Arizona alumna Alex! Jimenez partnered with Tucson Water to create a celebration of water in the desert with immersive monsoon soundscapes.
On an electric night in downtown Tucson, a large art-and-the-environment crowd enjoyed a one-of-a-kind experience, the Santa Cruz Sound Experience underneath the Cushing St. Bridge, in support of Día de San Juan and MSA Annex’s Night Market.
The experience included live mixing by artist-poet Logan Phillips (aka DJ Dirtyverbs) of audio captured during last year’s monsoon season and animated installations by Jimenez (BFA ’14, Visual Communications).
Jimenez was selected last year by Tucson community leaders to partner with Tucson Water as part of the US Water Alliance’s initiative, “Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator,” that addresses local water and climate issues.
Arizona alumna Alex! Jimenez creates a sound experience
Last summer Jimenez, Phillips, Enrique García Naranjo and the public recorded the sounds of the record monsoon rain, which will become a public audio library of Tucson monsoon sounds.
On June 24, that audio library was used by DJ Dirtyverbs was he live mixed a storm broadcasts through a 10-channel audio system that lined the Santa Cruz River Path. He sent samples of the recordings to each speaker creating a layered effect that changed as you would walk past the speaker array.
“The event was truly magical. I couldn’t have asked for better weather and lighting,” said Jimenez. “The sunset was a gorgeous pink and orange and the wind picked up, threatening to storm but just rolled onward. I felt very proud to have brought my seed of an idea to fruition.”
The night was literally electric with heat lightning crackling in the distance. Plus, during the day, the Supreme Court announced its controversial Roe vs. Wade decision. While the Sound Experience was getting underway under the bridge, hundreds of protestors marched over the bridge chanting in unison.
It was a scene.
The night featured the debut of the Monsoon Mixtape, original works of music that celebrate the monsoon rains created by six local musicians – Chezale, Karima Walker, Pineross, KPMadman, Mattea and Cazo — using the audio library. Listen to the Monsoon Mixtape on YouTube.
It was an inspiring night all the way around.
“I’m inspired to continue to work on collaborations with other artists in different mediums,” said Jimenez. “I have always loved learning and learning directly from other artists really feeds my creative energy. I think you have more capacity and excitement when you have a creative partner. I’m also thankful that the public enjoyed what was a very unconventional art event. I’m also really inspired to keep using animations as a tool to enhance my designs and illustrations. I’ve always loved animations and this project really let me explore that medium and find a workflow that felt right.”
She will use that inspiration on future projects with Tucson Water, including neighborhood art making. She’s built an art bike, a tricycle that folds out into an art station. Coming to a neighborhood near you!