Everything you need to know about the Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park Festival

Rail Park
Site/Sound kicks off this weekend PHOTO: Provided 

A new festival is making its way to Philadelphia this weekend, and this unique showcase of talent will be unlike anything Philly has ever seen before. The Friends of the Rail Park, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter partnered up to produce the Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park Festival, and all of the fun kicks off this weekend. 

Everything you need to know about the Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park Festival

According to the release, Site/Sound combines audio-visual art installations and diverse music performances, all shaped by their surroundings. Above and below the city streets, the installations celebrate and imagine the past, present, and future of Philadelphia’s Rail Park. Through community workshops, panels, tours, and performances, the Festival will bring to life a new shared urban space rising from the tracks and thoroughfares through soundscapes, large-scale projections, pop-up experiences, film screenings, live music, dance performances, special tours and family programming. The festival starts on October 5th and will run until October 19th. 

Rail Park

This Saturday night sets the stage for the Festival; Philadelphians can head to 465 N. 18th St. at 5:30 pm to indulge in food trucks, live entertainment and plenty of family fun. Then head over to the East Lot at Rail Park to check out a multimedia work inspired by the importance of railroading in Philadelphia’s development from artists Carolyn Healy and John JH Phillips. Both Phillips and Healy worked on the three 9-foot-high sculptures derived from old train equipment and wanted to create a free and open place to be intrigued by the history of transportation. Phillips and Healy will be at the opening for discussions with guests as well. 

After checking out the exhibit in the East Lot, head to Rail Park’s Rear Lot to check out a Victorian-era installation from Erik Ruin and Rosie Langabeer. The exhibit invites audiences to be apart of the experience with zoopraxiscopes (a pre-cinema device developed by Eadweard Muybridge in 1879)  fitted with a music device that visitors can use to activate an original soundtrack composed for the installation. When guests turn on and off different strains of the music and trigger sound effects, they will be able to create their own scores to the moving images on the tunnel wall. Each night of the performances will feature everything from time-traveling storytellers to processional puppets to audio-visual improvisations.

Philadelphians can also check out the Moon Viewing Platform (located at The Cut, between North 17 and 18th Streets, north of Callowhill) from artists Nadia Hironaka, Matthew Suib and Eugene Lew. According to the release, the exhibit will feature a series of short videos and musical performances, inviting audiences to enter another world through the senses and the imagination and provides the opportunity to engage in intimate commemorative gatherings that celebrate compassion, creativity, and community as essential components of human life. The artists created this space by utilizing nighttime video projections featuring an episodic series of short films. 

Rail Park

There will also be a few live installations at the festival this first weekend. Thomas Kraines(cello) and Kinan Abou-afach(cello and oud) will be playing music by Kinan Abou-afach and others; director Adam Vidiksis will showcase the performance of his special compositions “BEEP”; and  Mary McCool with Carolyn Gennari and  Jenna Horton will showcase their immersive magic lantern performance. 

More interesting performances throughout the run of the festival include Taiko Drumming with KyoDaiko; a Community Workshop at the 2019 YeShi Chinatown Night Market; a Mural Arts Specialty Tour; Storytelling with Auntie Kym; a Mandala Meditation with the Bethesda Project and much more. 

The second and third weekend of the festival (Oct.12 and Oct.19) will also feature plenty of colorful displays of talent from incredible artists including a site-specific piece using costumes and light from Asimina Chremosand Hua Hua Zhang, an audio-visual work from John JH Phillips and more. 

Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park runs from Oct.5-Oct.19, for a full list of performances and locations visit therailpark.org

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