Benjamin Russell

Based in Austin, TX, Douglas Laustsen is a musician and educator who has been creating sound objects since 2016. His work fuses technology alongside sound to create interactive works for audiences. He has also worked as an educator for over a decade, teaching instrumental music, general music, leading electronics workshops to build things like speakers, and clinics focused on emotional and physical health.

Saturday – July 25, 2020

On this closing day of NMASS, we will be joining forces with Experimental Sound Studio for the online presentation!

Between 6pm and 8pm you will see work by:

Zachary Smith & Sarah King
Natalia Rocafuerte & Jeannelle Ramirez
Howard Martin & Georgina Lewis
Rue Bainbridge followed by live Q&A w/Sonya Gonzales

View the presentation this evening at:
Or via our YouTube feed

Join our Zoom chat at 8pm to discuss anything you experienced this evening.