Curtis Tamm

School of Visual Art and Design’s Artist-in-Residence

Spring 2019


Photos: Hermione Spriggs

Curtis Tamm (b. 1987) is a media artist with a current practice in sound art. Tamm creates audio-libraries with recordings from geologically active countries such as Iceland, Greece, and Japan, which he uses to interpret and investigate the human potential to sense and process sounds when removed from their environments. He received his MFA in design and media arts from the University of California—Los Angeles in 2014. His debut solo exhibition, spelling for the protection against oneself, is currently on view at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
Tympanic Tether is Tamm’s practice of “deep listening” which consists of two interrelated components: a praxis of experimental research that Tamm calls ecological semiotics (which grafts media theory into ecosophical practices for ‘reading’ signs from the local environment), and the creation of an extensive library of field-recordings which he uses for improvisational soundscape performances, exhibitions, and concerts. Considered as a type of disorientation therapy for urban dwellers, the crux of this work and research suggests that human beings possess latent sensory abilities which have gone dormant beneath the noise of machinic systems. Through sound sculptures and chambers, Tamm creates environments better-suited to pick up and process the sounds that are normally obscured by other noises.
For his artist residency with the School of Visual Art and Design, Tamm is hosting the Ecosophical Listening Lab at Stormwater Studios:

"As a speculative educational center within the School of Visual Arts and Design at the University of South Carolina, the Ecosophical Listening Lab is designed to facilitate the creation of new sound-art works which push and challenge our ideas of what constitutes being human, and being non-human. 

It is a space for composting; be it the post-production of new environmental field-recordings into composed soundscapes, or, the ecology of ideas that captured sound conjures within the mind, into a fertilizer for new philosophies (i.e. ecosophy, or echosophy). 

It is a space for encountering thresholdsEcosophical Listening Lab offers free sonic services of disorientation for the urban dwellers of Columbia, SC; reservation based, one-one-one, deep-listening sessions consisting of unique multi-channel sound work developed in geologically unpredictable landscapes. From the highlands of Iceland, the volcanic plateau of Yellowstone, Ibaraki prefecture and Tokyo, Japan, to Nea Kameni crater housed within the Santorini caldera, Greece, and on and on and on...”

To make your reservation, or to learn more about the Ecosophical Listening Lab, write to:

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Upcoming events and workshops

Third Thursday Open Studios: March 21st, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
SVAD Studio at Stormwater Studios

Ecosophical Listening Lab: Ongoing
Make a reservation

Columbia Open Studios: April 6th (10 am - 5pm) and April 7th (12pm-5pm)
SVAD Studio at Stormwater Studios


The SVAD Studio at Stormwater Studios is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Central Carolina Community Foundation. ⠀