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Texas’ Longest Hammer Choir (2011)

Andy Rihn

Sound | 2011

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  •  Artist Andy Rihn holding his son Anchor 
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Andy Rihn’s Texas’ Longest Hammer Choir is a psychedelic worksong, film and denim-heavy art installation experience. Conceived and directed by Texas artist Andy Rihn, and initially supported by a grant from The Idea Fund, Texas’ Longest Hammer Choir is an original art happening, filmmaking experience, and evolving installation. The original happening occurred on November 12, 2011 and starred 200 denim-clad musicians striking hammers head-to-head, creating a modern worksong in a windy, East Austin dirt farm. A crew in a lumbering, denim-covered, armadillo-shaped cart filmed the performance.
Andy Rihn was born in 1975 in San Antonio, Texas and raised in South Texas. In the last 15 years he has founded and starred in a performance art group, recorded with a U.S. touring French rock band, carried on an annual prank postering campaign, hosted an interview show for Volcom Ent., and released a book with Monofonus Press titled ‘The Tiger’s Last Tooth’.
His installations, performances, sculptures, and drawings have shown at Okay Mountain, Gallery Lombardi, Common House, The LMNL, and other Texas galleries. He has also had solo shows at MASS, Monofonus Compound and Yellow Jacket Social Club, as well as creating and curating shows for El Cosmico in Marfa, Highwire Arts of San Antonio and Darkroom Gallery, Frontera Fest, and Fusebox @ Okay Mountatain. 
In 2011 Rihn was the recipient of a grant from The Idea Fund, through The Andy Warhol Foundation, and created and directed ‘Texas’ Longest Hammer Choir’, a large-scale art,music and film happening. This Happening has turned into an multi-media installation shown in Marfa, San Antonio, and Austin. He is a member of MASS Galley and he currently lives and works in Austin, Texas with his wife and two children.
Conceived and directed by Texas artist Andy Rihn, and supported by a grantfrom The Idea Fund, ‘Texas' Longest Hammer Choir ‘ was an original art happening and avant-garde form of film-making, starring over 200 denim-clad people striking hammers head-to-head, creating a moving work song in an East Austin dirt farm on November 12, 2011. The features of this event will be arranged and shown in an original multi-media installation. It will be a record of this mysterious art happening as well as a sight, sound and denim-heavy experience for the viewer.
The work song that was made that day is entitled ‘Prelude To The All Night Dust Bowl’. It is a real-time recording of the Hammer Choir. A musician, on top of the moving film cart, played a Rhodes keyboard that created the melody for the chime-like rhythm of the hammers. In one continuous shot, two films were made the day of the Hammer Choir. One was filmed from the front of the camera cart as it snaked through the pairs of hammer musicians and one from the rear of the cart, each a very different perspective of the same event.
Described by Culture Map writer Ramona Flume as “a fleeting happening that captured a distinct kind of mystic happiness, a snapshot of a modern-day, psychedelic Texas spirit, that only comes around once in the while in the form of something truly beautiful.”
Location: JV Dirt
Musician on Rhodes keyboard: Travis Cooper
Cameramen: Morgan Coy and Michael Aho
Sound Engineer: Doug Ferguson
Post Editing: Max Juren
Driver: Jesse Hartman