Sound Installation Explores Transience and the Feeling of Homelessness

Michael John McKee is pleased to announce the recent completion of Voices,
a temporary public art installation in Dry Gulch Park.

Michael John McKee with his Voices installation along Dry Gulch.

Homelessness and transience inspired Voices, McKee’s wind chime sound installation throughout Dry Gulch Park. The single note wind chimes are made of wood, steel cable, aluminum tubing, and found plastics (trash found in the park). The structures are attached to pedestrian bridges and disc golf tee posts located along the transportation corridor between Federal and Sheridan Boulevards in Denver, creating an immersive sound experience as pedestrians and cyclists move through the space. The single note chimes are not pitched in conventional harmony and therefore encourage patience and careful listening from passersby.

“I imagine that folks experiencing homeless don’t often feel at ease. That would be exhausting,” says McKee. “Maybe audiences will feel inspired to consider issues surrounding homelessness with patience and care.”

After the Unauthorized Camping Ordinance of 2012, many people experiencing homelessness in Denver were forced out of the city center away from the majority of services targeting homelessness.

People began living in Dry Gulch Park in the months and years following. Voices attempts to capture the feeling of being homeless, never at home, always on the move without resolution.

Helicopter Copter, the title through which McKee makes art, will also collaborate with Anthony Garcia Senior of Birdseed Collective for an addition to the installation in the middle of June. The project was funded through Denver Arts & Venues P.S. You Are Here grant, and implemented in partnership with West Colfax Association of Neighbors. Voices is free public art and available to view through July 2019.

About Helicopter Copter
Helicopter Copter was started by Denver musician Michael John McKee as an outlet to explore other ways of making sound-based art. Relying mostly on experimental processes, Helicopter Copter is series of mixed media art projects, incorporating adventurous processes, materials, and collaborations.

About P.S. You Are Here
P.S. You Are Here (PSYAH) is a citywide creative placemaking and neighborhood revitalization program that cultivates collaborative, community-led outdoor projects in Denver’s public spaces. PSYAH funds help support creative, short-term physical improvement projects that aim to transform our underutilized urban spaces to increase collaboration, honor heritage, build civic engagement, beautify neighborhoods, enrich communities, and inspire long-term change.

About Denver Arts & Venues
Denver Arts & Venues’ mission is to amplify Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts, and entertainment opportunities. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for operating some of the region’s most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. Arts & Venues also oversees the Denver Public Art Program, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III granting process, Arts Education Fund and other entertainment and cultural events such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, Urban Arts Fund, P.S. You Are Here and implementation of IMAGINE 2020: Denver’s Cultural Plan. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programs, initiatives and decision-making processes.

About WeCAN
The West Colfax Association of Neighbors – aka WeCAN – is the Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) for the West Colfax neighborhood in the City and County of Denver. WeCAN, a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3), was founded in 2009 and is located in the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado. RNOs are groups formed by residents and property owners within a neighborhood who meet regularly and whose organizational and contact information is kept on file with the City’s Community Planning and Development Department. Like all organizations active in the Denver community, RNOs are an important part of the fabric of the city and play a key role in the ongoing effort to make Denver a great place to live and work.