Among my first stops during this year’s New York trip was the New Museum, which is currently featuring a museum-wide exhibition of works by Chris Burden.
His work spans several decades and includes sculpture, performances and pieces that blur the boundary between the two. While the exhibition officially focuses on “weights and measures, boundaries and constraints”, the theme that seem to most unify all the pieces was “play”. Certainly, he has access to toys on larger scale than most of us could only dream of as kids who loved building sets. This was most apparent in his series of bridges, made from custom erector sets and other materials.
Similar principles are at work in his large-scale sculptures, which use metal and found material and also included a sense of motion. The Big Wheel is indeed a huge wheel constructed from weathered metal.
It is designed to spin freely, and visitors are treated to a twice-a-day “performance” of the piece where a motorcycle is used to start the wheel spinning. You can see a bit of this in the following video:
A nearby sculpture address the absence of motion with a perfectly balanced Porsche and meteorite. I am curious as to how Burden obtained such a large meteorite to use in this piece.
Motion is taken to another extreme in an outdoor piece (shown as video documentation in the exhibition) where large steel beams are dropped into a pool of wet cement. As the positions, angles, are unpredictable, the result is a rather chaotic jumble of vertical steel spires. The video itself is quite interesting with the motion of the cement in response to the the dropping beams.
Perhaps the element of play is most apparent (and most poignant) in A Tale of Two Cities. Burden constructs a tableaux of two city-states at war using sand, plants and a large array of toys.
Some of these toys (in particular, a few of the space-themed toys) were familiar from my own childhood. And certainly we sometimes created battles with them. But those fantasies never touched on the realities of war, and somehow Burden made that very apparent in this piece. Perhaps it was the presence of bullets among the toys that made it seem like something very, very bad could come of this.
The exhibition also includes other conceptual pieces, as well as some examples of Burden’s early video work, which was interesting precisely because it seems dated.
Chris Bürden: Extreme Measures will be on display at the New Museum through January 12, 2014.
Luna officially turns 9 years old today. At moments like this, it certainly does seem that time flies by too quickly. Unfortunately, we are not able to celebrate together as I am still in New York, but we certainly will do so when I get home.
Please join me in wishing Luna a very Happy Birthday!
“With drum-playing hamster. Playing for Jesus. This is your brain on drugs.”
Submitted by Tom Djll via Facebook.
This might be one of the creepiest things we have ever posted here on CatSynth
I am currently in New York, which means Luna is currently at her usual boarding place.
She adjusted to her surroundings fairly quickly. It is probably somewhat familiar as we have been boarding Luna here for most of my time in San Francisco. And the staff knows her and will probably be spoiling her while I’m gone.
They do make sure to provide one of her favorite rooms along the kitchen hallway, where she can see the human activity from a high perch just like at home.
I am currently focused on this trip, which should be an interesting one. But I do always look forward to being reunited with Luna when I return home.
From DarkSideoftheTune on SoundCloud. Submitted by Shawn Shirey via our Facebook page
A Howling Free Sample Library from Dark Side of the Tune
Hella Kitty is a 39 sound library containing cat sounds that were altered with a vocoder to create robotic and ethereal sound design options.
Source synthesizers include:
Moog Slim Phatty
Doepfer Dark Energy
As always, if you like these sounds, please consider stopping by the shop and checking out the other libraries for purchase at www.darksideofthetune.com
Free Library: docs.google.com/file/d/0BzLbZ1FMX…/edit?usp=sharing
I have of course downloaded this one
A couple of weeks ago, Surplus 1980 joined the Fred Frith Trio at the Brick and Mortar in San Francisco from a night of energetic avant-rock and jazz. It was a show we have all been looking forward to for quite a while.
Surplus 1980 went on first, with a set that combined songs from our recent album Arterial Ends Here with older selections. In addition to Moe! Staiano and myself, the band includes Bill Wolter and Melne Murphy on guitar, Thomas Scandura on drums, and Steve Lew on bass.
[Photo by Michael Zelner.]
For this set, we expanded our Fred Frith cover “Cap the Knife” into a full medley featuring excerpts for some of his other songs. In a brief exchange back stage, it sounded like he appreciated the gesture, and even suggested that his group perform a “Moe! Staiano medley”, which would have been fun. But overall, it was our strongest performance as a band to date, with rhythms and phrasing much tighter as well as more sophisticated use of all parts.
After Surplus 1980 was done, Fred Frith took the stage with his trio that included Jordan Glenn on drums and Jason Hoopes on bass.
[Photo by Michael Zelner.]
It was quite a contrast, going from post-punk to avant-jazz. The trio played through longer pieces that moved between fast intricate sections and more familiar idioms with ease. The polyphonic sections were certainly impressive, but I do find when technically strong musicians play in unison or at least synchronous rhythms, it leaves a more memorable impression. Frith deftly filled up the otherwise sparse texture of the music, but not so much that one would get lost or overwhelmed.
Overall, it was a successful show, with a good turnout. Surplus 1980 is now looking forward to our next show in December, but I hope we get to play with the Fred Frith trio again.
It’s time once again for the annual pilgrimage to New York. In addition to family and friends, there will be much art-seeing and urban exploration, and two electronic-music performances. If you are in New York over the next two weeks, I invite you to come check them out.
Tuesday, November 26, 7:30
Ambient-Chaos presents Schyuler Tsuda, Amar Chaudhary (San Francisco), John Dunlop, RMA Trio
121 Ludlow St, Second Floor, New York
Robert L. Pepper (PAS) presents a night of Ambient-Chaos featuring Schyuler Tsuda, Amar Chaudhary (San Francisco), John Dunlop, RMA Trio. THE EVENT STARTS EARLY!. So please be there by 7:30 to settle in and enjoy the frequencies.
Saturday, November 30
Rachel Mason, The Use, and Amar Chaudhary at Harvestworks
Harvestworks, Broadway&Houston, New York
5.1 Surround surround performance at Harvestworks with Rachel Mason and The Use (Michael Durek), additional A/V element from Jay Van Dyke; and a set from Amar Chaudhary a.k.a. CatSynth.
I did want to include some analog modular elements in these performances, so I put together a miniature version of the rig featuring a cross section of modules, with an emphasis on live processing (Make Noise Echophon) and chaotic oscillation.