ALVIN LUCIER :: MUSIC ON A LONG THIN WIRE, 1980

In Alvin Lucier’s own words (1992): “Music on a Long Thin Wire is constructed as follows: the wire is extended across a large room, clamped to tables at both ends. The ends of the wire are connected to the loudspeaker terminals of a power amplifier placed under one of the tables. A sine wave oscillator is connected to the amplifier. A magnet straddles the wire at one end. Wooden bridges are inserted under the wire at both ends to which contact microphones are imbedded, routed to a stereo sound system. The microphones pick up the vibrations that the wire imparts to the bridges and are sent through the playback system. By varying the frequency and loudness of the oscillator, a rich variety of slides, frequency shifts, audible beats and other sonic phenomena may be produced.” Continue reading ALVIN LUCIER :: MUSIC ON A LONG THIN WIRE, 1980

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THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

La Société du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same title. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical criticism of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society. Continue reading THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

GIACINTO SCELSI :: ANAHIT, for violin & 18 instruments

Scelsi subtitled this splendid work “Lyrical Poem on the Name of Venus,” “Anahit” being the ancient Egyptian name for the goddess Venus. The piece is a major work of Scelsi’s and among the most important works of the 1960s. It is basically a chamber-sized violin concerto, although the relationship of the soloist to the ensemble is anything but the one expected in a concerto. Instead of a dialogue between orchestra and soloist, every instrument is washed into an ever-shifting, incandescent color field. Each instrumental part is extremely difficult, the violin part is only more so because it plays through more of the 13-minute duration of the piece than the rest. Making the soloist’s life still more difficult, the instrument is re-tuned to G-G-B-D to give it a more intense and ethereally plaintive sound. Scelsi also notated the violin part in a special tablature, string by string, treating each string as a separate sound-making entity. Conversely, the entire ensemble is treated like a single instrument that Scelsi plays upon like some heavenly synthesizer. Throughout the piece, he has the violin tensely slide about in microtones, moving along a gradually ascending path, and nothing more. This severe restriction of material means that tremendous concentration is required of he soloist and the terrific tension involved in just holding on to the part comes through in performance. Around this core of diamond-thread, Scelsi pours the tremendous oceanic noise of the rest of the ensemble. The “solo” violin is quite often submerged in the sound, disappearing with the rest of the instrumental voices into the slow, wide-angle shriek of changing sound. Frequent cadential effects, usually underlined with orchestrational changes like an outburst of brass or shrill statements from the flutes, provide a sense of ebb and flow and a tasteful degree of formal definition. At around the eight-minute mark, there is a cadenza for violin solo that slyly creeps in while the supporting instruments gradually evaporate, a process that is repeated less fully in the very last passage. Anahit develops itself with an ascetic’s patience and doesn’t ever arrive at any kind of explosive climax. Instead, it hovers on the tentative edge of crisis, like a photograph of something hateful endlessly developing, out of which no clear image ever emerges. The pseudoscientific word “liminal” comes to mind: of or relating to a sensory threshold, barely perceptible, on the cusp of response. The beautiful tension of Anahit is partly the tension of a half-formed premonition and similar to the tension of having a lost word “on the tip of the tongue,” that slightly panicked mental grasping for something sensed and present, but unreachable. Unlike almost all of Scelsi’s music, some of which was not performed publicly until 30 years after its creation, Anahit was performed with Devy Erlih on violin a year after it was composed.  -DONATO MANCINI

 

COOLIES :: PULL THE TRIGGER

Coolies:: Pull The Trigger, from the album, Master.  released Oct 9, 2011.

Not to be confused with the early ’80s punk band The Coolies from Atlanta, Coolies hail from South Auckland, New Zealand.
The Coolies first got together in high school with a common love for the likes of Patti Smith, Bikini Kill and X-Ray Spex before moving to Auckland and establishing themselves with prominent support slots with the Beastie Boys, Cat Power and Rancid. The band then broke up, before reforming in 2002 to once again start playing shows with the likes of The Mint Chicks, as well as recording their debut self-titled album.
Continue reading COOLIES :: PULL THE TRIGGER

MICKALENE THOMAS interviewed by Alexander Benrimon, artnet, 2013

Video Notes:

Brooklyn-based Mickalene Thomas, well known for her rhinestone, enamel, and acrylic paintings, as well as her Blaxploitation-style portraits of black women, explores modern notions of beauty and sexuality, drawing heavily from pop culture and Pop Art. She received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in 2000, and earned an MFA from Yale University in 2002. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and The Renaissance Society in Chicago. The artist famously painted the first individual portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, which was shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. During the interview, Thomas discusses her experiences as an art student, how interiors factor into her works, how being a mother has affected her, and her various recent projects, such as her mural at the Barclays Center.