S.F. sound artist Evicshen brings the joy of subversion — and a lot of fake nails — to Audium
At Adobe Books in the Mission District, people crowd in for a free show, eagerly awaiting the headlining act. They watch as she arranges guitar pedals and a “turntable” made from a dismantled rotor. But the audience is most curious about what she’s wearing on her hands: “Needle Nails,” a.k.a. a set of acrylic nails, each wired with a stylus. The artist proceeds to “play” records with her fingers, contorting the sound with her pedals, looping her screaming voice on top. It’s caustic, absurd and thrilling all at once.
This is the work of Victoria Shen, an experimental musician and performer whose moniker, Evicshen, is both a pun on her given name and a callback to San Francisco, her hometown.
The Bay Area sound artist has carved out a niche in the traditionally male-dominated world of noise music by expertly wielding an array of innovative sound sources and hand-built instruments over the past eight years. She’s performed in punk houses, art galleries, music festivals and bookstores (as with that 2021 show at Adobe). She has also taught at Harvard and spoken at Stanford. But this year, she’ll present her work in a bigger, more immersive way than ever before when she begins an eight-week residency at Audium, San Francisco’s one-of-a-kind “sound sculpture” theater space, on Thursday, Feb. 10. —Chris Zaldua
Photo: Samantha Laurey / The Chronicle