Dan Senn is an intermedia artist in the fluxus tradition working in music composition, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. In the 1980s and 90s he was a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia. Dan travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation artist and lives in Prague, Czech Republic, where he directs the Echofluxx festivals, and in Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator, Caroline Senn. He studied music and art at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with Truman Daniel Hayes and Leonard Stach, and at the University of Illinois, Urbana, with Salvatore Martirano, Ben Johnston and Herbert Brun. His music is published by Smith Publications of Baltimore. Dan founded Newsense-Intermedium of Tacoma, Washington, and cofounded Roulette Intermedium of New York City.  He is currently artistic director of Efemera of Prague. (Photo by Caroline Senn, click to enlarge)

Dan Senn is an intermedia artist in the fluxus tradition who came to contemporary and experimental music by way of the visual arts. Trained since childhood as French horn player and vocalist, he began studying ceramics and raku pottery in 1972, with Leonard Stach at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, an ancient ceramic method which fundamentally shifted his aesthetic. In 1977, he built his first sculptural instrument, a Scrapercussion sound sculptures, and soon after began developing software to emulate the raku cermaic process in musical compositions which, like his instruments, exhibits the peculiar paradox of raku—that is, highly considerate, non-linear systems which exist, in part, to confound the will of the artist. Since 1974 he has kept personal journals, now over 40,000 pages, a practice which worked its way into his performance and installation work on many levels. From 1994 onward his sculpture-oriented instrument building has centered on the development of automated instruments controlled using sub-audio frequencies of his own invention. His pendulum-based instruments, for example, are operated as such, using fixed and algorithmically generated subaudio scores, varying in size from 18"x18"x18" to outdoor versions covering 600sf. Related methods have been used to inflate objects, to move paper mallets, the wings of birds, etc. These are sometiimes integrated with his ethnographic and installation videos.

Dividing time between Watertown and Prague, Dan regulary tours Europe and the U.S. exhibiting and performing at festivals and experimental venues. In 2013, Dan was a featured guest at the IN/OUT Festival in Gdansk where he performed his lyde and paper instruments, and presented new films made in collaboration with Caroline Senn. In 2011, he co-founded the Prague-based Echofluxx festivals with Anja Kaufmann. In 2014, Dan will be in residency at Marshall University as part of the Birke Symposium's "Art in the Information Age" where he will present new film, an installation of his kinetic sound sculpture and have several of his compositions performed. In 2008, Dan co-founded Cascadia Composers, along with David Bernstein, in Portland, Oregon. In 2002, his documentary film, The Exquisite Risk of Civil War Brass, won at the da Vinci Film Festival in Corvallis, Oregon. His scored music is published by Smith Publications, Sonic Arts Editions, and AM Percussion Publications. In 1998 he won the prestigeous sculpture prize at the Papier Bienale at the Leopold Hoesch Museum, Düren, Germany. In 1997 he was awarded the Artist Trust 10th Anniversary President's Award (Seattle) for his influence on the arts throughout the Pacific Northwest, and in 1998 became the first Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington at Tacoma. Biannually, from 1995 to 1999, Dan produced the higly original Six Exquisite International Sound Art Festival in collaboration with organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 1995 he was awarded the McKnight Composer-in-Residence Award for the State of Minnesota where, among other projects, he produced the Catacombs of Yucatan Sound and Video Installation within a remote limestone cave located in the southeastern corner of that state.   His recorded music is available from the artist direct, Experimental Musical Instruments, Sounds We Are Now and Periplum Records. He lives in Prague, The Czech Republic, where he founded and directs Efemera of Prague (Echofluxx festivals), and in Beaverton, Oregon, where he cofounded Cascadia Composers. Dan also founded Newsense-Intermedium of Tacoma, WA and cofounded Roulette Intermedium of New York City.

Documentation has been a important part of Dan's work harkening back to his student days when he was producing extravagant events as a graduate student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in the 1970s. With the advent of HI-8 cameras in the early 1990s, this interest expanded and then again when internet server space became so inexpensive in around 2005. The Efemera organization was initiated by Dan as an umbrella for these documentation and production interests which include his International Space Band work, the Condon Collection of Australia, 3 years of Cascadia Composers events, Echofluxx festival documentation, Newsense Intermedium events, and even those productions from his years as a Professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. While attendance to his edgy Echofluxx festivals in Prague, compared to well-financed festivals of a similar sort, may be only in the hundreds, the thorough documentation, which he does mostly by himself, reaches many, many thousands world-wide ongoing online.

Dan Senn has a doctorate in Music Compositon and Ceramic Sculpture (minor) from the University of Illinois where his principal instructors were Salvatore Martirano, Ben Johnston, and Herbert Brün. At the UW-LaCrosse he studied art with Leonard Stach and music composition with Dr. Truman Daniel Hayes. He has been a Lecturer in Electronic Music at the Canberra School of Music in Australia ('80-84), an Associate Professor of Composition at Ball State University in Indiana ('87-92), and a Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana ('86).

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