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2020 Roulette Commissioned Artist Muyassar Kurdi presents Vast Geographies— a ritual exploring ecology, movement in stillness, walking, embodiment, and sound as liquid architecture. It is a meditation on traveling and awareness through movement where there are no borders—only boundless geographies in a sea of graphic scores and earthly materials. Opening with the sensual and urgent short dance film Vast Geographies, variation 3 (16mm to digital) directed by Kurdi and performed by Eryka Dellenbach, the screening will be followed by a concert with Luke Stewart on bass and Kurdi on voice and electronics. The works in total present a cinematic and interdisciplinary performance centered on presence and space.
Vast Geographies, variation 3 (16mm to digital) directed by Muyassar Kurdi, performed by Eryka Dellenbach
Luke Stewart—upright bass
Muyassar Kurdi—voice, electronics
Muyassar Kurdi (b. 1989 in Chicago) is a New York City-based interdisciplinary artist. Her work encompasses sound art, extended vocal technique, performance art, movement, analog photography, and film. She has toured extensively in the U.S. and throughout Europe. She currently focuses her attention to interweaving homemade electronic instruments into her vocal and movement performances, stirring a plethora of emotions from her audience members through vicious noise, ritualistic chants, and meditative movements. Recent projects include: SEVEN VOICES, a multichannel project for seven voices, which was recorded during her artist residency at EMS in Stockholm February 2018. She also released Travelling on NORENT Records, Intersections and Variations on Astral Spirits in early 2018, and Voice Games, a duo with Ka Baird, on Astral Spirit Records February 2020. Publications include KunstMuzik Journal (2018) and Array Journal: Gender and Sound Technology (2018). Recent artist residencies include: Harvestworks 2020 for the development of Brain Works as well as The Watermill Center Spring 2020 with Lucie Vítková and OPERA ensemble. Performance highlights include: The Rubin Museum of Art, Issue Project Room, Cafe OTO, Chicago Cultural Center, Center for Contemporary Art Laznia, Bond Chapel, Fridman Gallery, University Galleries, Zaratan – Arte Contemporânea, and Judson Memorial Church as well as exhibitions and film screenings (solo and group works) at VIERTE WELT, Trieze Gallery, Knockdown Center, Queens Museum, Spectacle Theatre, and Anthology Film Archives. Kurdi’s 16mm dance film Travelling was an OFFICIAL SELECTION for the BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Fest – Chicago in October 2018. Kurdi has collaborated with composers Yasuno Miyauchi, Ka Baird, Arrington de Dionyso, Daniel Carter, Tomomi Adachi, Diana Policarpo, Lucie Vítková, Bradley Eros, Laraaji, Patrick Holmes, and Ben LaMar among others.
Luke Stewart is a DC/NYC-based musician and organizer of important musical presentations. He also has a presence in the national and international professional music community. He was profiled in The Washington Post in early 2017 as “holding down the jazz scene,” selected as “Best Musical Omnivore” in the Washington City Paper’s 2017 “Best of DC,” chosen as “Jazz Artist of the Year” for 2017 in the District Now, and in the 2014 People Issue of the Washington City Paper as a “Jazz Revolutionary,” citing his multi-faceted cultural activities throughout DC. In DC his regular ensembles include experimental jazz trio Heart of the Ghost, Low Ways Quartet featuring guitarist Anthony Pirog, and experimental rock duo Blacks’ Myths. As a solo artist, he has been compiling a series of improvisational sound structures for Upright Bass and Amplifier, utilizing the resonant qualities of the instrument to explore real-time harmonic and melodic possibilities. He has performed at many of Washington’s high-profile venues including the Kennedy Center, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, 9:30 Club, Black Cat, and many others throughout DC’s storied DIY community. Stewart is also a presence in the greater community of Creative Musicians, with regular multi-city ensembles including Irreversible Entanglements featuring Moor Mother, James Brandon Lewis Trio, Heroes are Gang Leaders, Ancestral Duo, and has performed in a myriad of other notable collaborations. He has been a featured artist at the Vision Festival, Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music, High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music, Fields Festival, Philadelphia Free Form Festival, Forward Festival, Furious Flower Poetry Festival, and has toured abroad at North Sea Jazz Festival, Toulouse Jazz Festival, Vitoria Jazz Festival, Belgrade Jazz Festival, and Rotterdam Jazz Festival. As a scholar/performer, he has performed and lectured at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Medgar Evers College, George Mason University, Wayne State University, University of Montana, New Mexico State University, and the University of South Carolina. He holds a BA in International Studies and a BA in Audio Production from American University, and an MA in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship from the New School.
Vast Geographies, by Muyassar Kurdi, was commissioned by Roulette, made possible with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation. This performance is presented through Roulette’s GENERATE program, providing over 30 artists each year with in-depth creative and technical support.