Sound Installation Examines Mysterious Area 51

UCR ARTSblock presents Indonesian artist Venzha Christ May 4-June 1

Artist with installation

Venzha Christ installation, “BIO-DEVERSITY GENERIC SOUND CAPACITY (version_02),” 2009, MUU gallery, Helsinki, Finland. Photo courtesy of Ville Hyvönen

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UCR ARTSblock’s Culver Center of the Arts presents “Area 51: A Sound Installation by Venzha Christ,” a new site-specific, sound installation based on the artist’s travels to the secretive U.S. military base, Area 51. Christ made recordings of sounds emanating from and around the base.

The exhibition opens on Saturday, May 4, and continues through June 1. A reception is scheduled Saturday, May 18, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Culver Center. Admission to the reception is free.

Located in the southern portion of Nevada, the purpose of Area 51 — also known as Dreamland or Groom Lake — is officially undetermined, said Tyler Stallings, artistic director of the Culver Center and director of the Sweeney Art Gallery.

“It most likely supports development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.The base has become well-known due to conspiracy theories and its portrayal in popular culture,” he said. “It is these secrets and ambiguities that Venzha explores in this new work created especially for UCR Culver Center of the Arts Black Box intermedia studio.”

Christ, from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is a visiting artist at the UC Riverside Department of Music. He is a prolific artist, initiator, and leader in media and art and science research. Focusing on media art since 1999, he created the HONF Foundation with the goal of fusing education, art and technology with local communities. He has produced and organized many projects such as public art installation, media performance, media art festival, technology and science research, video work festival, workshops, discussion, DIY gathering, electronic and media culture movements.

He founded the HONF lab, electrocore sound project, C.O.S (Circle Of Satan), v.u.f.o.c lab, Micronation/Macronation project, etc. He is director of YIVF (Yogyakarta International Videowork Festival) and CELLSBUTTON (Yogyakarta International Media Art Festival), which has been produced annually and organized by HONF since 2005.

More information on the artist and his organizations is available at,,

“Area 51: A Sound Installation by Venzha Christ” is organized by UCR ARTSblock and co-curated by Stallings and René T.A. Lysloff, associate professor of music at UCR, with curatorial assistance from Nikolay Maslov, UCR ARTSblock scene technician.

UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Asian Studies, Department of Music, Center for Ideas and Society, and the MaryLu Clayton Rosenthal Endowment provided support. Venzha Christ is a Rosenthal Scholar in Residence at UCR.

Concurrent Exhibitions”

2013 Senior Show,” Sweeney Art Gallery, May 18 — June 1. Reception concurrent with Venzha Christ reception on May 18, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Astronauts, Rockets & Robots: Spacetoys” from the Collection of David Whitmire Hearst Jr. Foundation, California Museum of Photography, through May 18.

Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration,” ARTSblock,
through May 18.

Monuments of Void: Wolf von dem Bussche’s Photographs of the Twin Towers,” California Museum of Photography, through July 6.

UCR ARTSblock is located at 3824 and 3834 Main St., Riverside, and includes three venues: California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts, and Sweeney Art Gallery, which are open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., plus 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to all three venues, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks. For film screenings, Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Tyler Stallings
Tel: (951) 827-1463

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