Though this past weekend was the 3rd annual Soundwalk in Long Beach, it was my first year going to the event. I went with high expectations because the Los Angeles area just is not well known for events that feature sound works. For the organizer to create something like this is something that needs to really be commended. But I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by my first outing. While there were many sound pieces blaring from loudspeakers installed on rooftops, above doorways to stores and galleries, and hidden in potted plants lining the streets, along with the street performers complete with a guy pushing a mobile foghorn, what I had hoped for were some meaty sound installations.
Perhaps that expectation is not the right criteria to use as basis to criticize the event, but a comment from an acquaintance who was documenting the Soundwalk that I ran into confirmed that this year was less interesting than the year previous. I, however, did see an installation that even attempted to provide interactivity, albeit a very simple interactivity indeed.
To the organizers’ and the artists’ credit, the street performances and works composed were quite wonderful. Having a sound event like this really show that there is an interest in sound art within the area, even if the commercial galleries and local institutions do not provide the venues to showcase this type of art as much as they should or could. I do hope that next year’s event will be a bit better, so that I can make this event an annual engagement.