phoebe wang - in search of the miraculous (bas jan ader)

phoebe

In Search of the Miraculous (Bas Jan Ader) was produced by Phoebe Wang.

Special thanks: Niki Boghossian, Bee Crowe, Maria Dønvang, Grace Finlayson, Michelle Macklem, Heather Raquel Phillips, Kaitlin Prest, Lydia Rosenberg, Katharina Smets, Marisa Turesky, Amalia Wilson

Ft. Musicians: Phil Kline, Martha Farquhar Mcdonnell, Alex Samaras, Phil Smith, Owen Stewart Robertson

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Phoebe says: 

I think of this piece as a painting and artist manifesto of sorts; it's about searching for something that you may never find, and the compulsion to make.

This work is inspired by the artist Bas Jan Ader, who disappeared at sea while making his final art piece, "In Search of the Miraculous."

On her process:

I am a compulsive documenter - I need to believe that the next moment is going to be beautiful. This piece includes sounds I've recorded throughout my life, including art crits, phone calls, cab rides, and archival tape of my track and swim meets.

I like to include sneaky, but intentional elements in my work... for instance, the buzzing you hear at the beginning of the piece is the sound of a film reel playing Bas Jan Ader's piece, "I'm Too Sad to Tell You."

Inspirations from inside and outside the world of radio and sound:

Inside:

Laurie Anderson, Katharina Smets, Maria Dønvang

Outside:

Doreen Garner, Mike Kelley, construction sites, pom poms

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Constellations says:

This piece feels like rifling through a scrapbook inside someone's head. Its structure is as flowing and choppy as the ocean that Phoebe so often alludes to. We love Phoebe's play with music, and the raw meticulousness of the tape she's collected. This is a piece that resists traditional personal narrative storytelling arcs; it reveals itself slowly through additional listens. 

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Phoebe Wang is a queer artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She primarily works in sculpture, installation, and sound. Follow her on Twitter @feebswang.

bonnie jones - and if i live a thousand lives i hope to remember one

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And if I live a thousand lives I hope to remember one was produced by Bonnie Jones in 2015 and originally commissioned for EVENING WILL COME: A MONTHLY JOURNAL OF POETICS (THE ART OF LOSING—ISSUE 58, curated by John Melillo and Johanna Skibsrud. 

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Bonnie says: 

This piece uses 6-minute looping cassette tapes that I've been incorporating into my live concert performance set up. I usually create feedback and different playback by pressing on all the keys of the cassette player. Because I'm pressing all of the different keys, including record and stop and forward, the cassette actually starts to pick up some of the concert that's happening, so oftentimes on a cassette I'll start to hear the other musicians or little fragments of other players that are in the set with me. Over the course of several years of using the same cassette player and the same cassette tape, the record of the recording turns out to be this kind of palimpsested recording; multiple layers of different performances over several years. The final result that you hear is actually multiple concerts where I've recorded and re-recorded over this one 6-minute loop of cassette tape.

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Constellations says:

More than others we've played, Bonnie's piece is grounded in the process of its creation and its physicality. Working her worn out tape reel till it glitches and moans, Bonnie's work speaks to memory, ghosts, and chance. 

This piece does a magic thing of infusing a recording with the nowness of live music; it is as much a happening as the musical performances that were its building blocks, with the failure of the recording technology as performer and conductor.

In a percussive wave of otherworldly sighs and stutters, the richly textured sound leaves us guessing, with memorable sonic moments passing before can fully process them, so that when they stay longer than expected we are moved and curious - but the tape rolls on.

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Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American improvising musician, poet, and performer working with electronic sound and text. She performs solo and in numerous collaborative music, film, and visual art projects. at institutions in the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia, including the LA MOCA, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, and REDCAT. Her collaborative sound works have been shown at the Swiss Institute, Whitney Museum, and Hunter College. Bonnie was a 2018 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. Born in 1977 in South Korea she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

anna friz - air can break your heart

anna friz

Air Can Break Your Heart was recorded, composed and produced by Anna Friz at Skálar in Seydisfjördur, East Iceland. The piece is excerpted from a longer work considering the elements of air and water entitled Two Sleeps, commissioned by Radio Arts (UK) in 2015. 

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Anna says: 

I often have dreams where I try to fly by leaning backward until I'm floating just above the ground, then apply a modified breaststroke until I gain some height in a room or over a street before sinking inevitably back toward the earth to try again. This radio art piece relates such dreams of rising and falling through the fragile element of air to  imagined communications and melancholic longings of waking life, where static and noise communicate potential and effort but where the desired voices and connections are tantalizingly brief or out of earshot. Air Can Break Your Heart mixes urban acoustic and radio signals, such as the hiss of outdoor gas meters or pearlescent static from the shortwave dial, together with cottage-built electronic instruments. 

On her process:

The piece is about exploring the element of air and thinking about how communication and connection are longed for but sometimes missed or sometimes impossible. So there's a certain melancholic aspect to this piece that is also more about feeling than it is about a concrete linear narrative. My strategy for making the piece was to think about a kind of aural scenography - how can I mobilize the feeling of dream logic, the way that scenes very quickly change and still continue to make sense? How to make those sorts of transitions in an unusual way? And so my strategy for doing that was to look for the impulse in the sound - where was there a moment when something could change or something could suddenly modulate in an unexpected direction to change the scene. For instance a street scene with the hissing of gas meters and people walking by, to something more ethereal; this space of signals, of radio signals and attempted reception. The piece is also part of a longer piece called Two Sleeps which was commissioned by Radio Arts UK, and the second half is the element of water, so Air Can Break Your Heart really thinks about the first half of the elemental duo - the promise and the heartbreak of air.

Inspirations from inside and outside the world of radio and sound:

I loved the first season of Ear Hustle, Chris Cutler’s ongoing "Probes” series and accompanying “Auxiliaries" on Radio Web MACBA, and have been revisiting older works by Chantal Dumas. Thinking a lot about radio beacons, making work about radio beacons, thinking of animal sounds as beacons.

Honestly, I’ve hit a general media overload lately and haven’t been listening to nearly as much radio programming or recorded sound/music of any kind. My current aural joys are the glorious howls of the coyote den across the street from my apartment, and the broken pedestrian crossing signal that sounds like a wet cat.

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Constellations says:

This piece sits somewhere between music and installation. As a 'narrator', Anna's 'air' is endowed with aliveness, and palpably shifts in mood and voice throughout the piece, at times sounding almost human. 

Clinging to its gliding tail, listeners catch glimpses of urban spaces. Sometimes evoking chamber music, and other times, wind, static, and other manipulated field recordings, in this piece Anna tenderly blurs the line between music and noise. 

Sometimes this piece sounds dramatic - that moment before a stranger appears silhouetted in the doorway... but there is never a scare or climax, and the piece continues on to its next movement, ultimately ending in a gentle sonic reverie.

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Anna Friz is a sound and media artist who specializes in multichannel radio transmission systems for installation, performance, and broadcast. Since 1998, she has created and presented new audio art and radiophonic works internationally in which radio is often the source, subject, and medium of the work. She also composes atmospheric sound works and sonic installations for theater, dance, film, and solo performance that reflect upon public media culture, political landscapes and infrastructure, time perception, the intimacy of signal space, and speculative fictions. Friz is Assistant Professor in the Film and Digital Media Department of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Presentations of her work in the past year include Ars Electronica Big Concert Night (Linz, Austria), the Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro (Valparaíso and Santiago, Chile), the City Art Gallery of Ljubljana (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Il suono in mostra sound art festival (Udine, Italy), Technosonics XVII: Transmission festival (University of Virginia), Radiophrenia (Glasgow, Scotland), Ausland (Berlin), and Kunstradio on the cultural channel of Austria's national radio. She was one of the core curatorial team for Radio Revolten International Radio Art Festival in Halle (Saale) Germany in 2016, and is currently a steering member of Skálar | Sound Art | Experimental Music based in East Iceland. Anna is also an itinerant collaborator of the Toronto-based art collective Public Studio, which together recently completed a City of Toronto commission for One Hundred and Twenty Mirrors, a permanent sound installation in the Lee Lifeson Arts Park in Willowdale, Toronto. Hear more of her work here.

Upcoming work: Anna and Emmanuel Madan will be releasing The Joy Channel (2007-2017), a radio art radio play about radio 150 years in the future, when the radio band is the site of the transmission of emotions through emocasting and tele-empathy. Listening event in Montréal at Oboro onApril 26, 2018; release to come through IO Sound.