In the annals of electronic music performance – movement, lighting, and video have been often given supporting roles. Occasionally the gimmick, the visual representation of a new bit of technology or newly imagined way to interface with a computer, even merely a side effect of the music being created. Yet as we further approach the total ubiquity of personal technologies, artists are finding new spaces to experiment with these mediums, where the interaction between them is often where the substance lies.
Mixology 2015 presents a selection of artists working in these grey areas: choreographer Dana Bell’s live dancers mirrored in video projections and vice versa, Doron Sadja and his immersive color and light explorations, the YAMS collective traversing multitudes of mediums through the voices of 38 artists, Uumans dance/video/POV explorations, and Mark Fell’s monolithic deconstruction of “dance” music and live performance.
February 19th, 2015
Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera
HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? is an evolving collective of multi-disciplinary artists of the African diaspora who have lived and worked together, in various iterations, over the past twenty years. The name, which spells out “How Do You Say Yam in African?” plays on the fact that the yam is a common root in various African cuisines and that, of course, there is no such language as “African”—an irony the collective’s members embrace.
A multipart film that reimagines the traditional opera to pose a central question: “What happens to the black body when it is haunted by a ‘blackness’ outside of it?” The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto (written by poet Dawn Lundy Martin) continually goes back to this question, exploring the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent.
The narrative of the opera is abstracted, ultimately extending into an imagined future in which the self is not a static entity, but rather dissolves into ever-evolving multiplicities that resist a single, label. This dissolution of self is reflected in the original music recorded in the collective’s studio and in the highly layered, sculptural sets located in and around New York City, each of which reflect projections of the sets used in other sections of the film in order to create a confusion of linear time and space.
Curated by Matt Mehlan