Live Stage: Gestures and Responsive Media [us NYC]

ouija.jpgHarvestworks Digital Media Arts Center presents Gestures and Responsive Media — with Pamela Z, Elliott Sharp, Zach Layton, Sha Xin Wei, Sawako, Bill Hsu & James Fei :: May 14 – 16, 2009; 8.30 pm :: Roulette, 20 Greene Street, (between Canal & Grand)

Produced in partnership with Roulette’s Mixology Festival, Gestures and Responsive Media consists of three concert programs focusing on modern experiments in performance technology. Central to this series is the exciting way that live performers are exploring the use of gesture to control computers and building technological environments for free, improvisatory play. From Pamela Z’s gesture-based vocal experiments to Sha Xin Wei’s phenomenological experiments with movement and media, the presenting artists not only expand the boundaries of traditional performance and instrumentation, but also humanize electronics through creative means.

May 14 – Pamela Z / Elliott Sharp

>Pamela Z will perform work for voice, electronics, and interactive video including Suitcase Suite, being developed as part of her work-in-progress Baggage Allowance. Elliot Sharp will present new works as part of his ongoing Tectonics project. Tectonics is the name under which Sharp performs his solo electro acoustic music. The live concerts are performed on his 8-string guitar bass, a laptop computer running a variety of applications, hardware processors, plus various electronically modified horns.

May 15 – Zach Layton / Sha Xin Wei

Zach Layton will perform new works exploring synaesthesia, geometric forms, minimal surfaces, kinetic visual patterns and sonic gestures. Sha Xin Wei, with Clarinda Mac Low, will present, Ouija, an open workshop/seminar experiment with dancers in responsive media. Ouija is a phenomenological experiment about gesture, intention and collective vs. individual agency. It uses the forms of a contemporary dance and movement art workshop to explore the medium of movement and media.

May 16 – Sawako / Bill Hsu & James Fei

Sawako, with a bit of help from technology, will improvise with underwater recordings from around NYC and Hawaii, as well as with actual water. Aqua Field is Sawako’s recent ongoing project related to water and the ocean. Bill Hsu and James Fei will perform a suite of pieces for alto saxophone and electronics. Hsu’s software extracts timbral and gestural information from the real-time saxophone performance, and uses this information to guide its behavior. The pieces will explore a range of system behavior, from completely autonomous improvisation to full manual control.


Pamela Z is a composer/performer who makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, and gesture activated MIDI controllers. She has also composed scores for dance, film, and new music chamber ensembles. She has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Her numerous awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Creative Capital Fund, the CalArts Alpert Award, the ASCAP Award, an Ars Electronica honorable mention and the NEA/JUSFC Fellowship.

Elliott Sharp is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer and central figure to the avant-garde experimental music scene in New York City for over thirty years. He has released over 200 recordings spanning the musical spectrum but all bearing his personal sound. He leads the projects Carbon and Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction as well as pioneering real-time computer-based improvisation with his Virtual Stance project of 1986. Sharp’s solo Tectonics program was featured at the re-opening of NYC’s PS1 Contemporary Art Center in October 1997.

Zach Layton is a composer, curator, improviser and new-media artist with an interest in biofeedback, generative algorithms, experimental culture and architecture. Based in Brooklyn, his work investigates complex relationships and topologies created through the interaction of simple core elements like sine waves, minimal surfaces and kinetic visual patterns. Zach has performed and exhibited at many venues in New York, South America and Europe. Zach is also founder of Brooklyn’s monthly experimental music series, Darmstadt: classics of the avant-garde co-curated with Nick Hallett. He is co-curator of the PS1 summer warm-up music series and is one of the directors of Issue Project Room.

Sawako is a Tokyo/NYC-based sound sculptor. After beginning in video art, Sawako shifted her focus from the video camera to sound. Sawako did audio and/or live performances in Japan, USA, Lisbon, London and Canada among other countries, and has collaborated with a wide range of artists such as Taylor Deupree, Taku Sugimoto, Chika, O.blaat, Toshimaru Nakamura, Jacob Kirkegaard and Andrew Deutsch. Sawako obtained a Master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University and received a B.A. from Environmental Information Department at Keio University, SFC, Japan. Born in Nagoya, Japan.

Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Computer Science at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada, Sha Xin Wei directs the Topological Media Lab, a studio-laboratory for the study of gesture and materiality from computational and phenomenological perspectives. Sha Xin Wei was trained in mathematics at Harvard and Stanford Universities, and worked more than 12 years in the fields of scientific computation, mathematical modeling and the visualization of scientific data and geometric structures. In 1998, Sha also co-founded the Sponge art group in San Francisco, to build public experiments in phenomenology of performance.

BIll Hsu builds software and performs with electronics. His work mostly involves using gestural interfaces to control synthesis, and exploring systems that interact with human performers. His recent performances include concerts at NIME 2007 and MIX Festival 2007 (both New York), and Fete Quaqua 2008 (London). He teaches computer science at San Francisco State University.

James Fei (b. Taipei, Taiwan) moved to the US in 1992 to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. He has since been active as a composer, improviser and sound artist. Works by Fei have been performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, MATA Micro Orchestra and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Fei teaches sound art and intermedia at Mills College.

Artists designing software and interfaces that become the engines of their art constitute an emerging field where viewers and performers participate and collaborate with machines to produce a new sensory experience.”

Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center is a nonprofit that provides resources for artists to learn digital tools and exhibit experimental work created with digital technologies. Our programs are made possible with funds from New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Materials for the Arts, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust, the Jerome Foundation, media The foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, The New York State Music Fund, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, The Argosy Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, The NY Community Trust, The Andy Warhol Foundation and the Friends of Harvestworks.

Roulette Intermedium is an Experimental and New Music presenting organization dedicated to the development of emerging and established artists. Since 1978, our ongoing purpose has been to provide opportunities for innovative composers, musicians, sound artists and interdisciplinary collaborators to present their work in accessible, appropriate and professional productions. Roulette hosts over 100 New Music concerts each season, with our annual spring Mixology Festival focusing on new and unusual uses of technology in music.

Apr 28, 2009
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