Wednesday, November 18, 2009

re G.2.20, ChinWhisps & AurLings

My thanks to Dan Godston et al for the opportunity to participate in/with David Harrison Horton's "G.2.20"--a score well suited for collab performance, even over such great distance.

That "G.2.20" works telephonically is testament to its well-tempered clavicles: just enough structure w/ a sexy, fleshy give. By employing simple point-&-flow directives & general noun types as performative units (e.g., "girlfriends," "common nouns"), limiting only as much as necessary to invite the conceptual circumstances intended, Horton's score becomes a game, a dance, a dynamo. & this dance is not a closed system (i.e., traditionally/egoistically "composed"): Horton leaves perf-unit duration, style, pitch/tone, volume undetermined, as these concerns are interpretive, performative & unnecessary in re the open scoring process. Such stylistic restrictions would, of course, also stultify telephonic collaboration, as it would require intensive rehearsal, structure, perhaps even require a conductor-of-sorts, thus excessively ossifying those sexy collarbones & threatening the necessary movements of the head & spine.

"G.2.20"'s noun categories deserve mention for their play in the ultimate scoring. While prohibiting repeated nouns, Horton balances experience-based finite categories ("names of streets on which you've lived") with the general & seemingly infinite ("common nouns") across the score & employs multiple flow-lines from each unit to create a continuous flow, even after categories have been named out of use. The piece could ostensibly continuing cycling--dropping dead categories--until all performers have exhausted experience and vocabularies.

To respond as a participant in two different realizations of "G.2.20," as initially invited, I offer the following:

Chicago (Myopic Books): I called from landline, worked w/ text prompts on paper scraps in various hats. Horton was audible, as was much audience reaction, but Kevin Kilroy was not.

Buffalo: I called from a cellphone, working w/ text prompt lists. Horton came through loud & clear but couldn't hear any of the reported audience/external interjection.

Skype leaves me hungry. Must consider further....

Huzzah to Horton for his comment re the usefulness of physical presence within the "compound of reception" as employed in the Chicago event. Certainly, such Embodiments, like Kevin Kilroy, allow the audience to relax into experiencing with ears-cum-eyes, mitigating the anxiety of engaging an open score projected into the reception compound from behind a telephonic/telematic veil. Let's call it "acousmaphoby."

By all accounts (my ears included), the Chicago realization benefited by Kilroy's Embodiment. It's unfortunate a Buffalo audience member wasn't willing to volunteer as Embodiment for that realization. [Sidebar: conferences harbor passivity-borne illnesses. Guess acousmaphoby's just another on the list....]

Kudos to Dan, David, Kevin et al.

&...yikes...Happy New Year!

Monday, October 19, 2009

"On 'G.2.20'" by David Harrison Horton

To begin, I think it’s grade school to ask which of the two recent performances of “G.2.20” was better when dealing with an open score. The point of the open score is that you will have a very different performance every time, depending on who is performing, and in the case of my score, the amount of performers. The score specifically calls for one to infinity players. Even with the same players each time, it would be a different piece each time because of the openness of the score.

The score itself is graphic and simple, to allow the most possible people to be able to participate without much preparation. It asks that the players: 1) name their past and present boyfriends and/or girlfriends; 2) name the streets they lived on; 3) name writers, artists, and philosophers and add the word “hurrah” afterwards; and 4) name common nouns. There are arrows and more explanations, but these are the basic directions. Overlap, dissonance and sonics are the intended goal.

Having performed this piece twice within the month via computer from Beijing lends itself to comparison, but again I don’t find this a fruitful exercise. Likewise, whether or not I was piping in from my boss’ computer or sitting at home in my skivvies seems beyond the point at hand.

Instead, I will note some differences that made the two performances different for me as a performer.

Chicago: I could hear Chad Lietz from Oakland over skype but I couldn’t hear Kevin Kilroy, the participant in Chicago. It didn’t matter much because as a participant coming in from Beijing I knew that a physical presence was there in front of the audience being the embodiment of a very purposefully disembodied piece. It’s much easier to absorb material coming in from the outer when there is something in the compound of reception to focus on.

Buffalo: Same piece. Chad Lietz and I. This time, no on-site participant. True telematic. As a performer, I got disrupted by my knowing that this was performed during a conference on avant and that when the audience members began asking questions, I remember asking Dan via chat if the Q&A had started and we were finished. Obviously not knowing the status of the performance during the performance affected the performance. I wonder if the folks who threw questions out understood that Beijing and Oakland could hear them; ie, that the perceivers were also in fact being perceived.

But both were fair representations of the score.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poem on Bathroom Design

Simple is understandable marble.
Scheme is durable, this is clear,
simple color like mosaic.
Sample rubber is clear.
Simple porcelain, spheres, not concrete.
Shake resin, the second time it's clear.
Simple basin near electrical outlet or
socket, window on the right is clear.
Simple makes, shabby chic lighting,
shadow layout, this is contemporary clear.

(Mathew Timmons' directions: Pick a design book. I chose Complete Bathroom Design. Pick sentences with the words 'simple' and 'clear.' Every other sentence should start with 'simple' and those corresponding should end with 'clear.')

I don't, generally, write with such restrictions. Mathew, thanks for the exercise! I'm enjoying the pull, more to come.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

poem by Larry Sawyer

There is no more
time, unless we can
gather what was lost
in the beginning.
Can we remember what
was supposed to happen?
Can we unlearn what
doesn't make sense and
insert the things that
will allow us to live?

-- written on Oct. 4, 2009 at Myopic Books, during "Chinese Whispers"

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Chinese Whispers" at Myopic Books (10/4/2009)

& & & & &

“Chinese Whispers” featured a “poetry and art by telephone” game with poetry, at Myopic Books on Sunday, October 34, 2009. This event was part of the poetry series at Myopic Books which is curated by Larry Sawyer. It was also part of the Fourth Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival.

This event was in homage -- in part -- to the "Art by Telephone" event which happened at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in 1969. (And that event 40 years ago was inspired by Bauhaus artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.) “Chinese Whispers” included directions which involved chance operations, surrealist games, Oulipo strategies, and other elements. Out-of-town directions came from Lisa Hemminger (San Diego), Jesse Seldess (Karlsruhe, Germany), Billie Maciunas (Orlando), Christopher Welch (Washington, DC), David Harrison Horton (Beijing), Mathew Timmons (Los Angeles), and Chad Lietz (Oakland). Chicago poets included Jamie Kazay, Larry Sawyer, Jennifer Karmin, Dan Godston, Gene Tanta, and Kevin Kilroy.

You can listen to the following audio excerpts from "Chinese Whispers" by clicking on the following links:
* collaboration between David Harrison Horton, Chad Lietz, and Kevin Kilroy / (directions given by David and Chad / received by Kevin)
* collaboration between Billie Maciunas and Gene Tanta (reading by Billie / transcription by Gene)
* collaboration between Lisa Hemminger and Jennifer Karmin (directions from Lisa / followed by Jennifer)
* collaboration between Jesse Seldess, Jennifer Karmin, and Dan Godston (directions by Jesse / followed by Jennifer and Dan)
* collaboration between Christopher Welch and Dan Godston
* collaboration between Jamie Kazay and Mathew Timmons
* Jennifer Karmin's poem
* Kevin Kilroy's poem
* Larry Sawyer's poem
* Gene Tanta's poem

Kevin Killian writing, while directions come from David Harrison Horton (Beijing) and Chad Lietz (Oakland, CA)

Jennifer Karmin collaborating with Lisa Hemminger

Gene Tanta transcribing what Billie Maciunas, with Larry Sawyer

lines which Gene Tanta typed, while Billie Maciunas was reading from her memoir

Soon more examples of “Chinese Whispers” experiments / collaborations will be posted on this blog. Video and photos will also be uploaded, as well as links to audio. We will also include info on this blog about more upcoming Chinese Whisper Project events.