Soundwave: Translocality Creates Soundscapes for Bay Area Landmarks

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The Sutro Baths in San Francisco. (Willy Gobetz/Flickr)

Soundwave made its Translocality festival COVID-safe by commissioning site-specific works that listeners can access via the Echoes app as they walk through various landscapes.

Lalin St. Juste, lead singer of the band The Seshen, created a piece for the Sutro Baths in San Francisco that examines the ruins as an unexpected site for a civil rights victory in the 19th century. In 1897, a Black man named John Harris sued developer and former San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro for discrimination when he was denied access to the baths. Harris' lawsuit helped reinforce a new California law that granted equal access to public spaces, and set a precedent for desegregation.

“I’m hoping to create some discomfort and some sense of dissonance. I think that’s what we need in order to confront these memories—not even just memories. These are current things that are happening,” St. Juste says of the piece.

Travis “Queen” Roland takes participants into the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, where they’ll listen to a soundtrack that pays homage to queer nightlife, punk rock, cruising and drag from the ’70s to now, and then takes us into the future. The other artists are Rumi Koshino, Fereshteh Toosi, Dylan Marx, LeAnn Perry, John Patrick Moore, Akaina Ghosh, Tyler Holmes and Dario Slavazza.

Translocality takes place Oct. 22-Feb. 22, 2022.

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