Jacki Apple

Apple has been a visual performance, and media artist, writer, audio composer, and producer of interdisciplinary and multimedia art for four decades. As an innovator in audio and radio art since the 1970s, she has been dedicated to inserting the artist's voice into mass media as well as creating sound works for installations and performances that stand on their own. Her text/sound/music audio and radio works consist of layered intersecting textual and sonic narratives, and have been broadcast worldwide. Her work deals with memory, history, and the interface between nature and culture, the relationship between matter and consciousness, and historical, biological, and geological time, as well as political and social issues. Loss, disappearances, and dislocations are often underlying themes. Since the 1990s her concerns have focused on environmental issues exploring such subjects as species extinction and natural disasters. her interest in archaeology, paleontology, theoretical and astrophysics, earth sciences, and the politics of culture, plus the writings of physicists Stephen Hawking, David Bohm, Michio Kaku, paleontologist Loren Eisely, the visionary novels of Doris Lessing, Haruku Murakami, music and dance have been influential sources.

She has approached aural space as a multi-dimensional place equivalent to three dimensional visual space, and radio as a performance space. In her media and performance works, she has experimented with narrative strategies and structures, combining or juxtaposing different forms, different modes of expression, transposed from other disciplines, such as a cinematic syntax—a montage of dissolves, quick cuts, a series of close-ups, long shots, reverse angles. She creates hybrid forms—talking pictures, orchestrated texts and sonic architecture. The point is to create a perceptual shift, an evocation, to transport the listener to someplace unexpected, as in a dream or a trip to a foreign country, to leave a resonance.

The recording studio is her compositional instrument, and she views producing as a compositional art form. she has been interested in the processes of transmission and reception, and the relationship between the voice and the words it utters. From 1982-1996 Apple was the producer/host of Soundings, a weekly public radio show presenting audio and radio art, independent music, performance and live interviews, by artists from around the world. Inserting the artist's voice into mass media is essentially a political act, and radio was a corridor into someone else's mental space. Sometimes the media itself has been a direct source, or the site of the event. Broadcast space has been employed as a means of engaging community. Recomposing the material and reinserting it back into its source changes the image in the mirror.


Since 1971 visual, performance, and media artist, audio composer, writer, director, producer, and educator Jacki Apple's diverse artistic career has encompassed a wide range of media and forms—multimedia installations, interdisciplinary performance, audio, radio, photography, video, film, artist books, drawings, site specific works, public art projects. Her works have been performed, exhibited, and broadcast in art spaces, galleries, museums, theaters, festivals, on radio and cable TV throughout the United States and Canada, and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

She began doing text/sound works for installations and performances in New York the 1970s. In the 1980s she moved to Los Angeles where she staged a number of interdisciplinary collaborative performance operas, and site-specific spectacles, as well as recorded works for radio. Since 1990 she has created an ongoing series of site specific installations, performances, photographic works and artists books dealing with environmental issues, The Culture of Disappearance series about biological and cultural extinction, You Don't Need A Weatherman series about floods, droughts and climate crises, and the Tropic of Ruins, as well sound works and vocal performances. In the past decade she has done five public art works for the City of Los Angeles.

An innovator in the development of radio art in the 80s, her text/sound/music audio works have won international acclaim and broadcast. They have been featured in the 1982 Sydney Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), LA's Territory of Art radio series, the New American Radio national satellite broadcast series, numerous international festivals, and aired in Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Canada, England, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. Her works have also been included in numerous LP, cassette, and CD anthologies, and audio art exhibitions. A major retrospective of her audio and radio work 1979-1997 was presented at the international SoundCulture '99 festival Auckland, NZ. Her ground-breaking collaborative six part radio series Redefining Democracy in America 1991-92 was broadcast nationally. Her CDs include Thank You For Flying American, ghost.danceson the event horizon, eco-geographies, L.A. Noir, and Star Tripping.

As a performer, vocalist, writer, director she has collaborated with a number of composers and choreographers including Garrett List, Bruce Fowler, Tom Recchion, Joe Berardi, Kira Vollman, Ruben Garcia, Rudy Perez and Jeff McMahon. She co-composed and produced with Tom Recchion, the soundscore for choreographer Rudy Perez's Urban Suite for the 1987 LA Festival. Her audio performance piece Going BetweenOne Word At A TimeDocs**, a duet with Helen Thorington, was performed at the ORF/Transit Art On The Air performance festival and symposia Innsbruck, Austria 1993. In 2001 she created A stone's throw.... a text/sound work, and performance, in collaboration with Julie Adler. Her composition Dancing In Space: Where the Bird Flies, recorded with Bruce Fowler in 2005, was originally performed as a live vocal work for Rudy Perez's dance performance Shifts 2003.

From 1982-95, she was the producer/host of Soundings, a weekly one hour radio show featuring performance, sound, and music works, KPFK-FM, Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles. She co-produced the annual EARJAM new music festivals with Julie Adler at Side Street Live, the Armory Northwest, and at REDCAT in Los Angeles 2000-2004.

She is a professor at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA where has she been a faculty member since 1983, and currently teaches modernist cultural history, ecology of fashion and performance art. Apple has also published over 200 critical essays and reviews on performance, dance, music, media arts and installation.

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