Dianne Ballon, Courtesy Dianne Ballon
For over 30 years, Portland, Maine-based sound artist Dianne Ballon has been dreaming about walking into a second-hand shop and searching for musical instruments, mostly violins. This led to creating “Musical Instrument Dreams,” an introspective collage that mixes the actual dreams with fragments of interviews and sound from violin makers, musical instrument shops, and string players.
The piece was created for radio and as a sound installation for a gallery. The installation includes the visuals of the second-hand shop that she “sees in her dreams.” She has collected over thirty musical instruments for the installation.
spent years as a visual artist (BFA, Massachusetts College of Art) before “sound” caught her ear. Ten of her sound works have aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered
. During her August 2016 Artist-In-Residency at Shenandoah National Park for the National Park Centennial she created a sound installation for the park, recording the natural sounds and recollections about the mountains and mountain life.
As an adjunct at the University of Maine at Augusta, she taught independent study in audio production, as well as a crash course in radio theater. For the New York-based company 3DPhotoWorks she created 27 separate but thematically-connected radio drama mixes for the 3D tactile painting for the blind George Washington Crossing the Delaware
. She also produced The Eastern Promenade in All Seasons
, a GPS-based audio walk for Portland, Maine.
In the 90s, Ballon served as Chair of the Media Arts Advisory Panel at the Maine Arts Commission. She has given many workshops in audio production to artists, producers and students.
One of her more challenging field recordings was accomplished in Iceland. Not one tree, bush or stone shielded the blustery wind crossing the tundra. On a 10-mile hike close to the Arctic Circle in the midnight sun, wearing every layer she brought, Ballon recorded the sound of one lone bird singing. And for a short moment in time, the wind took a rest.