Through a research practice influenced by the history of improvisational music, Curtis Tamm (b. 1987 in California) locates cracks within Western systems of knowledge to give playful propositions for what it means to be human. His recent work explores human and non-human responses to natural disasters. During his stay in Japan in 2017 and 2018, Tamm interviewed seismologists to learn about the nature of waves as well as scientists investigating the ability of other animal species to predict earthquakes. He learned the catfish might have such ability and studied Namazu-e, Edo-period satirical woodblock prints depicting the catfish. He also gathered hundreds of sound recordings, building up his “sound-library.” It includes the chanting of blind shamans, the buzz of cicadas, and the acoustic of multi-ton temple bells known as Bonsho. Tamm explored ways in which waves interact with his own body by standing inside these temple bells, and recording frequencies which resonate within their open cavity - an empty space known as the bell’s “womb.”
The centerpiece of this latest MAM Project is a sound sculpture inviting visitors into the womb of Bonsho. Tamm summons a state of “deep listening” within the body, a catfish-like condition in which our senses are recast by bandwidths usually obscured by noise.
Born 1987 in California. In 2015, Tamm conducted a residency with the Santozeum in Santorini, in which he proposed a redesigned aural-warning siren for the Greek island. Recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art + Technology Lab Award in 2017. Artist-in-residence as part of “ARCUS Project 2017 IBARAKI.”