Part III: Sound Shaping
Each part £8 / £7 Concessions / £5 ICA Members / Limited tickets £5 Students
The third part of this weekend dedicated to SOUNDWORKS brings together a selection of films by Peggy Ahwesh, Edgard Varèse, Iannis Xénakis, Le Corbusier, Beatrice Gibson and Alex Waterman, and Linda Christanell. Contributors to the SOUNDWORKS project as well as other positions negotiate the question of how sound can structure our perception of space, time, and form. Taking a closer look at the relationship of unstructured ur-sound and ur-matter with disambiguated sound and composition, the works share a struggle for solid representation and continually threaten to give way to ambiguity and imagination.
Edgard Varèse, Iannis Xénakis, and Le Corbusier: Poème électronique (1958)
"I will not make a pavilion for you, but an Electronic Poem and a vessel containing the poem; light, colour, image, rhythm and sound joined together in an organic synthesis." – Le Corbusier
A collaborative work bringing together the music of Edgar Varese and architecture of Iannis Xenakis, under the management of Le Corbusier, Poéme Électronique was created for the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World Fair 1958, constituting a spectacular multi-channel, multi-media production. While its original site specific format is now lost to history, the work is considered a seminal piece of early electronic music, using the most advanced technologies available at its time. This screening comprises of a combined version of the original sound and visuals.
Beatrice Gibson and Alex Waterman, A Necessary Music (2009)
A collaboration between artist Beatrice Gibson and composer Alex Waterman, A Necessary Music is a science fiction film about modernist social housing. A musically conceived piece referencing the video operas of Robert Ashley, the film explores the social imaginary of a utopian landscape through directed attention to the voices that inhabit it. Treating the medium of film as both a musical proposition and a proposal for collective production, A Necessary Music employs the residents of New York’s Roosevelt Island as its authors and actors, gathering together their texts to construct a script for the film. Framed by a fictional narration taken from Adolfo Bioy Casares’ 1941 science fiction novel The invention of Morel, the film self-consciously dissolves from attempted realism to imagined narrative; what begins as a enthnographic study becomes instead a fiction and an investigation into the mechanics of representation itself.
Narration by Robert Ashley.
Linda Christanell, All can become a rose (1992)
All can become a rose in the fire of the mind’s eye – Christanell’s semiotic associations begin where
"every web of thoughts is an invitation to continue weaving” - a red tiger-skin, jewelry, a black corset – all objects that evoke eroticism.
A cinematographic game with fetishism and desire.
Peggy Ahwesh, The Third Body (2007)
An appropriated film, portraying the arrival of Adam and Eve to an exotic Eden is intercut with appropriated videos of virtual reality demonstrations, among them a human hand shadowed by a computer-generated rendering, medical robots conducting a virtual surgery, and people dressed in bulky headgear navigating virtual spaces. As the title suggests, cyberspace adds to the Genesis legend a third possibility, a virtual existence that challenges natural and social definitions of gender and morality.
"The tropes of the garden, the originary moment of self knowledge and gendered awareness of the body (what is traditionally called sin) is mimicked in the early experiments with virtual reality. The metaphors used in our cutting edge future are restagings of our cultural memory of the garden. Wonderment regarding the self in space, boundaries of the body at the edge of consciousness and the inside and outside skin of perceptual knowledge."
Music: Morton Feldman.
R.H. Quaytman To the German Language – Dia, 2012
video lecture in collaboration with Jeff Preiss
“To the German Language.” is a video lecture I delivered at Dia Art Foundation on Dec. 20, 2011. It was made in response to an invitation to present a talk as part of the “Artists on Artists Lecture Series. “ Customarily invited artists to this series choose to lecture on one particular artist represented in the Dia Art Foundation collection. I chose instead to focus on the institution itself, in particular its founders Heiner Friedrich and Philippa de Menil. The video lecture is comprised entirely of the voices and opinions of white males with the exception of some tearful excerpts from Andrea Fraser’s powerful lecture delivered on Fred Sandback as part of this same series in 2004. Dia’s pounding masculine ideology seemed to demand my silence and I complied by not using the first person. But if I don’t have a voice other than intermittent ‘ah’, ‘yeh’ and ‘you’re right.’ – I do have vision and vision has the uncanny ability to talk back. This is why film rather than lecturing, seemed the best vehicle to converse with my subject.
I chose a poem “To the German Language” by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam to help navigate a route through this expansive landscape. Finally I would like to add that I use the sound and the idea of the nightingale. The nightingale or Nachtigall in Mandelstam’s poem has been used since antiquity to invoke poetry however it is a bird not found in the Americas. And like the American Poet Jack Spicer wrote:
Why can't we sing songs like nightingales? Because we're not Nightingales and can never become them. The poet has an arid parch of his reality and the others. Things desert him.
Weekend pass available £24/£22 Concessions /£15 ICA Members - call our box office: 020 7930 3647