Wednesday, October 17, 2012

365 X 433

on october 25th, i'll be giving a reading at the pomona college museum of art, sharing excerpts from my 2011 performance diary titled: 365 X 433 documenting a year of daily realizations of john cage's 4'33". the diary is roughly 400 pages and was exhibited in the silence exhibition at the menil, and will also be present (with some major fixes and edits!) at the berkely art museum in january, when the show travels.

some notes:

on january 1 of 2011 i began what would become, a year-long project, performing john cage’s 4’33″ every day for a year, completing the project on december 31, 2011. i kept a diary of the entire experience, notating each performance, and writing down thoughts in relation to my conversation with cage’s “silent piece”. while the initial idea was to simply find a space within each day to listen to my surroundings. as things moved along, it became less about notating the daily sounds around me, and more about using the sound/listening/performance experience to generate ideas and conversations - which ended up in a diary.

while i have drawn from cages works for many years, the impetus for the daily performances actually came from a conversation that takes place in the beginning of andrei tarkovsky’s film the sacrifice, where one of the characters says:

“say what you will, but a method, a system, has its virtues, you know, sometimes, i say to myself, if every single day, at exactly the same stroke of the clock one were to perform the same single act, like a ritual unchanging, systematic, every day at the same time, the world would be changed, yes something would change it would have to...”

while i did not perform the piece at the same time every day, i was interested in how the use of 4’33” as part of a daily practice might offer me an experience of unfolding, so that my assumptions of 4’33” in january would be subverted by december. 

i first performed 4’33” in 2001, while making field recordings at the mak center/schindler house for an exhibition of site specific works. while i was mainly making recordings as source material i remembered that cage had lived in the house, so at midnight i performed 4’33” using the house as my instrument. in 2002, i used the score to determine one of my very first pure system-based paintings by translating the text of cage's score into a series of measured color-coded lines. it wasn’t until 2007 that i had an opportunity to hear the piece live in a traditional concert presentation, performed by james tenney - also at the schindler house. 

over the past year and a half, i have, again, returned to the score for 4’33” to generate several large paintings and a sculpture.
all of my 2011 performances of 4’33” were private, meaning that even when i performed the piece in a crowded bar, at a concert or in the lobby at moma, i was always the only one who was aware that the performance was happening. 

the diaries were recently shown in the exhibition “silence” at the menil collection, curated by toby kamps, and will also be part of the exhibition when it travels to the berkeley art museum in january.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

my first solo cassette release since 1990!

very excited to announce the release of a solo cassette of two new tracks, on the banned productions label. the cassette is available through the label for a measly $5!!! available on the label's website - here. this is a great label, releasing works from a ton of local experimental musics - as well as from the nether realms.

the pieces were specifically created for this cassette release. these two pieces are part of a trilogy of cassette related pieces that began with the piece i did for the ICA show over the summer - using old 4-track cassette masters from the mid-1980's as material for new works.

each piece was composed using an old cassette-master of songs that i recorded in 1983/84 in my bedroom. because my 4-track cassette deck ran at double speed, when the tapes were played on a regular cassette player, everything ran at half speed - with the left side running in reverse, while the right side ran forwards. i listened to the master tapes and captured various snippets, which i then used to build the pieces. the original recordings were made a year or so out of high school, and a year or so after leaving the “seditionaries”, the los angeles punk band that included me as its lead singer. the 4-track masters were first attempts to move into a territory between the darkness of bauhaus and joy division and the jangly dissonance of early felt, gang of four, orange juice and josef k. while i’m not entirely sure what songs were on these two tapes (almost nothing was labelled), the weird slow recordings still managed to offer a few bits that sparked memories, although most of it was unfamiliar enough that it felt like new material. i tried not to process any of the original sounds other than some eq, so that the quality of the sound sources (a casio, my voice, guitar, drum machine), as well as my original sound making actions, were still able to “speak”. thus, none of the sounds have been dramatically altered.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

hear with your eyes...!