Soundbox Sound/Art Festival at Woodshop Projects, June 4-8

The Amazing Spiderharp!

In the basement of Oregon State University’s Fairbanks Hall is a recently created and unique exhibition room called Woodshop Projects. Gallery coordinator Andrew Nigon and resident sound artist Michael Harrison Gamble have joined creative forces to host a weeklong mini sound/art festival in the below-ground space.

The festival is aptly named Soundbox, which is a play on the idea of a sandbox in the park; a place where people are free to take part in creative play and expression. Such a place will exist in Gamble’s vision from June 4–8.

Soundbox will include a medley of music/sound performances and immersive installations by current students, alumni, and faculty of the university. Each event throughout the week aims to challenge the common perceptions of music and sound in various ways. Some projects create new sounds by fusing familiar genres, while others will blend sound with more eclectic styles.

The performances range from renditions of Yoko Ono pieces, to immersive visual and sound installations. The Corvallis Advocate’s very own Johnny Beaver is also slated to perform.

What may prove to be the most outlandishly bizarre performance of the entire festival includes an obscure instrument known as The Amazing Spiderharp! As the name implies, this instrument is a larger than life spiderweb that is played like a harp. A robotic spider was originally created to model how spiders localize their prey on a web. It can detect position, intensity, and distance of vibrations by feeling the web through its legs. Chet Udell extended this functionality to include the performance of musical gestures. Udell and Gamble will perform a harp and guitar suite together using this obscure device.

The entire event, according to co-creator Gamble, will cause your body, mind, and spirit to experience a “sonic crunch and visual lunch.” He advises attendees to bring the proper utensils for consumption while assuring everyone that earplugs will be available for those who want them.

The Fairbanks Gallery of Art is located at 220 SW 26th St. on the Oregon State University campus. For a detailed schedule of the events, please visit the Sounbox Facebook event page at

 By Jennifer Moreland