Roulette catches up with residency artist Lucie Vítková for a quick Q+A.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a composer, performer and improviser of accordion, Japanese hichiriki, synthesizer, harmonica, voice, and dance, originally from the Czech Republic. My work consists of broad range of activities and activisms. I like to explore a perception of everyday life through musical analysis and analyze music through the lens of social relationships. In the past years, I have been focusing on the environment as a new way to educate myself in music. I have been transcribing sounds of environments into scores, and that way following and absorbing its aesthetics. I have worked musically on cityscapes, domestic space, and on sounds of things, especially researching trash. I have traveled and moved a lot, studying in Brno in the Czech Republic, The Hague in the Netherlands, CalArts in Valencia, Berlin, and New York.
Describe the project you are developing for Roulette.
A year and a half ago, I began to play in the Japanese Gagaku Ensemble at Columbia University. This summer I was chosen for the master / protégé residency in Tokyo, which was transformative for me. In the Gagaku Ensemble, I play Japanese hichiriki, a straightforward double reed instrument, which has became one of my solo instruments. For my upcoming project at Roulette, I decided to devote my musical research to the hichiriki, and I am preparing an evening of pieces related to this instrument. In those pieces, I am merging the construction and physicality of the hichiriki, habits around its use and making, and Japanese Gagaku notation with research on ethnomusicological methodology, the influence of continuity and discontinuity in Michael Jackson’s work, my environmental performance practice, dance, and accordion playing. I am preparing scores for lights, choreographies for sounds, scenes focused on things, and playing with water and wind.
What is the best way to spend an afternoon in New York City?
I live in Washington Heights and I love to go to Fort Tryon Park, which is just a 15 minute walk from my place. With that little botanical garden right at the entrance and stunning views, sometimes it feels like a very luxurious backyard. There seems to be a lot of people that have a similar relationship with that place. It’s a common thing to do, even if we don’t really talk or engage — just being in that space together brings a peaceful experience.
What is influencing your work right now?
Classes at Columbia University such as Music, Memory and Migration of ethnomusicologist Alessandra Ciucci and the Ecofeminism class of Branka Arsić, my involvement in Japanese and Raaga Ensembles, and working with my NYC Constellation Ensemble.
How did your interest in your work begin?
Probably when I was four and began to take dance and piano lessons, or listening to my mom and uncle playing guitars by the fireplace, or my father introducing me to The Wall by Pink Floyd at a very early age.
Lucie Vítková performs Spectacle as part of Roulette’s artist-in-residency program on January 27, 2018. Tickets + Info