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Art, music and poetry: First Friday at Downtown Library

The work of visual and sound recording artist Tony Obr and the poetry of Tanner Menard will be featured in a First Friday event, to take place from 6-9 p.m., Sept. 1, at the Downtown Phoenix campus Library.

Obr is a friendly face at the Downtown Library, where he has worked since graduating from ASU’s Herberger School with a bachelor’s in fine arts and digital art, which is on exhibit through the end of the Fall 2017 semester in the library’s Vault Gallery.

“A continual investigation lies at the heart of my creative practice,” Obr explains. “An exploration that leads to refinement, the precision distilled from this process that then leads to more exploration. Continual inquiry, questions that lead to more questions, all this drives a creative evolution.

“The process of discovery is more important than the discovery itself, and a truth is revealed through this process. The images in this collection reveal truth through patterns. Patterns observed in both the natural and constructed domains. Patterns of form, but also dynamically evolving patterns of movement and growth. Cloud formations, flocking behavior, rivulet movement, shell growth, as well as imagined cityscapes, urban design and impossible architecture.

“The images here are all algorithmically generated digital patterns that surround us. The work here suggests a study of the dynamic continuum between symmetry and asymmetry that is influenced by an underlying logic. Even within the complex and the asymmetrical there exists patterns beyond the scope of what we can immediately perceive.”

Obr is a musician, sound designer, composer and educator as well as an artist. He often works at the confluence of art, technology and performance, focusing on innovative uses of sound in musical and non-musical contexts.

Obr’s work frequently centers on the development of interactive systems for electronic music performance, dance performance and art installation. He plays live electronics and woodwinds in the performance art, experimental noise and free-improve ensemble Datura. He also plays with saxophonist Keith Kelly in their duo Slender Loris. Since 2013 he has worked as chief sound designer, and has developed interactive sound systems for Grisha Coleman’s echo::system.

As an educator, Obr has taught electronic music and sound design courses at Paradise Community College since 2014. As a composer, he works under the moniker of tsone. His compositions can be characterized as ranging from warm, gauzy, electronic detritus to blasts of impenetrable walls of sound.

Obr’s work has been released on a number of international recording labels, including: Home Normal, txt recordings, Tessellate Recordings, Stereoscenic, Tsuku-Boshi, Audiotalaia, Dark Era Tapes, and Pocket Fields.

Menard, whom Obr met when he was a composer in residence at ASU, is a poet and composer whose current work embodies his mestizo Indigenous and French lineage. Poems are his method of survival, a linguistic medicine of ambiguity which is certain that love prevails. His poetry is the DNA of his queer hybridity, a double helix of gender and identity.

As a composer of experimental music, Menard has been published and anthologized in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan on labels and netlabels such as Full Spectrum Records, Rural Colours, Tokyo Droning, Install, Slow Flow Rec, H.L.M., Archaic Horizon, Kafua Records and Milieu Music. Menard's poetry has been published in The Squawkback and Rabbit and Rose online journals. He currently serves the Snake Band Tribal Councilman for the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas.

All of Obr’s work on exhibit is for sale as limited edition series of 20 archival pigment prints. For inquiries, please send an email to:, or visit

Many of the images are stills taken from animations. Scanning the QR codes next to the prints in the gallery will take you to a video of an animation associated with it.

The event will be Friday, Sept. 1, from 6-9 pm in the lower level of the University Center building, 411 N. Central Ave, on the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.