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Because Hamiltonians Make Art: Jon Bellona ’03


Sound artist Jon Bellona ’03 created his first installation as a senior fellow at Hamilton. In The Sound Memorial for the Veterans of the Vietnam War, the names of the 58,200-plus Americans killed in action are read simultaneously through eight speakers, names stacked upon names. Bellona included a stereo version of the piece in his first solo show, which took place this fall in a gallery at Utica College.

Bellona, who has a doctorate in music composition and computer technology, is co-director of Harmonic Laboratory, an interdisciplinary arts collective focused on art and technology collaborations. It’s based in Eugene, Ore., where Bellona teaches audio production at the University of Oregon.

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His work, which he describes as data driven, focuses on environmental sustainability. Bellona may spend weeks researching specific science, new technology, and other streams of knowledge for his art. One of his most recent pieces is Wildfire, consisting of a 48’ speaker array that plays back a wave of sounds from real Western fires at the speed of the actual wildfires. For that, Bellona talked to fire experts and scientists, learning about rates of spread and other esoteric fire facts.

“One thing I really love about working on pieces like this is that every piece is different, and the challenges are different; they ask different questions, you get to go down the rabbit hole of learning about a new topic,” he explains.

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