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Work Samples

Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too

Documentation of improvised performance of "Trees Harp and Wind Harps too" with Fiona Small. Photo by Lauren Click.

i know this land is loved (detail clip)

Excerpt from "i know this land is loved". A meditation on agriculture as a living system. Created after many generous conversations, readings, interviews, and podcasts about regenerative agricultural practices.

i know this land is loved (detail clip)

Excerpt from "i know this land is loved". A meditation on agriculture as a living system. Created after many generous conversations, readings, interviews, and podcasts about regenerative agricultural practices.

Night (excerpt)

Excerpt from "Night", improvised cello for field recordings. A-side of the album "Other Rhythms" on Ehse Records in 2019.

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About Katie

Baltimore City

Katie Addada Shlon's picture
Katie Addada Shlon (BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago) is a conceptual artist living in Baltimore. Katie uses use sound, sculpture, and performance to explore the relationships we have with buildings, the land, and each other. Their performances utilize improvisation, deep listening, and meditation to open viewers to conversations on complex environmental issues.  Katie has shared their work internationally in public parks, artist-run galleries, museums, and on top of... more

i know this land is loved (meditations on a living system)

This video and performance was created as the first virtual artist in residence at the Maine Farmland Trust's Joseph A. Fiore Art Center in July 2020. I wanted to create a performance and installation which could open up a conversation about how when we re-frame our experience of food to include an intimate understanding of the living system which allows plants to grow, we can restructure the system our food is grown in. The issues of public health, land health, individual health, growth, and nourishment are all connected but can be made invisible in everyday life. As popular industrial agricultural practices have decreased soil health, public health, and food sovereignty, there is a lot of repair work to be done.

The product is this video, a meditation on agriculture as a living system. It was created after many generous conversations, readings, interviews, and podcasts about regenerative agricultural practices.
Everything is cyclical here, seasons, actions, sounds, reverberations. One farmer said that bugs, birds, bees, worms are heartbeats of the soil. Moving animals everyday. Planting agroforests. It's all a part of a bigger picture, where everything is connected. What ways can we decolonize our relationship to the land? How can we restore our intimacy?

Instruments were created by me out of copper pipes, discarded wood, studio scraps, beautiful but cracked or broken ceramic pots created by Claire di Salvo, and some ceramic beds made by me.

  • i know this land is loved (detail clip)

    Excerpt from "i know this land is loved". A meditation on agriculture as a living system. Created after many generous conversations, readings, interviews, and podcasts about regenerative agricultural practices.
  • i know this land is loved

    Supported by the Maine Farmland Trust, this video is a meditation on agriculture as a living system. Created after many generous conversations, readings, interviews, and podcasts about regenerative agricultural practices. This work was supported by a residency at the Joseph A. Fiore center at the Maine Farmland Trust. Video by Corey Hughes. Handmade instruments and performance by Katie Addada Shlon. Broken and whole ceramic pieces by Claire di Salvo. Shot in Maryland at Hydes Hill Herbs. July 2020.
  • i know this land is loved (detail clip)

    Excerpt from "i know this land is loved". A meditation on agriculture as a living system. Created after many generous conversations, readings, interviews, and podcasts about regenerative agricultural practices.

Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too

“Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too” is a collection of instruments for listening, meditation, and performance commissioned by the city of Boulder as a part of their Experiments in Public Art. I made these instruments response to and mostly of wood from Ash trees felled in the city’s Central Park due to infestation by the Emerald Ash Borer. All other materials were sourced secondhand, with the exclusion of the strings and tuning hardware.

Much like the landscape, these instruments are living and changing. They are tuned by the elements and sometimes sound because of them. While the components of these instruments may be recognized from traditional musical instruments, these are not instruments for music making. The strings may vibrate loudly, clamor, buzz, and pitches may bend. Their sounds resonate against a dense or a hollow body. You may notice that you have to listen very closely to hear the sounds they make. There are other things to be heard in the absence of sound; this involves listening with your eyes, ears, and mind.

My performance of these instruments is led by their environmental collaborators. In this case, the compositions created are dictated by the running creek, wind, and density of the surrounding treescape. Plucking their strings is always either in unison or in competition with the existing environment.

These instruments were installed between June 28th-June 30th, 2018 in Boulder, Colorado and a series of events were held for their listening. Flutist, composer, and certified Deep Listening practicioner Jane Rigler led a group in sonic meditations and a sound walk, ending at the installation and solo performance by myself. Additionally, I performed the instruments solo on multiple mornings throughout their installation, as well as a duet with performer Fiona Small.

  • Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too

    Documentation of improvised performance of "Trees Harp and Wind Harps too" with Fiona Small. Photo by Lauren Click.
  • Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too

    Detail shot of the Canyon Box and Ash Board instruments during performance.
  • Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too

    Detail shot of Canyon Box (foreground) and Ash Board (background). The Canyon Box is made of dulcimer and harp strings, zither pins, ash wood, found box, and scrollsawed plywood. The Ash Board is made of ash wood, three movable found wood bridges, zither pins, harp strings, copper pipes, clay beads, and other found wood parts. Photo taken by Lauren Click.
  • 06-31-18 , Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too Performance Excerpt

    Field recording of performance on Ash Board, Canyon Box, and Moveable Chime at the Public Art Social on the morning of June 30, 2018.
  • Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too

    More documentation of the Movable Chime. Photo by Lauren Click.
  • Sonic Meditations

    Jane Rigler leading a group in sonic meditations prior to leading a sound walk to the Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too installation site. Photo by Lauren Click.
  • Sonic Meditations

    More documentation of sonic meditations around the installation site. Photo by Lauren Click.
  • Public Art Social

    The public interacting with instruments during a Public Art Walk led by Boulder's Public Art Director, Mandy Vink. Photo by Lauren Click.

sounds from the base of a mountain

"sounds from the base of a mountain" was a solo exhibition of handmade chimes and rock sculptures installed at Current Space in Baltimore, MD. Imagining the gallery space as a meandering garden in which to stop and pause, viewers were urged to carefully engage with the sculptures and listen with small movements. Instruments and sculptures were made between 2016-2020.

I respectfully find solace and inspiration in Rene Daumal's The Art of Climbing Mountains: "You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again . . . So what's the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully. There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know. . . Keep your eyes fixed on the way to the top, but don't forget to look at your feet. The last step depends on the first."

  • Gallery View

    ":)", "Windcatcher", "Wooden Meditation Pad", and "Brass and Cairn" installed at Current Space in March 2020.
  • Windcatcher (detail)

    Carved ash, copper pipes, ceramic beads, metal cups, wire, rope, nails, dowels 2019
  • Tandem Chime #2

    Wood, brass hardware, beads, copper pipe, wire, dowel 2020
  • : )

    Arranged rocks 2020
  • Sun Chimes & Sandbags #1 and #2

    Sunchimes, 2020 Split log, rope, copper pipes, dowels, rocks Sandbags #1 & #2 (With Fionn Duffy), 2018 Digital screenprint on fabric, sand

Other Rhythms

One part meditation tape, one part endless dérive, one part site-responsive performance, one part environmental reflection. Other Rhythms is improvised cello for a collage of field recordings collected in cities and countrysides.

"On Other Rhythms, Katie Shlon invites the traveler into a lush and spacious reality. As a listener, I found myself not so much transported to Shlon's world as I felt a collaborator in their world-building. Shlon is a student of space, and the sounds on Other Rhythms left enough room open to intermingle with the creaks of my house, the barks of my neighbor's dog, and my own internal rhythms. Shlon knows how to improvise with any stimuli, including with the many samples they've collected through their prolific explorations in field recording and travel. With their use of improvised cello over recordings of birds, bells, and water, Shlon shows great sensitivity to their environment and gives the traveler materials through which to construct their own narrative..... or to zone out. We can call it new-new age, I guess." - Suzanne Doogan

Bodies in Sounded Space (with Fionn Duffy)

Bodies in Sounded Space explores the architectural and social boundaries which differentiate sound from music. All works were created in collaboration with Fionn Duffy (London/Glasgow) and was supported by a Rubys Grant for Performing Arts in 2017. In this work, we investigate the role our bodies play in creating a score for new sound works and how what we see influences what we hear.

Transforming architectural space into the body of an instrument, we created sculptural interventions as structures for sound. We constructed these of familiar materials: crown moulding, sitar strings, hypertufa, glass bottles, and copper piping. These act as listening devices and instruments, creating new sounds or triggering collected audio recordings. We were interested in testing the ways in which introducing a set of tools or pathways into a space transforms an audience’s experience. Movement through the space activates the instrument: bodies experiencing localized ‘music’ dependent on positions relative to permanent and interventional structures.

  • Floor Harp

    Floor Harp installed at School 33 Art Center. Floor Harp made from spray paint, crown moulding, guitar tuning heads, sitar strings, and bent acrylic bridge. Installed with Floor Pillows and Sandbags made from custom silk-screened fabric.
  • Floor Harp

    More installation details.
  • Impressionist Landscape Seascape Reproduction Framed Art Kick Drum

    Impressionist Landscape Seascape Reproduction Framed Art Kick Drum is made of a found picture frame, banister, kick drum pedal, and stretched painted glassine. In the background is a speaker triggered by a doorbell on another piece in the installation.
  • Twelve Pipe Mobile Garden Wall, Sandbags, and Doorway installation

    The Twelve Pipe Mobile Garden Wall is made of hypertufa, glass bottles, plywood, and wheels.
  • Twelve Pipe Mobile Garden Wall, Sandbags, and Doorway installation

    The Doorway is made of plywood and spray painted crown moulding. It is stabilized by pieces of the Twelve Pipe Mobile Garden Wall and custom made sandbags. There is a doorbell which triggers a field recording to play in another part of the installation.
  • Three Bottle Pipe

    Three Bottle Pipe installed at School 33 Art Center. Made of hypertufa, glass bottles, and tile.
  • Sound Dampening Blanket

    The Sound Dampening Blanket is a jacquard woven collage.
  • Windchime

    Windchime made of steel, dowel, and nylon string.
  • Furniture for Player Piano Roll

    Furniture for Player Piano Roll installed with a sandbag made of custom silk screened fabric and a motion-sensor activated speaker.
  • Performance Still

    Opening night included performances of the sculptures by sound artists Carrie Fucile, Liz Meredith, and Tim Wisiniewski.

Play Some Songs to Make the Plants Grow

On May 24th, 2015, I set out on a 3-week road trip across the Western United States to document 5 vernacular art environments. At each site, the maker’s yard or garden at their home was their primary mode of expression. Because landscape is a common ground for everyone, the creation of place within the landscape helps to make sense of the world-- and to create a sense of belonging. These sites spanned anywhere from Catholic devotional grottos in Iowa to Noah Purifoy’s response to politics and racism in Los Angeles at his Outdoor Desert Art Museum, to Leonard Knight’s commitment to spreading a message of love at Salvation Mountain in Niland, California. Further indulging in the vernacular narrative of these sites, I played some songs to make the plants grow and made cassette field recordings of the improvised performances. These songs are both in honor of the plant’s caretakers who are no longer living, and in honor to the plants or landscape that play(ed) a huge part of the healing process for both the artists and visitors to the sites.

Full album at http://www.katieshlon.bandcamp.com

This project was generously supported by a Roads Grant for Travel and Research, given through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mhor Farr Collaborations 2016-2017

Collaborations of improvised performances and musical instruments between myself and a few artists at Mhor Farr in 2016-2017. I view these instruments as both site-specific and site-responsive, made from materials gathered from in and around the house and Mellon Udrigle Beach. The instruments will continually be repaired, built onto, recorded with each year we re-visit them at their home in Mhor Farr. This project is always ongoing, investigative research for developing my sculpture and musical instrument making practice. In most of these works I am a builder, but in some I serve as just a performer of other collaborator's instruments.

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Mhor Farr is a remote project space that acts as an annual durational salon. Considering the site as a living place, creative individuals are invited to collectively shape the group’s agenda, cultivating common interests and developing research whilst working closely with the rural landscape of Wester Ross, Scotland for 3 weeks of the year.

  • Shore Harp

    Shore Harp made from found wood, dulcimer strings, and tuning pegs. Made with Coral KB. 2017.
  • Board Cello

    Board cello made of found wood, paint, cello strings, and tuning pegs. Made with Coral KB. 2017.
  • Alice Playing the Shell Tambourine (video still)

    From a :12 loop of Alice playing the shell tambourine at Mellon Udrigle beach near Mhor Farr. Part of an in progress work called "Celebration". 2017-ongoing. Instrument made by myself, performance by Alice Jackson (UK).
  • Sharif Playing the Shell Lute

    Still from a :12 video loop of Sharif playing the shell lute at Mhor Farr. Part of a larger, in-progress video work called "Celebration". 2017-ongoing. Instrument made by myself, costume by Coral Kindred Boothby (UK), performance by Sharif Elsabagh (UK).
  • Shell Tambourine

    Tambourine made from willow found at Mhor Farr, limpit shells, and fishing line. 2017.
  • Shell Lute

    Percussive shell lute made from willow, found wood, fishing line, limpit, and winkle shells. 2017.
  • when we stayed up late and played music when everyone else went to sleep except ben and sophie

    Cassette field recording of improvised music at Mhor Farr in 2016. Harvey Herman on guitar and myself on glockenspiel made by Fionn Duffy.
  • Glockenspill

    Knocked over the Glockenspiel in 2016.
  • Windchime

    A windchime Fionn Duffy (UK) and I made in an afternoon out of things washed up on Mellon Udrigle Beach and items we found around Mhor Farr in 2016. Installed on the grounds one chilly afternoon.
  • Mhor Farr Music

    I appear as a performer along with Chris Harnan (UK) and Fionn Duffy (UK). Instruments made by Fionn Duffy and costumes made by Coral Kindred Boothby at Mhor Farr in 2016.

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Katie's Curated Collection

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