The track below is another collaboration of sorts– the song was written by Liz Janes and remade by Shara Worden, two more women/artists I greatly admire. I’m rewriting my artist’s statement, and it links well with this content. “Why is every little bitty thing falling apart?”
Are you in or near Indianapolis? Will you be on August 10th, 11th or 12th? If so, swing by this event in my stead! The piece I’ll have in this is a volley-back from Roberto Carlos Lange (aka Helado Negro) for whom I made the Obra Uno animation. This new animation (which I’ll post after its debut at this event) was scored by Roberto.
Son Lux, who will be playing at the August 11th slot, just finished this amazing project for NPR’s All Songs Considered. Also check out the making of the album cover pictured above. Up, up, with the collaborative spirit!
OUTSOUND, Vol. 1 is the first in what is to become a yearly experimental music and video festival. This year’s focus is electronics and abstraction, featuring both local and out-of-town artists. The festival is a unique collaboration of programming between Big Car’s newly opened Service Center in Lafayette Square and the nearby Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Musically the festival runs the gamut from orchestrally-infused glitch-hop, to Latin abstract-expressionism, to ambient and video game influenced electronics, and to digital blast crunk. Visually, the videos primarily discard narrative for aesthetic exploration and when exploring narrative tend to focus on themes of space and displacement.
Plus new video work by…
Nadia Hironaka & Matthew Suib
This blog has a function. I have to remember and remind myself why it is that I side-stream a portion of what would normally be my own journal into this more public sphere, and when I post something like the last one, where I whine about things being “a bore” and such, I also remember what a challenging cross-over it can be. The reason that I publish my thoughts here is that I always love to hear the behind-the-scenes processes of other artists. And if anyone would bother to come here and read, they are probably similar. Countless artists’ talks have led me to appreciate the richness of the thought beyond the objects and the way that the work becomes that much more dimensional. I loved Ralph Lemon’s How Can you Stay in the House… piece especially, the way an artists’ talk was essentially inserted into the work itself, like a poet who writes page-long footnotes for her own poem. But the risk of thinking out loud is that it is piecemeal, truly process writing. Much of what spins out here isn’t thoroughly combed.
So I kept thinking about that weird phrase “a very human ideal of beauty” that I threw out. Funny, because the whole concept of beauty, at least in our conversation, is utterly, inextricably human, no matter what turns we take. More accurately, I’m interested in scooting around and behind some of the more typical landscape formulas, and, actually, discovering other “very human” beauties… along with uglies and inconsistencies and frustrations and shrugs. This might go unsaid, but I am a beauty seeker and appreciator, along with most of humankind. I am, however, suspicious of attempts at beauty that are too tidy, that lack a certain dissonance, complexity or mystery.
Landscape has played throughout my art-making– past present and future– in a way that, I am realizing, few other subjects do. It’s such a bear of a historical precedent to follow, and in some ways, I wish I could avoid it. Yet, there it is. It’s one of my most honest sources of inspiration– both its actuality (the land) and its depiction (the landscape). The word itself– landscape– is kind of a bore to me. It implies a tidy, well-framed ideal of natural balance… a very human ideal of beauty. [I’m also putting my finger on the fact that romantic ideals tend to freak me out as much as they attract me– whether it’s a fashion model or a modern home, a landscape or a lifestyle mag…]
With some old friends, I was recently listening to Joanna Newsom’s album, Have One on Me, and I tried to say that it felt like that “other part of the opera– you know– not the arias, but the wandering-in-between parts.” Clearly I’m not an opera buff, but have since done mini-research to find out that what I was referring to is called recitative (or recitativo). It seems like it takes up the majority of most operas– words sung without the hook or repetition that would allow you to easily memorize it, sung with a more conversational, less rhythmic cadence, but sung nonetheless. By their musicality, they have the abstraction of art (the artifice?), but it’s a less… well… tidy approach. The act of drawing is as abstract as singing a line of wandering text. It is a highly stylized and individualized response to the world and its overlapping cultures.
In thinking about the land, and my own experience of it, I find the desire to draw in a more recitative way. I’m interested in the less picturesque portions of a hike, say, the parts where no one is whipping out a camera. It seems more accurate to what it really is like to attempt to ascertain the environment where we find ourselves. There might be some trash caught in the underbrush. The foliage might not orchestrate itself into a rhythmic decorative song. It’s not an aria very often, or an overture. Edges are ragged, information is partial, patterns come and go…
Lesson 1: Standing quietly in the woods I glimpse a memory. I briefly understand how humans lived as children of the wilderness. Here, on the leaf covered path, space is not hardened into vast, hardened geometry.
Lesson 2: Our market obsessions, our blind anticipations over that next great commodity, can indeed be interrupted. All you have to do is quietly consider the contours of a great tree, or really listen to water moving along a bank. A tiny leaflet falling on your sleeve may even break the spell.
Lesson 3: The forest holds special, rare, and arresting examples of adaptation and natural history. But be warned: learning about and experiencing nature can also make you start caring. And that caring can turn into alarm about what is happening to the age old cycles of our earth.
Lesson 4: Forget sentimental greeting card scenes! In the forest, everything eats everything else. Things choke, flood, dry up, burn down, rot, and break in a thousand ways. Death is everywhere, just as life is everywhere.
*issue #94, pg. 55