Times Beach – 2017

Times Beach

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Teri Rueb


Times Beach Nature Preserve is located in the Buffalo Outer Harbor, near the mouth of the Buffalo River.  Times Beach responds to the varied histories and futures of this unusual site, from its broad link to the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, to the role of these waters as a vital resource for Native Americans who have lived along the shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara River for thousands of years.  With waves of European settlement, the harbor became built up and eventually what was once open water became an urban beach.  Irish and Portuguese immigrants created a shantytown on “The Beach” in the mid-19th Century, but residents were ultimately evicted in the early years of the twentieth century due to increasing industry.  With the rise of the Parks movement and demand for public spaces for leisure, “Times Beach” was designated a recreational beach in 1931 and named after the newspaper that promoted this new use.   However, the beach was soon closed due to industrial contamination.  Through the mid-twentieth century the site was used as a contained disposal facility for river and harbor dredge.  Today it has been restored as a nature preserve that supports a remarkable number of migrating birds and butterflies, as well as wild urban plants and animals.  Times Beach is a sound walk that weaves together sonic traces of these different moments, building a palimpsest of voices, field recordings and resonances that evoke the various temporalities and textures of the site.  Delivered as a free downloadable app for iPhone and Android devices, visitors are invited to wear headphones and discover an aural overlay that responds to their movement as they wander the boardwalks, seawalls and blinds of the preserve.



© Teri Rueb 2017
Birds Eye View of Buffalo 1865. Times Beach area (center), across from terminus of Erie Canal (top center).


Software development:
Shawn Van Every, Walking Productions
Anthony Yanick, Golden Ratio Design
Graphic design: SOS Creative LLC
Additional sound design:  Ernst Karel
Coastline graphics: Justina Dziama
Web development: Mani Mehrvarz
Voices heard in the work include:
Sean Burkholder
Jay Burney
Tara Cornelisse
Paul Fuhrmann
Allan Jamieson
Shelley Seidman
Michael Vogel
Margaret Wooster
and the many other visitors and non-human voices encountered throughout the Preserve.
Sound credits
All recordings made on location by Teri Rueb with the following exceptions:
Cattail marsh recorded by Teri Rueb at Tifft Nature Preserve, Buffalo Outer Harbor
Beach voices and ambience recorded by Teri Rueb at Woodlawn Beach State Park, NY
Diaphone fog signal, Portland Bill Lighthouse, UK. Association of Lighthouse Keepers
Cello passages, performed by Stanzi Vaubel, recorded by Teri Rueb and Tony Yanick
Image credits
Main splash screen image:
Buffalo 1833 Lighthouse general view from southwest [1928]
Photographer unknown.
Courtesy of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.
The production of this work was supported by a fellowship from the UB Techné Institute and by a residency at the Ucross Foundation.
Times Beach was created in conjunction with the exhibition Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017 at the UB Art Gallery.
For further information about Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017 please visit:
Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017 is organized by the University at Buffalo Art Galleries and is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Special Thanks
Andrew Ainslie
We would like to thank the Friends of Times Beach who have worked tirelessly to protect and advocate for the Preserve.
Support the Times Beach Nature Preserve: