Musicians ‘caged’ in 24-hour art
Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010
Updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010New Brunswick’s Alfa Art Gallery celebrated its second anniversary Friday with a 24-hour-long event featuring artists, musicians and dancers.
The performance, entitled “The Caged Bird Sings,” continued into Saturday, where five musicians played improvised music through the night and day while sitting in cages.
Michael Durek, a musician inspired by Albert Einstein’s claim that everything in life is a vibration, created the event.
“For each performance, we had a dancer collaborate with an artist and a musician, and the three of them are responding together,” said Durek, who also was one of the night’s performers.
Durek said according to Einstein’s theory, everything in the universe emits a unique frequency, but those frequencies, or vibrations, do not exist in isolation. Each vibration affects and is affected by every other vibration, even across great distances.
“It just came to me, to have to build a cage and to improvise in it,” Durek said.
The event, located at 108 Church St., began with dancers responding to the artists’ works while a musician played a composition written for the art.
There were six performances, each with a dancer interacting with a different artist’s work. Following the performances, the improvisational marathon began.
“It’s not something composed and rounded. The music to my ears seems very incoherent, but it’s interesting to see how it’s being produced … I’m interested in how they respond to each other and the flow,” said Leon Laureij, a Highland Park resident.
Michiko Mull, the museum’s curator, said the museum had an experimental, interdisciplinary approach to art, therefore Durek’s concept for the event was perfect.
One of the artists was Michelle Provenzano, whose shadow art was used in one of the dances, performed by Carla Menchinella.
“I made my shadow on this piece of satin and I gave it to Carla, hoping she would do something with care, but I didn’t have any idea what she was going to do,” Provenzano said. “It was interesting that she chose to wrap herself up in it and really related to it as a floor shadow, when, in fact, when I made it, I projected myself against a wall.”
Provenzano is also interested in thinking of shadows as physical objects as opposed to a light phenomenon.
“It’s kind of like she’s picking up my body,” she said.
Eric Clausen, another artist at the event, presented interactive art and sculptures that reflected the “aquatic ape hypothesis,” an alternate theory of evolution that proposes early primates developed in an aquatic environment.
“There’s no scientific evidence for it whatsoever, but it’s a nice theory. I kind of want to believe in it,” Clausen said.
Clausen said one could interpret his art as being about certainty, faith or the difference between belief and rationality.
Neither Clausen nor Provenzano had participated in an interdisciplinary event like this before, but both said they were excited to do so.
“What’s really exciting is the collaborative improvisational aspects of musicians, dancers and artists working together. It’s inspiring and makes me want to do more collaborative works,” Provenzano said.
The organization of the event, from the musical interactions to the minimalist cage for the musicians, was a new experience, she said.
“Coming from a visual arts background, to participate in a show that was organized by a musician has been a really interesting experience because he’s coming at it from a musician’s point of view,” Provenzano said.
Other featured artists in the exhibition include Sarah Granett, who created a spandex fabric sculpture, and Ian Trask, whose recycled cardboard sculptures are on display.
Provenzano also has three drawings and a watercolor painting displayed.
“I like that it’s a series of installations,” said Mike Dunican, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “I like that there are a lot of people here, and a lot of people from town, not just college students — that’s awesome.”
All of the art in the exhibition will be on display until Feb. 17.
"The Caged Bird Sings"
6 Musicians. 24 Hours. ONE Vibration."The Caged Bird Sings" is a multimedia performance, 24-hour musical improvisation, and 3-week exhibition beginning on Friday January 29th at 7:30pm. It will take place at Alfa-Art Gallery in New Brunswick, New Jersey in celebration of the gallery's 2nd year Anniversary.The project was conjured up by Michael Durek, an experimental musician from Colonia. He conceived of The Caged Bird Sings in the spirit of Einstein's realization that "Everything in life is vibration". A six-celled cage will be constructed inside the gallery. Six musicians, each in their own cell, will remain inside the cage with their instruments and improvise continuously for 24 hours. The opening will run continuously from 7:30pm on January 29th, to 7:30pm on January 30th. Throughout the performance, live video feeds from within each of the cells will be broadcast online. Visit http://www.alfaart.org to view the performance.
The musicians involved will be Robert L. Pepper and Amber Brien of Brooklyn-based experimental music group PAS, Dave Tamura of The Jazz Fakers, Tsubasa Berg, and Durek himself. According to Durek, the 24 hour musical improvisation mirrors the continuous and possibly choice-less vibrational communication that exists between different forms in the universe.
The gallery will also be transformed by six artists. Contributors include Rutgers MFA graduates Anne Percoco, Sarah Granett, Eric Clausen, and Michelle Provenzano, Rutgers BFA student Daniel Pillis, and artist Ian Trask. Each artist will collaborate with a musician and a choreographer to create an interdisciplinary show that will kick off the improvisation on January 29th. Choreographers and dancers will include Laura McComb and Jilliana Richcrick of And Dancers, Nicole Mahncke and Michelle Puskas of The Nikki Manx Dance Project, Carla Menchinella, Emily Pope-Blackman of HoverBound, and Ann Peters. The cage design was influenced strongly by the ideas of artist James Tuite. The cage construction was led by Mercedes Bradley, and aided by Anne Percoco. The exhibition, facilitated by the gallery's curator Michiko Mull, will run until February 17th. The gallery is located at 108 Church Street, in New Brunswick NJ. Visit http://www.alfaart.org for more details.
I was going to take easy it in November, but have been performing a lot. I have gigabytes of files to sort through and edit, recording dates scheduled, networking and licensing things to sort through. I've decided that after the New Hampshire Copesetic show on Dec. 5th, I'm not going to accept any shows. Maybe one Copesetic or PAS show if it looks favorable.
Nothing from Cloudcloud until January.
Performing is fun, but as most of you know, it takes energy away from regeneration and mixing and percolating. I have cloud cloud tracks that PAS and may help touch up, Dave Tamura's genre smashing recording, and a tune or two that I've been wanting to get together for Copesetic. That's on the music itinerary.
Time with my family and friends. Checking out my friends' shows (something I don't have the energy to do when I'm out a lot!) It's funny I was born an introvert, and I LOVE meeting you people and playing shows, but I have a limit that is perhaps lower than some folks. After a certain amount of times out I prefer to retreat to my shell and watch the earth spin round, and be still enough to let new ideas manifest.
Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it. We'll see if I can keep to it lol.
"To have all, give all to all"
-From "A Course In Miracles"
Well my friends and family must have all, because they've given me the world. Thank you so much for everything. I hope you all have as much to be thankful for as I do this winter. If not, I hope blessings come to you in your haze, and light illuminates your darkened cave.
Here's something silly, Me vs. Brandstifter, with Jon Worthley on the bell. Video courtesy of PAS
Michael Durek Vs Brandstifter at Goodbye Blue Monday 11-7-2009
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