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Live From New York

Louis, Christian Marclay, Ryoji Ikeda & Laurie Anderson

By Published: October 28, 2010
Butch Morris worked with a string septet, applying his conduction techniques to "Graffiti Composition." First he left the strings to their own devices, allowing them to interpret the graphic score in their own way. Then he stepped in to direct the flow. Both sections sounded liberated, but each possessed a clearly discernible tack. The delights of freedom and (one person's) structure were equally sweet. The next day, Morris directed his chorus of poets, with no musical instruments in sight. This was a revelation. They were using "Mixed Reviews," which is a Marclay cut-up of flamboyant music reviewing phrases (hey!), but the creative pastings moved into another zone again, as these poets revealed themselves to be expressive actors, singers and performance artists, or even all three in a single frame. Their real-time cut'n'paste inventions (and those of Morris) were striking to behold.

On the day before the exhibition closed its lengthy run, Elliott Sharp led an ensemble through an alternative version of "Graffiti Composition." This bore no resemblance to the earlier Morris interpretation, thus underlining the exciting possibilities of Marclay's strategy. Here, Sharp concentrated on clarinet, and was surrounded by other blown instruments, handled by Curtis Fowlkes
Curtis Fowlkes
Curtis Fowlkes
, Briggan Krauss, Nate Wooley
Nate Wooley
Nate Wooley
, and Oscar Noriega, amongst others. The music began in containable fashion, but then the performers began to disperse, weaving amongst the casually-scattered audience, setting up a bewitching surround-sound environment that was constantly in flux, as fresh groupings of two or three players were formed for a while, sometimes closer to the ear of the individual, at other times more distant. More than ever, each person's musical experience was completely different, depending upon their location.

Marclay's "Zoom" is a glorified slideshow of his (again obsessive) capturing of images which feature commercial products that sport onomatopoeic names. His compulsion is catching. This is the projected piece in the exhibition that most transfixes the viewer. The live performance featured Marclay himself, but disappointingly sans turntables. Instead, he looked to be merely controlling the image-flow whilst vocalist Shelley Hirsch reacted at speed to the photographs (though sometimes the required rate of invention became a tall order). It was good to catch Marclay in person, as he was perhaps a touch too reclusive during his own excellent retrospective.

Ryoji Ikeda

Florence Gould Hall

September 11, 2010

Not as reclusive as the Japanese electronicist Ryoji Ikeda. Not that his "datamatics [ver. 2.0]" advertised itself as a gig, anyway. It's fundamentally a filmic presentation, with Ikeda out of sight at the rear of the theatre, only emerging when his audio-visual assault has finished.This performance was part of Crossing The Line, an innovative multi-media season presented by FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française). Ikeda's methods might sound mathematical and level-headed, but his music moves the guts (and possibly damages them), caving in the eardrums as well as crunching numbers. Calculations become headbanging blurts of white noise, black noise or grey noise. Dynamism is important. The clipping of headlong banging into brittle jags, edited as tightly as the images that flash into the retinas with aggressive intent. Sitting only a few rows back from the screen, I could discern that the clumps of fast-streaming data-lines, blocks, clusters and ramming colour-contrasts were made up of tiny numbers, literally shifting as they flowed. Maybe this wasn't so clear up on the 18th row. Ikeda's 2-D images were heady, but the piece started to slip when the pictures went 3-D, having the look of a revolving solar system computer animation. Also, his images are best when sticking to black'n'white. Sorry to be a primitivist. During the piece's final third, the visual style reverted to pleasing, with Ikeda at his best when being more simplistically brutal. All hail the pummeled-flat screen! The composer might have been playing with 'noise,' but his manipulations were invariably strictly controlled, with sharp edges and sudden shunts into delightfully painful new regions. Here is another artist who strides unfettered across the realms of music, film, video and art gallery exhibitionism.

Laurie Anderson: Delusion

Brooklyn Academy Of Music

September 23, 2010

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