In 2010, the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California, presented the exhibition "Steve Roden: when words become forms". As part of the exhibition, the museum commissioned new paintings from the artist as well as an installation. Drawing inspiration from a small drawing by Buckminster Fuller, the artist created a large-scale sculpture/sound/film installation he titled bowrain — an anagram of rainbow. The installation is made of wood, twine, and wire, includes a sound composition, and comprises six audio speakers, three CD players, three stereo amplifiers, ink on 16mm film stock transferred to video, three DVD players, and three video projectors.
How Roden created the architectural piece is fascinating. At Vimeo, where Roden uploaded his video documentation of the installation, he explains that "the sculpture is made of 480 pieces of work, constructed using chance operations. The sound and hand drawn film used the same 480 elements that determined the sculpture to form their compositions." The press release for the exhibition provides further description: "The Fuller drawing indicated a kit, with listings for six numbers, six units, and six colors (the colors of the rainbow), for a structure of some kind. The bowrain installation takes many cues from the Fuller drawing, particularly in the six types of wood, six different colors of strings, and the formal elements—the units and colors—in the three films. An audio work, also part of the installation, was created using six found ceramic bowls—each a color in Fuller's rainbow—to generate sounds and tones."
Have a look:
This past August, Roden issued a hardback book with CDs: I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces: Music in Vernacular Photographs 1880-1955.
Roden is represented by CRG Gallery (images of selected work may be seen here) and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, where his exhibition "stone's throw", a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures, took place in March and April of this year. A silent 16mm film, striations, was part of that exhibition and may be seen here. The press release for "stone's throw" is here. The Vielmetter site includes images from work in shows dating to 2004; start here to view those selections. I found especially intriguing Roden's oils and collages exhibited in 2007 and 2006.