Sound Sculptures Project with Ben Brown

Foolish Operations is part of Ben Brown’s new project Sound Sculptures!


With his new project, Sound Sculptures, drummer and composer Ben Brown has set out to actively explore Vancouver’s “playability” as a city.

Brown’s interest in embodying sound vibration and found percussion led him to a practice of playing public structures like pitched percussion instruments. For this project, Brown has identified four sculptures that are distinctly musical when activated by soft felt mallets and hands: Dragon Skin Pavilion (UBC), Gate to the Northwest Passage (Kitsilano), Solo (Coal Harbour), and The Swimmer (Vancouver Aquatic Centre).

From April – September he will meet weekly with these four public art pieces in Vancouver to learn how to play them like musical instruments. With the support of the Vancouver Parks Board and Neighbourhood Matching Fund these explorations will culminate in public, outdoor performances to take place over four Sundays on September 12, 19, 26 and October 3. Joining him for the explorations and public performances are collaborators from All Bodies Dance and Foolish Operations!


A testimonial from Foolish Operations Artistic Associate Sarah Gallos:

“I was curious to participate in Ben’s process, having experienced working with him in the past through Dancing the Parenting. I saw my role as a support to my kids curiosities. I worked on listening in and fine tuning the movement created from what we were ‘playing’ with, much like what we do in Dancing the Parenting and Foolish Operations productions. I stood as an advocate for the power of the child in the performance space. Ben was attentive and just as curious as the kids about the possibilities that existed between the sculptures, the bodies, the mallets and the sounds they made when they met.
About once a week throughout the summer,  I would say to my kids, Odessa and Osman; “We’re going to go and play with Ben.” No details other than that. We would meet him with his collection of colorful mallets, at a sculpture, rain or shine. The action was really driven by play. Sometimes the kids would suggest games, sometimes Ben would suggest games. We might feel the sculpture and play it with our hands, or whisper into it and see what we could hear. We’d all grab different mallets and strike the sculpture as hard or as soft as we could. We’d all talk about our experience.
I saw my kids learning about tone and resonance, space, structure, and the possibilities of interacting with the sculptures. We navigated moving around and within them, while playing them. We discussed the difference between music performance and dance performance and I offered guidance in building a movement score to present. My approach was one of observing how the participants moved through the setting and the sculpture, noticing the moments of connection within play, and placing value on those experiences.
When I asked Oz what he learned from Ben, he answered: ‘You should have ideas that other people might not think of, like playing a statue.’ My takeaway from Ben is to have fun and see what presents itself.  Play, curious and creative play, is eye opening and it makes me want to challenge myself to push the possibilities.”

Photos by Andi Mcleish


Vancouver New Music Event Page:
Sound Sculptures Website: