12/4 Los Solos Series – CHILDE BRIDE & C RYDER COOLEY

THIS FRIDAY 12/4/2009

An evening of performance, sound, and aerial art from two exceptional solo artists.


LOF/t, 120 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201
Doors open at 8:00pm, shows start at 8:30pm, $6

SHANA PALMER (CHILDE BRIDE) (BALTIMORE) Shana Palmer arrived in Baltimore, MD last May from Boston, MA where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Painting at the Massachusetts College of Art. She is a multidisciplinary artist and self-taught musician. Her solo music project Childe Bride is going on its third year with releases in the US and UK. Her improvised music is described as mysterious tribal drone and sometimes noise folk. The consistency that exists is that the music is always narrative, taking the audience on a walk often through the world of shadows and forest at twilight. Since moving to Baltimore she has been involved in Baltimore’s High Zero Festival doing collaborations with Jenny Graf and film installation work in the 2010 Transmodern Festival. She is currently the other half of the debut band Secret Secrets where she juxtaposes her electronic music with Melissa Moore’s (a previous Los Solos performer) drumming styles. Secret Secrets is looking forward to an Ehse Records release in the future. http://www.myspace.com/thechildebride

C. RYDER COOLEY (NY) C. RYDER COOLEY is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and performer. Weaving together chimeric images with found props and forgotten objects, she creates cinematic performances and installation spaces. Ryder has participated in a wide range of public works, educational projects and international shows. Awarded Best Performance Artist of the NY Capital District in 2006 & 2007, selected works have been performed and installed at locations including: White Box and Exit Art galleries in NYC, Yerba Buena, Intersection for the Arts and Theater Artaud in San Francisco, Proctors Mainstage Theater in Schenectady NY, Pan American Art Projects in Miami FL, Watermill Center in Long Island NY, Gay Pride Festival in Bulgaria and public art projects in Indonesia, El Salvador, France and the Czech Republic.

For Los Solos Cooley will be performing, Animalia, Stories of Collapse, Calamity and Departure, a lyrical fairytale by C. Ryder Cooley, performed with Natalie Agee. http://www.carolynrydercooley.com/performance.html

Friday 10/2 Los Solos Series – Lauren Bender & Trisha Baga

THIS FRIDAY 10/2/2009

An evening of live video performance from two exceptional solo artists.


LAUREN BENDER (BALTIMORE) Lauren Bender lives and works in Baltimore, where she is co-Director for Narrow House, a publisher of experimental and avant-garde writing: http://narrow-house.blogspot.com/. Recent performances include the Stoop Storytelling Series at Center Stage in Baltimore (2009), Big Pink at the Baltimore Museum of Art, as part of the Franz West retrospective To Build a House You Start With the Roof (2009), not BLUNDER but and Will: A Retrospective at Load of Fun in Baltimore (2009), and CorpOreo at the Billy Fischer Memorial Building and the DC Arts Center (2008). Recent publications include I’AM BORED with Kevin Thurston (Produce Press, 2008) and Whale Box (Publishing Genius Press, 2008). Sporadic postings can be found at http://times-infinity.blogspot.com/.

TRISHA BAGA (NYC) Trisha Baga is an amateur scientist based in New York. She is currently investigating the effects of particles of consciousness on particles of matter. Her lectures and demonstrations loosely focus on her research into the changing nature of light over the past 25 years, specifically through Madonna’s (the pop phenomenon) mediated documents on the process of self-illumination. View video clip

LOF/t, 120 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201
Doors open at 8:00pm, shows start at 8:30pm, $6

Merida Triad Project #3

July 11, 2009 – Bard College

So it’s been quite a while since the conclusion of the Merida project with Jackie and Nadia yet oddly enough the place I’ve been for the past month seems very much in line with what was started at the beginning of June. In reading back on these posts about our triad project, I see many of the same ideas that I’ve been working on within my project here at the Bard MFA program. Its fitting that the project in Mexico was focused on the mouth and that has led to a project developed here at Bard that started inside the mouth, in the voice. The first instrument.

I’m trying to unravel what it is that I learned from the Mexico project with regard to collaboration, improvisation, text and sound. I think part of our project’s artistic impact for me was just working through collaborative strategies applied to text and the voice instead of improvised electronic music. I keep finding that improvisation is the process and the focus and the materials can often be of any origin – sounds, text, images, movements. I wonder what this says to the end result? I wonder how improvisation works with performance and writing in this way? Improvisation in this collaborative project seemed to serve a generative function but the end result was more scripted and there were less moments of improvisation except within the parts of the piece where there were readings. And yet I still think of this project as largely an improvised effort.

I mean improvisation is really just a matter of human function right? Wikipedia manages to have a useful definition actually – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improvisation and I appreciate the comic diversity of actions where improvisation can contribute significantly – flower arranging and romantic relationships.

It’s interesting that improvisation speaks to the ability to have  ‘intuitive” and “technical” knowledge as well as bringing “awareness” and “understanding” into the same realm at the same time. What then is this state of mind that is improvisation? I always thought of it as the ability to both listen to yourself while also playing music. To be both the player and the audience at the same time. To be able to abstract your own actions. I wonder then how that plays out in the act of writing. Could it be said that this state of being is somewhat inherent in writing. This abstraction of action necessary in order to produce language on the page/computer screen what have you.

It seems as though improvisation is seen as decision making “on the fly” within the idiom of the instrument – the realm of what is known about the isntrument – it’s limits as an instrument and limits on the human body in playing that instrument – but there’s another meaning that is often used that refers to music that works within a specific idiom/genre/style. That explores through improvisation the limits of that genre/style. I guess what I find more intriguing is the general problem of genre in music these days. Particularly thinking about a genre of improvised music. Particularly when improvised music tends to jump outside idiom, culture, and body more often than not as the musician interacts and dialogues with other artists within a performance. I’m starting to become interested in what happens when musicians who do not approach from shared common experiences/shared knowledge work through creative collaboration and improvisation.

Also what does it mean to improvise with text? Improvise with poetry? Is that an action an artist takes / makes or is that an action that is somewhat tied to writing anyways? Intuition and technical understanding of the idiom… and the decisions made within.

Merida Triad Project #2

Merida June 4, 2009

Yesterday’s meeting laid out the formal structure of the project with different strategies we discussed the day previous. The performance will focus a good deal on language and it’s function as sound, as communication, as abstraction. This theme seems augmented by the challenges of working across two languages – though our meetings are in English, I wonder how difficult it is for Nadia to have to “translate” her poetics into English on the fly as it were. 

For me the challenges (but also an interesting aspect) of the project lie in this “translation” of poetics. To understand how different audiences will respond to different language and sound element. A point made was that the overlap of English and Spanish in mexico is very common and mostly associated to television and overdubbing in movies. Using this technique then requires some additional abstraction or self-awareness to divorce the initial feeling of overdub for the audience.

Another interesting development from the discussions yesterday was the idea of our doing a very text-centric project within an improvised music festival. What I had said almost offhandedly to explain our project in this context was that the mouth is the first instrument, the primary instrument. But thinking about it – it’s actually quite true. The project will focus on the mouth, speaking, communicating, sounds, and silence – and the mouth is one of the first things most people use to emit sound. The cry of a baby. I also was thinking about our use of improvisation in the performance. And what occurs to me – which may be less obvious in the project itself – but this idea of process/improvisation – is very much tied to collaboration in my mind. So the collaboration of the three of us is essentially a form of improvisation – particularly due to the fact that we’ve never worked before like this and our timeframe is short.

Merida Triad Project #1

Merida – June 3, 2009.

Jackie and I met Nadia Escalante for the first last night to start discussing what I’m calling our triad project. We had a couple hours of chatting about our personal work, our aesthetics and ideas about what we’re working on. Nadia spoke of some of her ideas about language and the nature of language as an obstruction to reality. How language can hide a lot about what is happening. She has some interesting perspectives on silence being at the root of language and her words “everything we could express is in silence” is a compelling idea. 

Jackie’s work looks at human interactions, miscommunications, (humorous, sly, sexual, andotherwise). The catalogs of gestures that make up who we we are and how we relate to each other. Also we discussed how the removal of context, or distorting of context was of interest. 

I feel as though my own sound work is moving towards an interest in improvisation as a way of understanding these routes of communication, dialogue, miscommunication, exchange. I think aesthetically I’m interested in the contrast, the tension, the push and pull of opposing or juxtaposed ideas, concepts, sounds, visuals, mediums etc. I like to think of the process of creating art as an activation – of the artist and the audience, a performative gesture that is more than just that of the performer. A complicit act = performance. 

I think all three of us work with these ideas. Something we developed in the meeting was the idea of focus on the everyday – the quotidian – the aphorism. Also the disruption of the everyday and the linear narrative. 

Before the trip we had considered focusing on the mouth as a theme of the performance and project. The mouth as the entrance and the exit, the form of communication, the way that the outside is brought inside. 

This morning we began to work out strategies for the project – different actions that we could use to express some of our ideas. The afternoon meeting will also be focused on developing strategies and planning out the shape of the performance. We’ve decided to use video projections and documentation as well as focus on some language related to the mouth and aphorisms involving the mouth.

But now it’s raining like crazy!