Live Stage: Mask/Mirror [us Brooklyn]

hername02.jpgDiapason gallery for sound and intermedia presents Alessandro Bosetti and Christian Kesten’s Mask/Mirror, a performance :: March 29, 2008; 8:00 pm :: Diapason, 882 Third Avenue (between 32nd and 33rd Street), 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY.

A few months ago I wrote a note to myself: “Try to create a mask that that doesn’t have anything to do with anything” and kept wondering what that could mean until I started to imagine Mask/Mirror. Mask/Mirror a sampler to process recordings of spoken language in real time… The sampler follows both sound and meaning criteria in sorting, organizing and processing samples and in formulating utterances. It is a software tool based on MaxMSP and speech recognition software interacting with my own voice during performances. It’s also a state of mind enabling expanded spoken and vocal improvisation, expanded communication and ecstasy.

It has been developed in collaboration with Harvestworks Digital Arts Center in New York and STEIM in Amsterdam. Mask/Mirror has to do with virtually everything but at the same time it does not have anything special to do with anything special. As well as being a blank mask I can put on my face – and my voice – it’s also a mirror that let me browse and talk to my memory while I am watching into it.

All mirrors are masks and vice versa. Both are tools enabling identity.

“It is difficult not to treat Mask/Mirror, with its randomized garble of words, as a willfully cryptic Oracle of Delphi reincarnated as an Apple laptop. While Bosetti had described the project as “about the aboutness of being about” what Noise got out all of this is that it’s devilishly hard not to seek meaning even where it’s clear none is forthcoming. Not until the program, in a moment of absurd hilarity, spit forth the word “hamburgers” did it all click: Mask/Mirror is a tool for shearing all meaning from language. It’s a liberation, of sorts, like the sound version of Rorschach tests: The mind is encouraged to wander freely and delight in words purely for their sound. In the information overload of contemporary times, Mask/Mirror’s playful rupturing of sense–its nonsense, in other words–is a welcome respite.” Raven Baker – Noise/Citypaper

ALESSANDRO BOSETTI, voice, electronics, Berlin / Milano / Baltimore: Alessandro Bosetti, composer and sound artist, was born in Milan, Italy in 1973. He works on the musicality of spoken words and unusual aspects of spoken communication and produced text-sound compositions featured in live performances, radio broadcastings and published recordings. In his work he moves on the line between sound anthropology and composition often including translation and misunderstanding in the creative process. Field research and interviews often build the basis for his abstract compositions along with electro-acoustic and acoustic collages, relational strategies,trained and untrained instrumental practices, vocal explorations and digital manipulations. Since he’s curious about differences he travels. Just in 2006 he’s been living and working in West Africa, China, Taiwan, Holland, Scandinavia, United States , Germany and Italy. For the future he plans to be living and working between Berlin (D), Milano (I) and Baltimore (USA).

CHRISTIAN KESTEN, voice, Berlin, Germany: Christian Kesten was born in 1966 and works as composer, performance artist, vocalist and stage director. He lives in Berlin, Germany. His interest lies in the “space in-between”: between music and theatre, music and language, between music and the visual arts. His pieces work with the space which opens up between the sound of language and the parallel, non-illustrative action (-cycling 1990; des Kleinen Übergewicht 1995; 45 seconds 2006). They make use of everyday spaces and their sounds, including works made for train stations, in which minimal sounds of winds and brass are spread over the station and mixed with sounds of trains and passers-by (nordbahnhof 1996, bahnhof westend 1996, bahnhof zoo 1997). welcome home is written for the squeaking doors of the Nordbahnhof station in Berlin and two violins which mirror the door sounds: the passers-by experience the music while on the move. In (o.T.) für klarinette in einem raum mit langem nachhall 1(1999) and 2(2000) [(without title) for clarinet in a space with a long reverberation time] the clarinet plays to its own reverberation as a second voice, microtonally, and thus refers to the presence of space. parochial (1998) – for the group “Maulwerker” (4 female voices, trumpet/voice, clarinet/voice, alto saxophone + additional instruments) – was written especially for the space of the Parochialkirche in Berlin: sculptural shaped sounds are moved in space, while trumpet, clarinet and sax move mostly outside the space and so extending acoustic perception beyond the walls of the church.

Recently he developed the “video audio field recording”, by recording field sounds with a video camera, composing dense and light sound textures of field recordings and live instruments. The projected images are always fixed camera angles, filming spaces in-between, the incidental, the mundane: the Los Angeles catalogue; dodger stadium; cypress park; urban cafe restroom (all 2007). Kesten studied at the University of Arts (UdK) Berlin (Music: guitar, piano, voice; counterpoint/twelvetone-technique with H.Fladt; musicological thesis on “Silence in the works of John Cage and Morton Feldman”; Experimental music and music-theatre with Dieter Schnebel | Performance Art | Projects with the stage design class of Achim Freyer) and TU Berlin (German literature and linguistics). 1989-91 he studied privately with Michael Vetter (overtone singing, vocal improvisation, calligraphy/notation etc.). Movement studies with various teachers (Amos Hetz a.o.).

Since 1987, he has been performing new vocal music and experimental music-theatre throughout Europe and in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Israel, Moscow and Tokyo. He currently works with the ensemble “Maulwerker” and as soloist. In a long collaboration with Dieter Schnebel he premiered most of his music theatre works since 1987. He has recently worked with Alessandro Bosetti, Jacques Demierre, Chico Mello, Makiko Nishikaze, Iris ter Schiphorst, who wrote solo works or operas for him. Kesten conceives and curates the series “maulwerker performing music” (since 2005) in Berlin with programs like ?poems for feet“, ?pro cedere. Music as Process“, “Situationen.. Interpenetrations of art and life” or “Halt’s Maul. Screaming pieces from four decades”, with World Premieres by Antonia Baehr, Alessandro Bosetti, Bill Dietz, Jürg Frey, Robin Hayward, David Helbich, Michael Hirsch, Sven-Åke Johansson, Travis Just, Christian Kesten, Andrea Neumann, Pauline Oliveros, Dieter Schnebel, Emmett Williams, István Zelenka, a.o. Since 2006, he is co-curator of the experimental music concert series Labor Sonor at KULE Berlin.

Diapason gallery for sound and intermedia was founded by composer Michael J. Schumacher in 2001 and its program builds on the efforts of Schumacher’s previous sound space, Studio Five Beekman, founded in 1996. Diapason is the sole venue in New York City and one of few internationally dedicated to the presentation of multichannel sound installation where composers and sound artists can realize their work for an interested public. By providing an optimum listening environment, two high quality multi-channel sound systems, a regular audience, and a place for experimentation, Diapason seeks to engage composers and the public in dialogue about the place of contemporary music and sound practice in a broader cultural context. Diapason is supported by NYSCA, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Phaedrus Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, Kirk Radke, and by generous individuals. Diapason is a 501(c)3 organization.

Mar 25, 2008
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