Memorial Event: Beyond These Things: a series for Jed Speare
Mobius, Inc. and Non-Event invite friends and colleagues to the first in a series of memorial events, honoring the artist, composer, and arts organizer, Jed Speare, who passed away in early March.
The evening will feature a selection of Jed Speare’s sound compositions and video, spanning the years 1982 to 2016. At the conclusion of the program we invite members of the audience to speak of Jed. His work, as an artist, curator and art space director, touched artists and audiences in many different communities in Boston, Europe, and Asia. We want to celebrate his life and recognize the significant contributions he made to the art world.
JED SPEARE was an artist working in a broad range of media and settings. Born in Boston in 1954, he presented sound, video, performance and multidisciplinary work locally, nationally, and internationally in Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Taiwan, as well as throughout the United States.
He studied music composition at the Philadelphia Musical Academy from 1972-76 and Acoustic Communication at the Sonic Research Studio of the World Soundscape Project, in Burnaby, British Columbia in 1978, which was an experience that led to his extensive work in field recordings and his advocacy concerning the sound environment. In 1994 he received an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, where he studied fine arts, focusing on new media, including video, photography and artist books.
In the eighties, Speare was closely associated with San Francisco industrial culture as the creator of the record album Cable Car Soundscapes (1982) on Smithsonian Folkways Records, for which he received an award from the secretary of the Smithsonian as a Folkways artist in 1998.
He was also a founder of the group, Research Library, who recorded on Subterranean Records. During this time, he was active creating numerous sound art, collaborative, experimental theater, movement, and multidisciplinary performance works in San Francisco, New York, and Amsterdam, where he taught at the Theatreschool Mime Opleiding in 1986 and 1987.
From the early 1980s until his death, Speare worked in collaboration with choreographer/performer Rob List, as well as serving as the international coordinator for Rob List’s Company OZU, which was based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In the past year he collaborated with List and performing artist Nate Speare, his son, in a series of performances in Boston.
Recent works include a concert in February 2016 at New England Conservatory featuring a composition for violin (performed by Morgan Evans Weiler); a solo concert at Café Fixe produced by nonevent; concerts with the New England Phonographers Union, such as a concert in 2011 for World Listening Day, at the Deer Island Treatment Plant, which incorporated sound collected on site, and a 2013 concert at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum; and in the ‘Strange Attractor’ concert series presented in 2011 in Cork, Ireland.
In January of 2008, Family Vineyard Records released a special, archival double-CD of his music, Jed Speare: Sound Works, 1982 – 1987, which included several long-form works from that period. His most recent CD release is the first of a trilogy of his work, Jed Speare: The Wounds of Returning - Sound Works II 1974-1983, issued in 2015 by Farpoint Recordings in Ireland. Later this year they will release two more CDs of Speare’s work.
Speare has written about sound and performance art in Chicago’s P-Form magazine (1995), Art New England (2001-2003), and in Beijing, China’s Art and Architecture (2009).
He also worked as an Industrial Hearing Conservationist, giving hearing tests to factory workers, and has created conceptual works about the sound environment, investigating and creating urban “Quiet Zones.”
Speare was a member of the Mobius Artists Group starting in 1995, and served as the Director of Mobius from 1996 to 2004, and again from 2009-2013. He was also Director of Studio Soto, beginning in 2006. He was active as a founding member of the New England Phonographers Union and the New England Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
In 2008, Wire magazine wrote, “Working field and documentary recordings into socially resonant performance works, this unsung composer is a pioneer of multimedia presentation.”
Jed Speare was interviewed in 2012 by artist Sven Anderson, for EAR ROOM, - Interviews exploring the use of sound in artistic practice.
We would like to thank the Studio for Interrelated Media for sponsoring this event
photo credit: Marilyn Arsem