Reflection: Chris Kallmyer

New Spaces for New Music
from TEDxCalArts: Performance, Body & Presence

Through performance, we can give people something that they didn’t know that they needed.

Chris Kallmyer is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work focuses on sound and space. In “New Spaces for New Music”, he talks about how music is informed by where it is presented, and how to make a space and a place for sharing art.

“I hope that in investigating our sites, our places, and our daily activities, I can come to a better understanding of who we are and where we live. And that in making works in new contexts and new containers for performance, that new modes come forth, and new collaborations that point to our communities and the things that connect us.


About the Artist

Chris Kallmyer is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work focuses on sound and space. His unconventional musical works use everyday objects and other senses, such as taste and touch, to engage the observer in questions about the physical environment and our presence within it. Kallmyer puts pressure on the traditional audience-performer relationship, and his work frequently takes place in nontraditional performance spaces such as closets, igloos, museums, or mountaintops.

In 2016, he created an immersive performance installation at the newly reopened San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he created works that addressed their new building designed by Craig Dykers of Snøhetta. Thousands of museum visitors participated in impromptu concerts that ritualized the relationship between the body, sound, and architecture. Prior to that, Kallmyer was an Artist in Residence at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St Louis, where he created a set of earthenware chimes from regional clay sources in collaboration with local artists and activists.

Kallmyer has garnered commissions from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the City of Los Angeles among other spaces in America and Europe.

Kallmyer completed his MFA in 2009 at California Institute of the Arts while studying with Wadada Leo Smith, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Aashish Khan, and Sara Roberts. Kallmyer worked closely with the storefront/collective Machine Project creating over 100 projects with founder Mark Allen between 2009 and 2018 at institutions like LACMA, Hammer Museum, the Walker, Tang Teaching Museum, and the Berkeley Art Museum.

About TEDxCalArts

TEDxCalArts was curated by Shannon Scrofano, Leslie Tamaribuchi, and Chi-wang Yang, with the assistance of students across CalArts.

TEDxCalArts and the CalArts Center for New Performance is a participant in the A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, funded by the MetLife Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre.

TEDxCalArts was created with TEDʼs mission statement in mind: Ideas Worth Spreading. The nonprofit TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently on a community-by-community basis.