Walter Kitundu: The Ceiling of Our Day
March 29 - June 1, 2014
Curated by Jennifer Gately
MacArthur Genius Fellow Walter Kitundu, a Bay Area artist, instrument builder, photographer, performer, designer, former Bolinas resident and avid birder, has combined analog mechanical wizardry with a passion for birdlife in his first solo museum exhibition featuring work beyond the musical instruments for which he is widely known. Inspired by walks through the forest, Kitundu will transform the gallery into an immersive site-specific kinetic photography installation where the random footsteps of each visitor trigger the whir, hum and click of an assembly of vintage slide projectors and the flight of an array of Bay Area birds, making each walk-through unique. Like the Richard Wilbur poem that inspired the title of the installation,The Ceiling of Our Day, Kitundu’s work calls our attention to the natural world and makes us pause and reconsider how chance informs our experience of daily life and our place in the natural order of things.
Kitundu is most well known as the inventor of a family of Phonoharps, multi-stringed instruments made from record players that rely on the turntable’s sensitivity to vibration. As an artist he has created hand-built record players powered by the wind and rain, fire, birds, light, and ocean waves, for which he received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008. As a musician, he has collaborated with such renowned musicians as the Kronos Quartet in venues worldwide including Carnegie Hall.