This film was produced for the Phillips Pavilion at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels by Le Corbusier, Edgar Varèse, and Iannis Xenakis. It was shown in an exhibition space (described more fully below) which included 425 speakers, so that the sounds could follow complex routes through the space. Watching it on YouTube is a far cry from the intended experience, but is rewarding nonetheless. For a more complete examination of this ground-breaking project, check out Marc Treib’s “Space Calculated in Seconds.”
“Poème électronique” is the first electronic-spatial environment to combine architecture, film, light and music to a total experience made to function in time and space. Under the direction of Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis’ concept and geometry designed the World’s Fair exhibition space adhering to mathematical functions. Edgar Varèse composed the both concrete and vocal music which enhanced dynamic, light and image projections conceived by Le Corbusier. Varèse’s work had always sought the abstract and, in part, visually inspired concepts of form and spatial movements. Among other elements for “Poème électronique” he used machine noises, transported piano chords, filtered choir and solo voices, and synthetic tone colorings. With the help of the advanced technical means made available through the Phillips Pavilion, the sounds of this composition for tape recorder could wander throughout the space on highly complex routes.
“The Philips Pavilion presented a collage liturgy for twentieth-century humankind, dependent on electricity instead of daylight and on virtual perspectives in place of terrestrial views.” — Marc Treib, Space Calculated in Seconds
Nails is one of the more successful Flash-based net.art projects I’ve come across. This unnerving yet hilarious series of dada self-portraits by Han Hoogerbrugge has been running since 2002. This series grew out of Modern Living / Neurotica, which began life in 1996 as animated GIF loops, but later migrated into interactive Flash. Throughout both projects Hoogerbrugge uses a primarily grayscale pallet to illustrate various states of psychological tension through terse, punchy cartoons. The soundtracks are also particularly effective at creating eerie atmospheres which allow the little animations to get under your skin.
I sifted through a lot of riff raff to find this amazing example of Chinese Opera. The sui generis sounds of drums and gongs found in Chinese theatre have to be some of my favorite all time auditory delights. Watch out for the treble on this one though.
What happens when you elongate scenarios, severed limbs, or autobiographical narratives? Perhaps you discover fecund ground for future works. Richard Colman lives in a mellifluously ambiguous realm of rainbow-emesis induced lions, sharp dressed coxcombs and incongruent candelabras. He just finished his first book of drawings/paintings and opened a show of new work at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in the scintillating city of Los Angeles. Even better, he’s supposed to have a show later this year at Art Prostitute.
Coppola and Anderson make films that feel nothing like the great works of, say, Antonioni or even the New Wave directors or, for that matter, the films of Francis Ford Coppola. The New Mannerists are conveying a different kind of experience. They are interested in getting a certain feel or a mood right and they value achieving that sense of mood far above accomplishments in narrative or character development.
Like all great poets, Li-Young Lee leans sensuality up against philosophy; he achieves intimacy from a distance. Virtually all of his poetry addresses the spaces between us that we are constantly trying to traverse. He deals as much with the space between a husband and wife sleeping next to each other (“am I inside you? he asks, lying between her legs, / confused about his heart, and his body. / If you don’t believe you’re inside me, you’re not / she answers, at peace with the body’s greed, / at peace with the heart’s confusion”) as the space between strangers in a train station (“Your attention please / train number seven, Leaves Blown By, / bound for the color of thinking / and renovated time, is now departing. / All ticketed passengers may board behind my eyes”). Paradoxically, it is by making us aware of these spaces, by drawing us into emptiness, that he is able to achieve that uniquely poetic intimacy.
His languorous reading style, too, is filled with empty spaces, places for breath to settle. When he speaks of Plato’s “Ladder of Love”, you feel that each line in the poem is a rung, bringing us up from the sensual to the spiritual by steps, without ever losing sight of where we began. Yet it is the spaces between the rungs where the movement happens. The rung is merely a place to rest before traversing the chasm between the body and the heart. And so with each line, Lee is merely preparing us for the silence that will follow it, where the breath will settle, where the movement occurs.
When I first saw one of Li-Young Lee’s readings, at Site Santa Fe in 2000, I couldn’t quite appreciate what he was doing; the slow pace led my mind to wander, rather than to dwell in emptiness. On Friday night, thanks to Gemini Ink, I had a chance to see him at the Coates chapel at the Southwest School of Art and Craft. Here I began to feel more fully how the sound of his voice is juxtaposed with silence, how his imagery pushes us to the edges of what we know.
It must be said that the acoustics in the chapel were very poor. It may be that the space does not lend itself to the PA system they had set up, and perhaps amplification muddied the voice. One result of this situation is that at times I gave up on understanding each word, and began to focus on the sounds, the timbre of Lee’s voice, and again, the way his voice plays off of the silence that surrounds it.
The reading lasted about 20 minutes, with six poems in all (“Station“, “To Life”, “Immigrant Blues“, “Hymn to Childhood”, “Trading for Heaven”, and “Virtues of the Boring Husband” (which is “very much autobiographical”)). Following the reading, Rose Catacalos collaborated with Bett Butler and Joël Dilley on jazz settings of Lee’s poetry. This was a combination of Catacalos reciting the work to the music (her reading style reminded me of Laurie Anderson on “Big Science”), and Bett Butler singing the work. My feeling is that the music detracted from the poetry by removing the silences, and by shifting the emotional landscape in a way that is at odds with Lee’s strengths as a poet. The sort of light, carefree jazz that Butler and Dilley tend to play just doesn’t mesh with the gravitas of Lee’s poetry.
So while it is a pleasure to see Li-Young Lee under any circumstance, this reading was not the best of circumstances. But despite these problems, Gemini Ink deserves credit for bringing authors of Lee’s caliber to San Antonio.
So we always post opportunities for artists but we rarely get a chance to hear who won the awards/grants/etc. Just wanted to post a big Congratulations to the winners of several travel grants from Dallas Museum of Art. Lily Hanson and Heyd “Everybody’s Naked” Fontenot [see scandalous example above] won the Dozier Travel Grant. My friend and fellow blogger, Eric Zimmerman, won a Kimbrough Fund grant, along with Lauren Boldon, Vanessa Cash, Lawrence Lee, Alvaro Perez, Kelly Smith, and cutie Lizzy Wetzel. Lizzy recently made a black-light-vision-quest installation in the Cherry Picked Show at Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Way to go, Wetzel.
Myths ubiquitously emerge in everyday life, sometimes in television shows and oftentimes in idle scuttlebutt. Egyptian artstar, Basim Magdy, indulges in both myth and ubiquity with an installation at Okay Mountain and a contingent series of illustrations in the latest issue of Art Papers. Magdy manufactures a mis en scene with natural materials like sweet smelling mulch and bales of brittle hay and then places preternatural creatures into confined spaces. An Astronaut exists as a caged pet. One suicidal Sasquatch lays over a game of solitaire in a messy camper/trailer. You can’t see the shotgun next to the hirsute prop here, but you get the idea I guess. He could’ve worked on the sound element a bit more in depth. Maybe blasting Thin Lizzy‘s “Jailbreak” would’ve won me over, but that’s just asking for trouble. He should’ve put a diaper on the astronaut, or the sasquatch, or both. Is scatology in or out this year? Let’s have an Emvergeoning poll: Listen, nation, it’s time you exercised your freedom of choice! Any Miranda July references will be promptly deleted…))((