Global Arts Performance Initiatives will present the inaugural Sonified Sustainability Festival from April 14-May 1. With support from the U. of I. Student Sustainability Committee, the festival celebrates ecological music and arts by bringing together sustainability-minded musicians and artists who will provide free and educational events to the Urbana-Champaign community.
The festival will feature Ken Butler, a Brooklyn, New York-based artist who has been performing since 1978 on hybrid musical instruments created primarily from urban debris such as discarded tennis rackets, hockey sticks, umbrellas, axes, snow shovels, rakes and metal. During the festival, Butler’s “hybrid visions” will be on display at the Illini Union Art Gallery. The formal opening will take place at 4:30 p.m. April 14. Butler’s exhibition will feature his hybrid musical instrument sculptures, which are created to express a poetic spirit of reinvention and hyperutility as hidden meanings and associations that momentarily create a striking and reanimated cultural identity for common objects.
The highlight of the festival will be from 1-5 p.m. April 16 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. This free event is open to all ages. It will feature live music by a New York City-based trio including Butler performing on his sculptural hybrid instruments. Also featured are area musicians Berimbau Bandit, the Caxixikid – a percussion duo featuring Chad Dunn and Jason Finkelman – and Tony Taylor from local business Ascendent Instruments performing on handmade instruments created from recycled materials. Students from Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School will showcase their own recycled instruments modeled after Tom Nunn’s Skatchboxes. Nunn was featured in February as part of the Sudden Sound Concert Series at the U. of I.
An accompanying information fair will showcase local projects, programs and organizations working toward a sustainable future, including The I.D.E.A. Store, Prairie Rivers Network and Students for Environmental Concerns. The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center will feature a sculpture in the Krannert Center lobby created from the university’s recyclables in an effort to raise awareness about the magnitude of waste generation at the university. Because plastic materials constitute a large portion of the university’s waste stream, the structure will be composed entirely of plastic bottles to encourage increased recycling and waste reduction.
More information about upcoming events is available online.