Michael Morley: Music for The Never Quartet / Ursula Scherrer & Michael Schumacher: Exotica
Saturday, July 20th, ISSUE and Harvestworks present acclaimed New Zealand-based artist and musician Michael Morley presenting Music for The Never Quartet, a new piece exploring the sonic possibilities of the acoustic guitar as a pure resonant amplifier of sound. Perhaps best known as 1/3 of the Dead C, an enduring free rock unit that has pushed the proto- and post-punk templates to exhilarating points of disintegration for the past three decades, Morley has also recorded music as Gate, the Righteous Yeah, the Fk Chairs, and Sun Valley, as well as under his own name across a range of genre.
Michael Morleys Music for The Never Quartet is a performative installation for a quartet of bowed acoustic guitars placed on solid wooden furniture. The guitar bodies amplify the bowed strings, which the furniture further amplifies, creating a lush and generous sound field. The quartet modifies the collective sound with the addition of wooden blocks, bowls, and rods placed atop and underneath the instruments. The audience is encouraged to move around the space to experience the sound from multiple vantage points. However, Morley explains that remaining in one place allows for the shifting time signatures of the different vibrating strings to wash [over] the listener. The audience is also welcome to record the performance on their mobile devices to be played back as loops during the installation.
Ursula Scherrer and Michael Schumacher, who have been collaborating since the 1990s, present Exotica a new work made specifically for ISSUE. The piece utilizes the sounds and data from SONYC (Sounds of New York City), a project that "leverages the latest in machine learning technology, big data analysis, and citizen science reporting to more effectively monitor, analyze, and mitigate urban noise pollution. Using as source material sound files provided by SONYC, a multidisciplinary initiative led by researchers from New York University, Schumacher has radically effected the recordings (construction sites, AC units, engine hums, playground ambiences) to the point of a lyrical blurriness, transforming NYs soundscape into an unpredictable intersection of fractured textures. The music seeks the overlap or intersection of trajectory and moment, where each expectation is met by both surprise and fulfillment. A key strategy in Schumachers method is the juxtaposition of the result of instrumental references against the din of SONYCs quotations -- the revealing of one inside the other. The piece features video footage of everyday scenes with a constantly, subtly shifting inner rhythm that plays off the music. The images and the sounds correspond to each other in ever new ways; Scherrer and Schumacher have consciously striven to foreground Michel Chion's idea of "added value."
This is the fourth year in an ongoing program collaboration between ISSUE Project Room and Harvestworks, two organizations that are committed to supporting the creation and presentation of experimental performance practices while sharing resources.
Michael Morley is a New Zealand based sound artist and visual artist. His work across a range of genre confirms his abilities as an artist, composer, improvisor, performer, and producer. Responsible for over 100 audio releases from 1985 to 2019 as: Gate, The Dead C, The Righteous Yeah, The Fuck Chairs, Sun Valley, and many other collaborations and solo recordings. The development of Music for The Never Quartet has come from a thirty year exploration of the guitar and of sound as art. The focus of the acoustic guitar as the nexus of an examination of sound comes from a desire to provoke and create experimental music that challenges the status quo of the hierarchy of rock and popular musics and allows for a reimagining of the idea of performance and composition.
Ursula Scherrer is a Swiss artist living in New York City. Her work has been shown in festivals, galleries and museums internationally. Her aesthetic training began with dance, transitioned to choreography and expanded to photography, video, text and mixed media. The poetic quality of Scherrers video work is one of moving paintings, drawing the viewer into the images. She transforms spaces and landscapes into serene, abstract portraits of rhythm, color and light inner landscapes in the outside world where the images have less to do with what we see then with the feeling they leave. Scherrer has worked with the composers/musicians Shelley Hirsch, Michelle Nagai, Brian Chase, John Duncan, Kato Hideki, Flo Kaufmann, David Watson, Michael J. Schumacher, Valerio Tricoli among others, in the creation of video and sound installations, live performances and single-channel videos. She has collaborated with the choreographers Liz Gerring, Sally Silvers and Susanne Braun as well as the light artist Kurt Laurenz Theinert. Together with Katherine Liberovskaya, Scherrer organizes OptoSonic Tea, a series dedicated to the convergence of live visuals to live sounds.
Michael J. Schumacher has worked with spatialized sound, computers and electronics since the 1980s, creating multi-channel, generative Room Pieces presented in galleries, museums, concert halls, public and private spaces. Schumachers interest in the relationship of musical form and architecture led to the founding of Diapason, a gallery devoted to the presentation of sound art. His latest project is the Portable Multichannel Sound System, with which he has toured Europe twice. Variations, a set of pieces created for the system, is available online through Richard Garets Contour Editions label. Schumacher is the music director of the Liz Gerring Dance Company.
Founded in 2003, ISSUE Project Room is a pioneering nonprofit performance center, presenting projects by interdisciplinary artists that expand the boundaries of artistic practice and stimulate critical dialogue in the broader community. ISSUE serves as a leading cultural incubator, facilitating the commission and premiere of innovative new works.
Founded by artists in 1977, Harvestworks is a leader in the art and technology field, educating, commissioning and producing work by composers, sound, visual and multi-disciplinary artists that reach an ever-expanding and receptive audience.
SONYC (Sounds of New York City) is a multidisciplinary initiative led by researchers from New York University, looking at ways to acquire, analyze, classify, and model urban noise pollution in New York City as a model for the rest of the world. As part of the SONYC project, a large-scale recording effort was undertaken to create a database of classified "urban sounds" in order to train the system for later, automated machine listening. These field recordings, collected at sites around New York City, consist of high quality samples of quotidian urban noise, ranging from traffic at major road arteries to the ambient noise of city parks. These field recordings, along with their labels, comprise a high quality dataset of the sounds of New York in the 21st Century. An objective of the SONYC project consists of advocating for a wider understanding of and appreciation for noise pollution among the general public, and creative projects by composers and artists using these field recordings benefit the broader aims of the project.
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