Distance Research Horror Haus, 2013.
Distance Research Horror Haus, 2013.
Photo by Chris Westin

100 Colorado Creatives 3.0: Sean Faling

#38: Sean Faling

Sean Faling crosses lines between fine art and experimental music by recyling outdated electronics into noise-making art installations. As a musician, he performs solo as Distance Research, and in collaboration with his opera-singing spouse, Eve Orenstein, in the duo Orbiting Olympia. Currently finishing an artist residency at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont, Faling took a break from his electronic world to answer the 100CC questionnaire.

Orbiting Olympia (first performance) at Gorinto Presents: Homemade Instrument Showcase, 2013.
Orbiting Olympia (first performance) at Gorinto Presents: Homemade Instrument Showcase, 2013.
Photo by Charles De Graaf

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Sean Faling: A very difficult question! After some thought, I would have to say Edgar Froese from Tangerine Dream. It was his vision of merging artistic intention with experimental electronics that influenced my decision to incorporate a sound element in my work.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

The artist David Cranmer. Cranmer is taking interdisciplinary art to another level. I often reference his work when I need inspiration. For example, my objects often draw upon the idea of repurposing, or are the by-product of an alternate application. Then I reference Cranmer’s latest video post, where he has sourced radioactive ore to trigger a Geiger-counter module, which then produces a sequence for his synthesizer. I think to myself, who would do that? It’s fantastic!

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Sadly, I have to say 3-D-printed artwork. I think that the flaws in sculpture can sometimes be the most interesting element.

Modified Touch Tone Synthesizer, 2013.
Modified Touch Tone Synthesizer, 2013.
Photo by TM Gregory

What's your day job?

Right now I am the resident artist at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont. My show runs until February 5. When I am not designing and posting new work to sell, I am recording and writing music in my home studio. I have three projects going on right now. One of the projects is Orbiting Olympia, with my wife, Eve Orenstein; we are merging the sound of my audio sculptures and analog synthesizers with her amazing vocal talent.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

That’s a tough question. Of course, if it is unlimited amounts of money, it would be for global aid. If it is for artistic endeavors, I would want to create and curate a global network of DIY arts spaces.

Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

Love it, but admittedly, it took me a while to find my place here and a community of like-minded artists. What keeps me here is the community I did find once I looked. Denver has so much to offer in the way of the arts and creative spaces. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the art and music that is going on right now.

Distance Research Progressive Thursdays, Small Wonder Food and Wine, 2016.EXPAND
Distance Research Progressive Thursdays, Small Wonder Food and Wine, 2016.
Photo by Chris Sessions

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Provide adequate funding for, and protection of, Denver’s DIY community. In the wake of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, many national venues were being shut down, including Rhinoceropolis in Denver. The response by city officials was irrational. Denver’s DIY spaces are the lifeline for so many young artists and musicians; considerations should be made for the support and continuation of these spaces.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Another extremely difficult question! Of all the creatives that I know in Denver, I would have to say Madeline Johnston of Sister Grotto is my favorite. I have played a few shows with her, and after every performance, I am curious why the whole world isn’t listening to her. Madeline also uses telephone microphones in her performance, which is near and dear to my heart.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

This year has started strong, and I would like to keep that momentum up. Of the projects I am planning this year, I am looking forward to releasing two albums and building portable switchboards to book shows in Europe for my telephone installations.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

I would have to say John Gross, the curator of Rhinoceropolis. After the venue was closed by the Denver Fire Department last year, there was a huge response from the DIY community. The support is enabling Gross to make all the necessary repairs to the venue. The space is scheduled to reopen this year.

Formal Machines, a hands-on sound installation by artist-in-residence Sean Faling, runs through February 5 at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont. Learn more about Faling at his website and on Facebook.

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