Jenn Karson

Power and Ground
Print media & sound

Artist Statement

Sound is invisible, sculptural, and malleable, able to take on infinite combinations of textures, timbres, shapes, and forms. In my work with sound I’m interested in the possibilities of its unique ethereal and ephemeral qualities that allow it to move transparently through time and space. What can a deep exploration of our daily soundscapes reveal? How do the temporal and the spatial describe sound?

In my exploration of these questions I consider the textures of recording, scoring, mapping, projection, observation and programming to design installations that are suspicious of the sublime while they navigate the shifting negotiations of natures and cultures.

Power and Ground is a series of sound events documented through mapping, recording and scoring. The series observes 50 San Francisco sites. The listening methodology used for this project observes the individual actions and interactions of machines, animals, the elements, humans and money. The sounds are recorded in writing, while maps diagram the location of each sound in relationship to the listener. The scores are time-based documents that indicate when each site recording occurred in relationship to the others. Each score’s key creates a system for identifying the type of motion that generated each sound.


Jenn Karson is a native Vermonter who works with a strong sense of place. She has performed on stage, in bars, basements, garages, and at the drive-in. She creates both indoor and outdoor installations for urban and rural places and exhibits in both galleries and nontraditional places of display. Trained as a classical singer and musician, she transitioned into sound work after releasing four original sound recordings with the alternative pop bands Zola Turn and Bad Ju Ju.

She received an MFA in Design and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA in Political and Environmental Sciences at the University of Vermont.