The 1980s in San Francisco was fertile ground for a new type of theater, involving not only performance art but graphics, sculptural artists and musicians. Some astonishing productions were staged every year, each being a collaboration between the various disciplines. After each show had its run it dissolved into memory as only through those specific contributors could the production be realized. This was different than a standard play which existed on paper and could be performed ad infinitum by any number of theater companies. These "multi-media" shows existed only as long as the collaborators worked together. One sensed a specialness to each production, knowing that it would most likely never be staged again. [more inside]
20+ drones; 16,500 LEDs; 3 shamisen players; 1 Mt. Fuji: Filmmaker Tsuyoshi Takashiro orchestrates a performance combining drones and the Oyamakai shamisen ensemble.
Fulfilling the performance-art vision of her spirit-muse Emily, Esperanza Spalding played the music of her forthcoming album Emily's D+Evolution in concert at BRIC House in Brooklyn, N.Y. [1h3m video] on Thursday, March 3. WFUV and NPR Music presented a live video webstream of the performance as part of the First Listen Live series. [more inside]
Exhibit B is a performance art piece by white South African Brett Bailey. The piece features black actors in still images depicting scenes of slavery and as asylum seekers in living installations that recall the human zoos (previously) of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The piece has been highly controversial, it has attracted significant critical acclaim, being described by art critics as unbearable and essential and "hugely powerful, deeply unsettling, but vital viewing". [more inside]
Artist Walks A Cabbage In Public To Question How Society Value Things In a project that started since year 2000, Chinese artist Han Bing has documented a series of photographs that see him walking a cabbage on a leash in public.
How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
Multimedia artist Shigeyuki Kihara created Siva in Motion (SLYT), an entrancing exploration of taualuga, a Samoan type of dance. [more inside]
In 1952 Malaya, cabaret dancer Rose Chan's bra snapped on stage. Noticing the enthusiastic response from the audience, she decided to capitalise on this, and transformed herself into Malaysia's first (and so far only) Queen of Striptease. (Many of these links have NSFW pictures) [more inside]
Is perfume art? Could it be? Or is it something else: a craft, a commercial product, an ornament, a luxury, a prosthetic, an aphrodisiac, a love letter, a prayer, a con? Why does it matter?[more inside]
“We did our first show in a bar...all of a sudden, the whole room was quiet. And then we got everyone to sit on the floor cross-legged to watch our crankies.” [more inside]
Marina Abramović is a performance artist, who in 2010 performed The Artist is Present - sharing a minute of silence with each spectator that wished to. Over the 736 hour performance, hundreds of people sat across from her quietly. Marina had shared a passionate and tempestuous relationship with Uwe Laysiepen, with the relationship ending when they each starting walking from from one end of the Great Wall of China, met in the middle, shared a hug and left - never expecting to speak again. 20 years after that hug, Ulay attended the opening night of her performance without her knowing. This is their moment.
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
Visual artist Nick Cave (not of The Bad Seeds) worked together for months with students across various departments of the University of North Texas to present Heard, a visual and musical burst of vibrancy based on Cave's childhood experiences of colouring in horses and being told by his mother: "It doesn’t matter if it’s pink. If he wants it to be pink, it can be pink.". And not just pink, even.
Cello Fortress is a unique combination of a game and a live music performance. A cellist defends a fortress by improvising on his cello. Melodies control the guns, dissonant notes activate the flamethrowers. Players from the audience use game controllers to steer their tanks and attack the fortress. The cellist plays live music, while at the same time controlling the game to be a fun challenge for the players. Cello Fortress is an innovative experiment that blends concert and game.
Shakespeare: Globe to Globe was a series of 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 37 different languages presented at the reconstructed Shakespeare Globe theatre in London this summer. [more inside]
Nick Cave's Soundsuits: Calling up echoes of wild beasts, Carnival dancers, maskers and shamans, the "soundsuits" made of a wild diversity of materials by visual artist and dancer Nick Cave have life beyond the gallery. They're designed to be used in performances and 'invasions,' creating a sense of mystery, playfulness and joyful moments of community.
Wendy Melvoin is fresh from high school. She is a wearing a V-necked sleeveless top, and patterned shorts. She is playing the first chords of a new song on her purple guitar, opening chords that she wrote, a circular motif with a chorus effect. Wendy is nineteen and she has the high cheekbones and diffident confidence of a Hollywood upbringing. She half-smiles at the faces that crowd close to the low club stage. This is Wendy’s first gig with the new band, and the song she is playing is “Purple Rain,” and nobody in the audience has ever heard “Purple Rain” before because this is the night that Prince and the Revolution record the song.
There comes a time in the musical lives of some guitar players when six strings just won't get the job done. They need seven. Or eight. Or nine. Or ten. Or eleven. Or twelve. Or eighteen. [more inside]
Olivier DE SAGAZAN usually puts paint and clay on himself, and sometimes hardly seems human. Often monstrous, sometimes disturbing, you may find it beautiful.
Double helix stairs allow for performers on one stair and audience on the other, letting the two intertwine but never come into direct contact as the stairs wind up the tower. An eight-story structure built on the grounds of Oliver Ranch in Sonoma, designed by Anne Hamilton. [more inside]
Slam poet Marshall Soulful Jones performs "Touchscreen".
"Things didn’t happen as I imagined. On the one hand, with the situation in Tehran, I expected the police to arrest me. I also thought that the resulting dress wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. But it turned out to be more homogenous than I envisaged. Most of the passengers wanted to communicate with me and participate in the project. And I enjoyed this attention and collaboration. The point wasn’t their understanding of the project. I didn’t want anything to be imposed on the audience or participants. I wanted ordinary people to encounter their own personalities without any preconceptions about contemporary art. More than anything, I wanted something to emerge that is shared — between me and everyday metro passengers." The story of fashion student Shirin Abedinirad who conceived and carried out an unusual (and unusually bold) performance art experiment by asking Tehran metro passengers to donate their rubbish to pin on her dress. [more inside]
Christine Sun Kim is a performance artist working in the realm of sound. She makes beautiful messes. She's also deaf. Todd Selby is a photographer. He's made a film about her. [more inside]
What is the only professional, modern dance company to grow directly out of a college modern dance class? ... What is the only professional modern dance company directed by not a singular choreographer, but rather a group collaboration, using improvisational techniques? The answer to... those questions is the world famous dance company, Pilobolus. (links nsfw - previously) [more inside]
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth
Style Like U features an exhaustive video archive of people talking about their clothes and history and what personal style means to them and the power of self transformation. [more inside]
"Punk-artist-anthropologist Cameron Jamie has made three documentaries on violence; I’ve read about them all and seen just this one." The author speaks of "Kranky Klaus," LA-born artist Jamie's peek into the Austrian folkloric character Krampus, a sort of photo-negative of Santa Claus who comes on Christmas to punish bad children. [more inside]
Walking Home: stories from the desert to the Great Lakes. Laura Milkins is walking home. Home is Grand Rapids, Michigan. Laura lives in Tucson, Arizona. That's 2,000 miles (3,219 km), or about 4,473,976 steps. Right now she's in the shoulder of the road somewhere around Holbrook, Arizona. She has a pack on her back, a webcam streaming 24 hours strapped to a sun visor on her head, and hopefully, a place to stay tonight. You can follow her every step of the way, by watching live video broadcast from her hat. Or walk with her. [more inside]
A videotaped performance art piece called "Interior Semiotics" (NWS) has become a meme due to its explicit content. Rhizome explains, and speaks with the artist about her intent with the work, the hipster audience getting so much derision, and what it's like to have her work scrutinized by 4chan. NWS for pretty much all links. [more inside]
Who is Joe Wall? Why he's an author and ambient electronic musician who works in a clock tower and loves to sing. But most Mefites know him as sonascope, author of many vast and beloved comments. His touching 2004 show, My Fairy Godmothers Smoke Too Much, is available free and complete online. [more inside]
Artist Georgia Sagri says she wasn't there and maybe performer Ann Liv Young wasn't either. [both links nsfw] [more inside]
Welcome to Culturebot, a NYC-based website all about performing arts and culture locally, nationally and around the globe. Culturebot.org is a multidisciplinary, contemporary arts + culture blog, launched in December 2003. Based in NYC we cover contemporary cultural news, events and ideas from NYC and around the world. Culturebot was envisioned and created by founding editor Andy Horwitz. It was initially made possible from a grant to Performance Space 122 by the National Performance Network. [more inside]
Violins + Dance = LXD The LXD (the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) electrify the TED2010 stage with an emerging global street-dance culture, revved up by the Internet. SYTYCD
Hoops, bellydance, circus, burlesque, fire, LEDs, staff, rainbows - what else could you fit in one performance? (SL
A digital clock made of wood and operated by 70 workers for one continuous 24-hour period. "Even though the workers are trying hard to construct every single minute, they are constantly on the verge of failing."
Jaap Blonk, Namesake of the blonkorgan, performer, sound poet. AaaaaAAAøøøøøøøøøAEEEeeeiiiIIIIIiiiüüüüüüüüüüieeeeooooOUUUUUooooooo. [more inside]
Artist Momoyo Torimitsu: sculptor, performer, illustrator, installation artist. Not interested in being cute. (Discovered via The Rumpus.)
Felix's Machines look like someone took a sledgehammer to a player piano. They thump and plink out electronic compositions, embodying Felix Thorn's concept of musical performance without a performer. Perforations is a free album of machine performances put together by Eileen Simpson and Ben White of the Open Music Archive, based on out-of-copyright piano rolls. (also available)
Performance artists Corpus do Sheep. They also do Le Grand Peep Show. (links safe for peeps, safe for sheep and safe for work. Via Nutritional Plastic)
Got an embarrassing love letter or humiliating photo from your angsty teenage years you’d like plastered all over the web, perhaps recited aloud and featured in live performances? Thought so
With the wild success of the Guitar Hero series, using video game controllers shaped like guitars is nothing new. However, the duo at Modal Kombat actually use guitars as video game controllers. They won't reveal all of their tricks, but you can read a bit about their technology here and at this interview with Urban Guitar. The results are awfully impressive. View the original Modal Kombat here, and their newest installment, the admittedly trippy GuitarKart here. via
Karolina Sobecka has made animations of a running tiger (Wildlife) and violent cartoon hijinks (Chase), which she projects onto city landscapes from a moving car. (Embedded Quicktime.) She's got a site full of her other projects, including a ton of nifty commercial work.
Electronic Blockade of Mexican Government: Hactivism and Oaxaca; The Electronic Disturbance Theatre, founded by Ricardo Dominguez has organized a virtual sit-in of Mexican embassy and consulate websites. [More Inside]
Tehching Hsieh – Life Performance Never one to back down from performance art, Tehching Hsieh, a Chinese emigre to the US, has done some pretty impressive things: - A year in a cage in his loft without talking; -Punching a time clock every hour of every day for a year (and missing tons of REM sleep and making a film in the process;) -Spending a year outside, never entering a single building or roofed structure until he was arrested in a scuffle;
Tied together with artist Linda Montano with a 8-foot piece of rope.
Does Tehching Hsieh deserve to be called America's Greatest Performance Artist?
Alexander Calder's Circus. A movie by Carlos Vilardebo, in four parts: one two, three, four, [YouTube]. Calder developed his own one-man circus, with tiny performers made of "cork, wire, wood, yarn, paper, string, and cloth," carefully engineered to walk tightropes, dance, tame lions, lift weights, and engage in gymnastics and acrobatics in and above the ring. Acting as omniscient ringmaster, Calder would manipulate the wire performers while his wife wound circus music on the gramophone in the background. via [more inside]
The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984 features, among many compelling pieces, works by Tehching Hsieh. Hsieh may be best known for his 1983-84 collaborative piece with Linda Montano, in which the two artists were tethered together at the waist with an eight foot rope -- for an entire year. [Previously mentioned here.]
Nam June Paik passed away on Sunday. We'll read educated commentaries in the next few days, but what I most affectionately remember about him is how his work made me laugh happily during the 70s and 80s. A precursor of video art, he was the first to use plugged tv sets as building blocks in the most playful ways. His TV Buddha is arguably an unsurpassed classic (a motionless moving image, an outside observation of an inner meditation, even -why not?- a premonition of a blogger) (this last one is a joke: I told you Paik made me laugh). R.I.P.
17 Minutes is a performance and video blog project by new media artist Chris Barr. It's about suicide. [MI]
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