AKIING SUGAR BUSH is a “Sound Garden” – a spatial sound installation in 5 movements, composed and designed by composer / director JG Everest to run wirelessly in a variety of settings. In it’s pop-up version, it is comprised of 18 speakers, each playing a different part of the whole piece of music, housed in felt sculptures and small urns and laid out in a particular distribution pattern that is part of the composition and design. The five movements run for a combined length of 1 hour, and loop continuously once installed and running. When combined with the companion piece, Water Protectors, (an additional 14 speakers) the combined larger piece is made up of 32 speakers and morphs in an ongoing unfolding of two different “orbits” that loop at different lengths.


After sharing the Fall Sound Garden at the Water Protectors Fall Gathering in 2021, composer / director JG Everest was invited back to spend an artist residency at the AKIING Water Protectors Welcome Center on the banks of the Mississippi River to compose and present a new site-specific Sound Garden sound installation at the annual Sugar Bush Gathering in March 2022. (tapping Maple Trees for sap, then cooking down for syrup) As he explained in an interview with Akiing Managing Director and artist Shanai Matteson, he was also composing for the Riverside Park Sound Garden, which took place 200 miles downstream in May 2022, at the oldest city park in Minneapolis, marking a new approach of intentionally creating a traveling “container” that can transport and overlay one site to another, connecting two places through memory, image, and sound. It was late March, and over 100 Sugar Maple trees were tapped for their sap, and a giant cooking station was setup to cook hundreds of gallons down into syrup. Everest set up his portable recording studio on site, and composed, recorded, and designed a spatial soundscore for the the experience of being in that forest, and along the river.

The resulting piece is named after the site and occasion – AKIING SUGAR BUSH – and is a nearly hour-long piece, in 5 movements that loop continuously throughout the duration of the live installation event. The middle movement, entitled “Tapped Out” features the field-recorded sounds of the Maple sap dripping into the metal pails in the forest, each dripping at a different rate, and each bucket with a different tone and pitch.


In the year that followed, the AKIING Sugar Bush piece travelled to multiple sites in 3 countries for pop-up performances that brought that place – those trees and that river – to new sites and communities, including Brockwell Park, London, UK, Gibson Orchard in Lincoln, UK, Finchale Priory in Durham, UK, Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and Takata Japanese Garden in Victoria, BC. In 2023, it was mounted as a pop-up event at the Minnesota Grove green space in the DogPatch neighborhood of San Francisco, part of the Museum of Craft and Design’s MakeArt Family Day on Sat May 6, which also featured tasting samples of the Akiing Maple Syrup from the same Sugar Bush, brought all the way from Minnesota. It has since travelled to Spooner Lake in Wisconsin and Buckmaster Park in Calgary, Canada. In April 2024, it will return to the AKIING Center for a special Sugar Bush event on Sat April 6, and be featured at an Earth Day Celebration at the WARGO Nature Center in Lino Lakes, MN on Sat April 20.

A short POV walkthrough video from the pop-up Sugar Bush Sound Garden at Minnesota Grove in San Francisco, presented by the SF Museum of Craft & Design, May 6, 2023, featuring Free Range Orchestra members Bryan Olson, Christel Dillbohner, and Danae Mattes.

residency + premiere
March 2022