28.01.15 – 01.02.15
Wednesday – Friday 12-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm
KYMMATA: The gods for playmates challenges the ethereal dynamic that exists between artists and their practice. The project explores the unique idolatry formulated around the work that is produced and alludes to how the artwork itself can be seen to take on a personality, form and character. The theme also explores the idea of creative playfulness between ‘creator’ and ‘subject’, sculpting the amorphous clay of inquiry and rustling the leaves of one’s internal wilderness.
KYMMATA: The gods for playmates formulates an opening for contemporary artists of sound, dance, musical/spoken word and activistic persuasions to collectively channel the processes and relationships they have with their muses. O3 Gallery will function as a hub and platform for this excursion into the oeuvre of creative dialoguing that will be showcased in a three day performance and installation based exhibition.
‘The gods for playmates’, is a phrase appropriated from the poem ‘Crow’s Playmates’ by Ted Hughes, which is originally part of a larger collection called ‘Crow’.
Taking its name from the Greek word for waves, Kymmata is a five day exhibition of installation, artwork and performanaces. Curated by Lex Blintzios, a recent graduate of Oxford Brookes University’s MA in Contemporary Arts & Music, the project’s aim is to provide the viewer with a spectrum of sound and motion experience that ranges from the recognisable to the abstracted.
Read the press release here
Lee Riley is a sound artist based in Oxford. He enjoys making sounds and things that make sound, some noisy and others not so noisy. His work explores ways of not just hearing sound, but seeing it from unique perspectives formed in installation, performance and improvisation. He has recently installed works and performed at Fringe Arts Bath Festival (FaB14) and at OCM Open 2013 (Oxford Contemporary Music) at the Pegasus Theatre. He has played in various venues across the UK - including pubs, clubs, empty shops, a basement, living rooms, a chapel, an office complex, a warehouse, a library, theatres and gallery spaces.
Riley’s “un” is a photographic installation and an open graphic score. It focuses on the un-noticed shadows of our everyday life and un-heard sounds through improvisation and movement. Throughout the KYMMATA project, musicians and dancers are invited to express their sounds and movements conveyed from his images.
Macarena Ortuzar is a dancer born in Chile who has lived in the Oxfordshire countryside for the past seven years. She has shown her work as a solo dance performer in New York, Houston, Italy, Chile, and Japan. Currently in the UK as part of MUE: a collaboration of dance, sound and light; based in Oxford since 2010. One of the most influential experiences from her studies and residence in the countryside of Japan was at the Body Weather Farm led by well-known dance maker Min Tanaka and as a member of his dance troupe Tokason and her recent training in California with Shinichi and Dana Iova-Koga. After more than 20 years of dance and searching for languages of expression of the body and the performer, she has now developed her own approach, primarily by the research of improvisational Butoh dance based on the physical and sensorial exploration of body and her attempt to make “Dance as an Experience” for the performer and for the audience/space.
'Aliunde' is a new collaboration of improvised sound and dance. Lee Riley - Guitar and Electronics, Macarena Ortuzar – Dance
Martin has a background in graphic design and the visual arts. His current practice is based on sound, both in isolation and combined with visual media and performance. He works with sound as an acoustic process, occurring through time, and as an occupier of space. This reflects his interest in temporal and spatial boundaries that paradoxically both separate and join together. He has created and performed sound works using recorded natural sounds, electronically transformed sounds, and his own self-designed instrument, the Aionophone. The coast, as a liminal place where sky, water and land meet and inter-penetrate, holds a particular fascination for him. He moved to Margate in Kent in 2013 to pursue his fascination with the coast and its sounds, and to work collaboratively with members of Margate's growing community of artists.
'Crow Sea' is the third in a series of video and sound works exploring the coastal environment and hinterland of The Isle of Thanet, following 'Horizons' and 'Sand on Sand'. Tidal forces shape and reshape the land, building and obliterating on both macroscopic and microscopic levels, over millennia and minutes, while crows and gulls forage and observe.
Craig Green’s current practice centres on story telling and how one can change one perception of a story by the destroying and reconstructing of various forms, transforming in order to create new meaning and new spaces. Interested in semiotics, surrealism, the dissemination of information as a primary objective of filmic discourse and narrative form in art-specific film, Green questions the value of the narrative and explores how (through filmic processes and auditory processes) narrative can be manipulated.
Green intends to do a live performance, breaking down a narration of a story until it becomes saturated and transformed into a soundscape. Similar to Lucier's, he will be sitting in a room, but a subjective variation where he’s in complete control of what’s happening to the audio.
For the past year Peta Lloyd has been working with a sidekick and silent partner - a large cardboard box. In 'Spin', their latest collaboration, they pirouette together whilst describing the action.
'Spin': Box sits in a mechanism whereby you can make it spin from the inside. Other work involves building structures with plastic glasses which make up a text and then knocking them down.
As a poet studying Buddhist insight meditation, Abolins is interested in Gaston Bachelard's idea that 'imagination is the faculty of deforming the images offered by perception'. If insight meditation could be considered such a de-formation of perception and imagination is the known territory of the poet, then perhaps her work can be explained as the interplay between these practices.
In mediation between the visible and invisible aspects of being, a historically imagined human finds she is open to being informed by the extra human agent of imagination. Sudden openings impel dictation and clarify experience with poetic images, or formulate in apparent response or indication of something (to be) lived. This collection of poems is a set of artifacts from an adventure in this type of liminality, it is the result of truly lived experience but it can also be described as weird in the root sense of the word meaning 'that which comes'.
Stavroula Kounadea is a performing artist and theatre maker. Her diverse career of the last 15 years ranges from repertoire theatre, film and television to devised theatre, contemporary performance and live art. She is known for her distinct use of fictional characters and made-up theories. Stavroula draws inspiration from areas like philosophy, ancient rituals and mythologies, scientific discoveries and popular culture. When not on the stage she can be found teaching Music Theatre and leading Contemporary Performance workshops at Oxford Brookes University, as well as running the bimonthly artist-led platform Playground. She is also the vocalist of the Oxford based avant-rock band Nonstop Tango.
JOHN CAGE AND TEENY DUCHAMP PLAY CHESS IN FRONT OF A LIVE AUDIENCE
A work of aesthetic mourning in 64 acts by Austin Sherlaw-Johnson and Stavroula Kounadea
The piece uses, as its starting point, John Cage’s Reunion of 1968 in which Cage played chess with Marcel Duchamp and Duchamp’s wife, Teeny, in front of a live audience; the board wired for sound. Incorporating elements of drama, music, sound art, film, opera, visual art and dance the piece quickly expands, spiraling outwards to bring in a variety of different, contrasting influences: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Happenings (the art events), Wagner's Parsifal, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Samuel Beckett, Barbra Streisand, Luciano Berio and screwball comedy, to name but a few. The piece is direct, challenging, accessible, lively and provocative, it can be variously misinterpreted as a nostalgic re-appropriation of the traditional avant-garde or a subversive commentary on the contemporary arts of today.
John Harries (Lake Dysmal)
Lake Dysmal is the electronic music alias of John Harries, lecturer in Popular Music at Goldsmiths, University of London and inveterate noise maker in many and varied contexts (Rutger Hauser, Sleeps in Oysters). Previous performances and installation works have been presented by NX Records and Canvas Curates in London and The Ashmolean in Oxford.
Artist - Lake Dysmal
Title - Roland Sound Canvas SC-155/Yamaha DD-10
A set of new original music which uses only the sounds of an antiquated General MIDI sound module and a toy/domestic Yamaha drum machine from the '90s. Dysmal’s intention was to appropriate and repurpose these outmoded and unattractive sounds into a new electronic aesthetic. Musically, the work draws equally on dense and dark techno and dissonant contemporary composition. He see it as connecting to the theme in a couple of ways:
1) It's a rebuke to the techy gear-idolatry that dogs contemporary electronic music, asserting that technology is the malleable clay this music is made from, not a governing factor for better or worse.
2) Its dependent on the master/slave functionality of old fashioned Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) connections. As composer and performer, Dysmal controls events from a computer, but sounds themselves are generated externally by hardware instruments. He tries to make a virtue here of the sense of remove, the absence of human 'touch', that has historically been seen as a shortcoming of electronic music.
Alex Allmont primarily works with audio/kinetic pieces to develop playful ways of exploring sound and music. He has exhibited a number of LEGO pieces that mechanise slow hypnotic scores. These are geared for a broad contemporary arts audience in an attempt to balance attention with immersion. Alex has presented at Wired, Bleep, AudioGraft, Music Tech Fest and BEAM.
All Work and No Play
Crafted from LEGO by a disillusioned child, All Work and No Play churns out mechanised drone music in its own audio microcosm. This motorised machine slowly pulls and prods an analogue synthesiser whilst tweaking guitar effects to layer shifting tones in chorus. Although they are tired of play, perhaps tired of their world, somewhere deep down beautiful music rings through.
Stuart Fowkes is a sound artist and musician from Oxford, UK. From a background of ten years using field recordings to give context to musical composition, he is now the creator and curator of Cities and Memory, a global collaborative sound project that aims to remix the world one sound at a time, by mapping both the real and imagined sounds of the world. He has performed in bands including Listing Ships and Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element, has collaborated with Can's Damo Suzuki, has released six albums and performed at festivals including Truck, Supernormal and the OCM Open as well as at the London Palladium. An album of the recent Cities and Memory Hamburg project, entitled Erinnerungen an eine Stadt, was released in December 2014 on German label Mobius Spin. He is heavily involved with arts and music in the city of Oxford, and is a trustee of Oxford Contemporary Music.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Cities and Memory is a global field recording & sound art work that presents both the present reality of a place, but also its imagined, alternative counterpart – remixing the world, one sound at a time.
Every faithful field recording document on the sound map is accompanied by a reworking, a processing or an interpretation that imagines that place and time as somewhere else, somewhere new. The listener can choose to explore locations through their actual sounds, or explore interpretations of what those places could be – or to flip between the two different sound worlds at leisure.
There are currently more than 350 sounds featured on the sound map, spread over 23 countries – with 60 contributors from all over the world. The sounds cover parts of the world as diverse as the hubbub of San Francisco’s main station, traditional fishing women’s songs in Lake Turkana, the sound of computer data centres in Birmingham, spiritual temple chanting in New Taipei City or the hum of the vaporetto engines in Venice.
Cities and Memory takes its name and original inspiration from Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, which explores how people can experience the same place in dramatically different ways.
“As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of [the city] as it is today should contain all [the city’s] past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.” - Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities.
Tim Chatzigiannis is a Greek composer/sound artist based in Oxford. In 2005 he completed a BA in Music at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and in 2007 he completed an MA in Composition and Sonic Art at Oxford Brookes University, where he is currently undertaking a PhD study entitled Aural Evolutions: Intersections of Sound with the Physical Space. Tim is producing compositions and sound installations that use the phenomenology and physics of sound in order to explore the meeting points of sound with the physical space. He is also active in the composition and performance of electroacoustic music and his main interests are real-time audio processing and programming new audio-visual performance interfaces. His work has been performed and exhibited in UK, Greece, Germany, Holland and Brazil.
Maybe I should be listening (2014)
Live electroacoustic improvisation
Hearing and vision are two senses that sometimes counteract each other: visual stimuli occurring at the same time we are auditing a sound can affect our perception of this sound. The direction our eyes are looking at, for example, can affect our perceived directionality of the sound. The starting point of this piece is the practice of Acousmatics: the observation of a sonic event without knowing what caused this event. This practice dates back to Pythagoras, who for five years was teaching his disciples while he was hidden behind a curtain so that they focus on the sound of his voice.
In contemporary pop culture, the visual appearance of the music performer became more important than music itself. Ever since the late 70’s mainstream pop music was gradually simplified, while hairstyles and stage sets have become more elaborate shifting focus away from the actual music. This piece goes against this approach and removes the music performer from the musical narrative, subtracting the visual element of the musician from music performance. The aim is that the audience will focus on the sound, and the sonic narrative, rather than trying to see how the sounds are produced.
Are an eclectic bunch. The exposition of free improvisation methods, allows each participant to bring their own tapestry of musical heritage and persuasions to bear. What we all have in common is an enjoyment of creative music making in the moment.
When My Grandfather was a Fish
When My Grandfather was a Fish is a dance group formed by Paola Esposito, Flavia Coube and Malcolm Atkins in May 2014 during the Bath Fringe Arts Festival where they performed at the invitation of CARU. Ana Barbour has since joined the group. The name, inspired by a short story in Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics, was originally the title of their first performance, exploring human-animal evolutive boundaries and seeking to evoke primordial atmospheres through movement and sound.
When My Grandfather was a Fish aim to use butoh technique to reclaim and revision the everyday. They are currently drawn to the use of text and are working on interpreting the poetry of Mohan Rana whom they met in Bath and began working with last year, interpreting the text of his poems through the dynamic interplay of sound and movement. When My Grandfather was a Fish do not seek to recite the poems, except to give a benchmark for their interpretations, but to explore the resonance that different art forms can give them – away from the printed page or formal recital. Malcolm is also creating studio recordings of musical interpretations of Mohan’s work in parallel to the live performance and these are available at Words and Music.