Artist Uses Present-Day Sounds Of Minidoka Internment Camp In New Piece

May 25, 2017

There’s a house in Garden City with strange noises happening inside.

Experimental electronic artist Gretchen Jude is playing around with all kinds of instruments, including the sound from a cracklebox. Jude is the artist-in-residence at Surel’s Place this month. She’s from Idaho, but has spent time in Japan and now lives in Hawaii – places that all come up in her newest piece which Jude will debut Friday night.

“When I was in high school here," she says, "I didn’t learn about the Japanese internment that happened, and I did not even learn that it happened in Idaho. I was kind of shocked and a little irritated. Like, ‘why didn’t I learn about that?’ So I’ve been really wanting to learn about that history and go there.”

Jude recorded sound from the Minidoka Japanese internment camp site in Jerome, which imprisoned more than 9,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. One of the things she was surprised to hear while visiting the site this month was an airplane, flying low over nearby fields.

“The crop duster that I could hear in the distance . . . and then you start thinking about – wow – the impact of aircraft in that time period.”

The artist plans to reference the war through archival newsreel audio, though she’s more interested in showing than telling in her art.

“I don’t ever want to make people feel something in my work. I don’t ever want to say, ‘This is sad and you’re going to feel sad now and we’re all going to feel sad together.’ For me – that is not my work.”

Jude  says the piece she’s created at Surel’s Place will be part of a larger body of work she’ll develop in Hawaii.

Her piece will premiere at Audio Lab in Garden City, Friday May 26 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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