Downtown Berkeley BART soundscape played outside schedule

Lights and Speakers
Sunny Shen/Senior Staff
Previous installations in the same spot have included 'Immersion-Bay Area Soundscape,' a blend of nature sounds recorded throughout the Bay Area by artist Maggi Payne, and 'Berkeley Rain,' a music composition by Edmund Campion meant to mimic the dripping of rain.

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Residents of Berkeley passing through the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza on Monday might have heard loud noises played from loudspeakers at about 1:30 a.m.

City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said these noises are part of a series of sound installations commissioned by the city’s Civic Arts Commission. The Berkeley Office of Economic Development website states the pieces, numbering 10 in total, are scheduled to play between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week.

The current piece was created by violinist Thea Farhadian and guitarist Dean Santomieri, also called the Santomieri-Farhadian Duo, according to the website. Called “A New Sense of Place,” the piece was installed Friday and will continue playing until Feb. 15, 2021.

Farhadian is a performer and improviser who has played in venues across the globe and is also a former member of the Berkeley Symphony orchestra, according to the website. Santomieri performs using electric resonator guitars and as a spoken word artist. He has been working and recording with Farhadian since 2011.

“A New Sense of Place is a site-specific sound installation created in the hope that people moving through the plaza will be pleasantly roused from their thoughts, conversations, or devices, by the unexpected gift of music,” the website reads.

Previous installations in the same spot have included “Immersion-Bay Area Soundscape,” a blend of nature sounds recorded throughout the Bay Area by artist Maggi Payne, and “Berkeley Rain,” a music composition by Edmund Campion meant to mimic the dripping of rain, according to the website.

In an email, Chakko said the unscheduled playback could be attributed to an error in the sound piece’s programming.

Jennifer Lovvorn, chief cultural affairs officer of the city Civic Arts Program, added that her office is scheduling on-site repairs for the programming.

Both Chakko and Lovvorn said the instillation will resume once the repairs are complete and the programming is fixed. According to Lovvorn, her office has not yet determined a completion date.

Contact Tarunika Kapoorr at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tkapoor_dc.