Four multimedia artists have created work for the next stage of the quarantine: where the dominant arts venue is still home, but our circles are larger, our attention is not solely on isolation, and our appetite is to not spend all day on screens. **All experiences are FREE **
Dear Nancine is an at-home, month-long multimedia gift delivered through the U.S. mail. With letters, scores, sound walks and puzzles, this new collaboratively created piece consists of eight mailed gifts to experience alone, and/or with your household and close friends. Delivered throughout the month of May, Dear Nancine offers a way to engage on the page, online, on your phone, outside, and potentially… with your old friend Nancine, whoever they may be.
lull, a sleep temple is an overnight musical work. In this project Mendi + Keith Obadike create a sonic environment for rest. The 8 hour livestream uses field recordings, analog synths, and slow-moving harmonies from pianos, guitars, banjos, bell plates, and elongated melodies to create a field of sound for dreaming. At the center of the work is Mendi’s voice incanting original texts, remixed mythologies, and found fragments from books about dreams.
lull is accompanied by a mailed “dream kit,” which includes a candle made by the artists, a sachet of lavender, and a bedtime poem from the album. Dream kits will be mailed to the first 100 subscribers only.
Viola Yip + Ken Ueno will present an hour-long live telematic multimedia performance. In this new piece for the Look + Listen Festival, they ask: How can we reclaim time from the COVID-19 malaise of non-time? What are ways in which geographically-distanced performance can point to the limits of what we feel as the “now”? Their piece will instrumentalize the streaming network, expressively coaxing affordances of failure, sonic artifacts which serve as evidence of life being lived in the present.
In Semaphore, created exclusively for Look + Listen 2021, artist Audra Wolowiec invites participants to convey messages and communicate at a distance through a printed poster with postcard insert that will be mailed to each audience member. The typeface semaphore, created in response to the bodily movements of semaphore flag positions, is featured to send coded (or choreographic) messages, developed in collaboration with Maurann Stein. The poster includes participatory works and visuals of early communication devices, drawing attention to our ever-changing desires and needs to communicate with each other across distances.
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ABOUT THE PERFORMANCES
Lull, a sleep temple is an overnight musical work. In this project Mendi + Keith Obadike create a sonic environment for rest. The 8 hour work uses field recordings, analog synths, and slow-moving harmonies from pianos, guitars, banjos, bell plates, and elongated melodies to create a field of sound for dreaming. At the center of the work is Mendi’s voice incanting original texts, remixed mythologies, and found fragments from books about dreams.
Lull was created against the backdrop of the pandemic, a political uprising and so called “civil unrest”, in a time when it was difficult for many people to sleep. Mendi + Keith Obadike have explored sound, language, and altered states of consciousness across many of their works. In this period they became interested in myths about dreams and the rhythms of sleep. They built Lull to respond to these cycles. They invite the audience not just to rest, but also to sleep to the piece.
Lull is accompanied by a “dream kit,” which includes a candle made by the artists, a sachet of lavender, and a bedtime poem from the album.
The philosopher, Byung-Chul Han says, “In the present characterized by an excess of openings and dissolving boundaries, we are losing the capacity for closure, and this means that life is becoming a purely additive process. For something to die, life must find its own closure. If life is deprived of any possibility of closure, it will end in non-time.”
Viola Yip and Ken Ueno, in their new piece for the Look + Listen Festival, ask: How can we reclaim time from the COVID-19 malaise of non-time? What are ways in which geographically-distanced performance can point to the limits of what we feel as the “now?”
Yip and Ueno will present an hour-long live telematic multimedia performance, performing distanced from Berlin and California, respectively. Engaging themselves as both composers/sound artists and performers, Viola will perform using her DIY electronic instrument, while Ken will perform on extended vocals and electronics. Their piece will instrumentalize the streaming network, expressively coaxing affordances of failure, sonic artifacts which serve as evidence of life being lived in the present.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mendi + Keith Obadike make music, art and literature. Their early works include The Sour Thunder, an Internet opera (Bridge Records), Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records), Black.Net.Art Actions, a suite of new media (internet art) works (published in re:skin on M.I.T Press), Big House / Disclosure, a 200-hour public sound installation (Northwestern University), Phonotype, a book & CD of media artworks, and a poetry collection, Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press). They have contributed sounds/music to projects by wide range of artists including loops for neo-soul singer D’Angelo’s first album and a score for playwright Anna Deavere Smith at the Lincoln Center Institute. They were invited to develop their first “opera-masquerade” by writer Toni Morrison at her Princeton Atelier. Their recent projects include a series of large-scale sound art works: American Cypher at Bucknell University and The Studio Museum in Harlem, Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School in New York, Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center, Sonic Migration at Scribe Video Center and Tindley Temple in Philadelphia, and Fit (the Battle Of Jericho) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Their other honors include a Rockefeller New Media Arts Fellowship, Pick Laudati Award for Digital Art, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Their intermedia work has been commissioned by The NY African Film Festival and Electronic Arts Intermix, The Yale Cabaret, Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), and The Whitney Museum of Art, among other institutions. Their music has been featured on New York and Chicago public radio, as well as on Juniradio (104.5) in Berlin. They are currently exhibiting in the group show I Was Raised On The Internet at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and developing new work as artists in residence at the Weeksville Heritage Society in Brooklyn, NY. Keith received a BA in Art from North Carolina Central University and an MFA in Sound Design from Yale University. He is a professor in the College of Arts and Communication at William Paterson University and serves a digital media editor at Obsidian. Mendi received a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in Literature from Duke University. After working as a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University, she became a poetry editor at Fence Magazine and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute. Mendi and Keith also serve as art advisors to the Times Square Alliance and The Vera List Center for Art and Politics.
thingNY is a collective of composer-performers who fuse electronic and acoustic chamber music with new opera, improvisation, theater, text, song and installation. Founded in 2006, thingNY performs experimental works created by the core ensemble – alejandro t. acierto, Gelsey Bell, Isabel Castellvi, Andrew Livingston, Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Dave Ruder, and Jeffrey Young – and by adventurous composers such as Jennifer Walshe, Robert Ashley, Rick Burkhardt, Pauline Oliveros, Miguel Frasconi, Vinko Globokar, John Cage, Julius Eastman, Jessie Marino, and Andrea La Rose. The members of thingNY have collaboratively created three concert-length operas: This Takes Place Close By, Time: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts (with Panoply Performance Lab), and ADDDDDDDDD (self-released as their first album, with accompanying comic book libretto), and in 2020 created subtracTTTTTTTTT and A Series of Landscapes, new pieces created for real time online audiences. thingNY has also released minis/Trajectories (2016) and Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an Opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young (2018), both on Gold Bolus Recordings.
A recipient of the Rome Prize and the Berlin Prize, Ken Ueno, is a composer/vocalist/sound artist who is currently a Professor at UC Berkeley. Ensembles and performers who have championed Ueno’s music include Kim Kashkashian and Robyn Schulkowsky, Wendy Richman, Greg Oakes, BMOP, Alarm Will Sound, Steve Schick and SFCMP, and Frances-Marie Uitti. His piece for the Hilliard Ensemble, Shiroi Ishi, was featured in their repertoire for over ten years. Another work, Pharmakon, was performed dozens of times nationally by Eighth Blackbird during their 2001-2003 seasons. As a vocalist, Ueno invents bespoke techniques and has performed as soloist in his vocal concerto with orchestras in Boston, New York, Warsaw, Vilnius, Bangkok, Sacramento, Stony Brook, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina. His sound installations have been featured at MUAC (Mexico City), Beijing, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Shenzhen Bienniale, and Art Basel. A monograph CD of Ueno’s three orchestral concertos was released on the Bmop/sound label. Ueno holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and his bio appears in The Grove Dictionary of American Music.
Audra Wolowiec is an artist whose work oscillates between sculpture, installation, text, and performance with an emphasis on sound and the material qualities of language. She is interested in how sound can create spaces of listening and connection. Wolowiec’s work has been shown internationally and in the United States at MASS MoCA, CCS Bard Hessel Museum, ICA at MECA (Maine College of Art), Stony Brook University, Art in General, and Studio 10. Readings and events have taken place at The Poetry Project, Microscope Gallery, and Center for Performance Research. Her work has been featured in BOMB Magazine, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, CAA Journal, and Sound American. Residencies include Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Complex Systems Art and Physics Residency at the University of Oregon supported by a National Science Foundation Grant, Dieu Donné, and Institute for Electronic Arts (iea) at Alfred University. Wolowiec currently teaches at Parsons School of Design and directs the publishing platformGravel Projects.
A Native of Hong Kong, Viola Yip is an experimental composer, performer, improviser, sound artist and instrument builder. She has been interested in creating new self-built instruments and sound works in the intersection of composition, performance and improvisation, exploring various relationships between materiality, space and our musical bodies in music. Viola’s instruments and performances have been presented in major music festivals and concert series in New York, Missouri, Chicago, San Diego, Boston, Bowling Green (Ohio), Pittsburgh, Ithaca, Saratoga Springs, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Huddersfield, Madeira, Ghent, Amsterdam, The Hague, Brussels, Basel, Zurich, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Munich and Darmstadt.
The Look+Listen Festival’s office, primary audience and venue partners are situated in the unceded territory of the Munsee Lenape and Canarsie people. We acknowledge that the colonial effects of European-inflicted genocide and the broken treaties of the U.S. government, as well as the stolen labor of enslaved people (Native and foreign-kidnapped) have irrevocably shaped our educational and artistic institutions. Look+Listen acknowledges benefiting from those institutions.
https://native-land.ca – Interactive map of American and Oceanian indigenous territory, languages and treaties
https://govtrackus.s3.amazonaws.com/legislink/pdf/stat/7/STATUTE-7-Pg13.pdf – English-written U.S. Government treaty (also known as Fort Pitt treaty) between the first Continental Congress and representatives of the Delaware Nation. This would be violated many times, the most infamous of which occurred by a Pennsylvania militia in Gnadenhutten in 1782, gradually leading to further white settlement in unceded lands expanding westward into Ohio.