Almost an interval
Almost an Interval
Installations + Screenings
Installation: Volkmar Klien — Requires booking
Rezeptionshaltungen is a haptic, theatrical performance in which Austrian composer Volkmar Klien assists a ‘recipient’ in assuming three defined positions [Haltungen] inside apparatuses that transduce sounds to the recipient’s body, played live by the artist. ‘Music is a rather bodily affair, which is why Rezeptionshaltungen’s devices are ergonomically formed, for increased reception comfort. With the help of audio-drivers coupled to the body of the recipient, sound is directly conducted into the recipient’s body. In music, it is generally desirable that the artist/recipient relationship is intimate. But inscribed in this intimacy are certain asymmetries and power structures. It is the artist, who directs, while the recipient takes it all in.’
Klien’s quasi-scientific and ironic laboratory will be open to Odrathek’s audience at different times during the festival. A list and performance schedule is drawn up on a first-come-first serve basis on the day. Advance bookings for ticket-holders can be made by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch a video of Rezeptionshaltungen here.
Screening: Karin Hasselberg
The Digging Collector
Since 2004, the act of digging a hole in the ground with a shovel has been something of a centre for Karin Hasselberg’s practice and a way of contemplating what art could be, where it originates and how it operates. From this act of digging, Hasselberg produces art objects and installations which, in broad terms, deal with the relations between objects and sites. Hasselberg often works with videos as a way of capturing the gestures and hesitations inherent in the act of digging. ‘I have realized that what I try to grasp, or put my finger on in my work lies not so much in the finished object, but in the moments if its making. That is why I record when I dig.’ Videos of Hasselberg’s digs will be screened at Odrathek. Read more about the artist. Read a review of Holes by Ilse van Rijn on the Stedelijk Museum Archive.
Installation: Natalia Kieniewicz
Here we go round the Syzygium Jambos
Natalia Kieniewicz’s installation explores the relationship between purposeless activity and timelessness. The audience is invited to take part in an ongoing, purposeless Maypole dance around a tree which—freely quoting from Duchamp, John Cage, the Buddha, and children everywhere—Kieniewicz has constructed out of a branch and a bicycle wheel. The spokes are adorned with instructions written by members of the ensemble which the audience is free to enact.
‘Homo sapiens is a mammal that stood up in order to let its front limbs dangle freely. As with all other mammals, its eyes reflect sunlight. The information acquired through this reflection is transferred by the brain to the hands. The hands transfer this information onto the environment, and act on it [behandeln]. Like this, humans create a feedback loop in which information derived from the world is transferred back upon it. This new information itself is received through the eyes, acted upon by the brain, restructured, and thrown back into the world. Through this process, the human environment as well as humanity itself changes. In short: human history.’ (Vilém Flusser and Louis Bec, Vampyrotheutis Infernalis).
MORE:Collective was formed in 2017 by Adele Lazzeri, Hamer Faramarzi and Toby Tobias Kidd. With their tentacles, the collective will be making small clay objects and impress on them a record of the event, shaped and transformed through collective thinking and acting and making small earth-bound mementos of Odrathek which the audience will be able to take with them.
Die Gedanken sind frei
Performance → The ensemble moves a pile of earth, twice a day. Full shovel, empty shovel—carry shovel, drag shovel—singing and whistling an evolutionary work song. Every day the song changes, and the pile of earth re-appears in new places: because thoughts are free. Die Gedanken sind frei is part of a set of repeating performances that frame Musarc’s practice at the concert. But there is also repetition in the act of digging and moving objects, or thoughts. Repetition (rhythm) is the support structure of purpose, and purposelessness. And so the thought that opens and closes Musarc’s performances every day may be: why do we sing? Claudia Molitor’s response to this performance by Joseph Kohlmaier is an evolving work riff based on the sounds of work and shovels which points towards, and ends in an arrangement of one of the oldest and most widely known songs of the German singing tradition, Die Gedanken sind frei.
Tableau Répétitif—Trois Chansons
Performance → Musarc first experimented with the metonymic relationship between practice and repetition on the occasion of a series of performances at Palais de Tokyo in April 2017. The ensemble performed Francis Poulenc’s Un soir de neige several times every day, drawing ever-tighter concentric circles around the ironic space of performance, practice, repetition and improvement. At Odrathek, Musarc continues this practice of repetition with three short pieces by Claude Debussy which, together with Die Gedanken sind frei, re-appear at frame Musarc’s practice at the opening and closing of each concert day and gives an insight into the ensemble’s extensive work on both contemporary and traditional material with its director of music Cathy Heller Jones.
Song Folds (Reclaim the Night / Keep Some Hope)
Performance workshop → Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business is a solo project and ‘drum choir’ that emerged from her practice as a drummer, singer, composer and visual artist. Prompted by a commission from Wysing Polyphonic Music festival to make a performance with no electric amplification, Moore wrote a song cycle for ten singers and two drummers with only two weeks to teach it. Moore took this as an opportunity to experiment with a feminist approach to making and learning music - what could a bent structure make possible? The scoring and working method that emerged from this project, and which she now consistently employs, involved a manifesto, a large piece of paper and felt-tip pens. In 2017, Moore founded a community choir on a set of similar principles. In F*CHOIR's practice sessions, the body of the choir, its politics and multifarious voices collide with the material Moore arranges and teaches through a process of call-and-response. During rehearsal, the choir adopts, transforms and marks up both the music and the score. For Moore, the working model is as important as the music, and the practice often becomes the performance. For Odrathek, Moore brings this way of working to Musarc, allowing the audience to witness the making of a new song unfold over three days and consecutive sessions.
Edka Jarząb + Audience
Crowd ReadingPerformance-reading with the audience → Edka Jarząb, Odrathek’s observer, poet and performer-in-residence, will lead the audience into a space where the voice acts as a bridge between the public and private, and where listening, singing, and improvisation act as a practice of resistance and interpretation. Jarząb’s performances take the shape of short vignettes that respond to the people and events at Odrathek, bringing tentacular connections in and out of focus through readings and vocal work with the audience and singers.
E228 Bloody Sirens Album Launch
Performance and Album Launch → On Sunday 3 October 2015, Musarc spent the afternoon at Extra City Kunsthal in Antwerp to perform and record four pieces by long-time collaborator and artist/composer Neil Luck. These sessions were expertly captured, engineered and mixed by Bert Aerts, and released by Antwerp-based experimental music label Entr’acte. Bloody Sirens will be launched on the occasion of Odrathek, with a live performance of all four works. The LP will be available for sale in the Odrathek shop at a special price of £12.
Solo video/sound performance
Solo performance → Benedict Drew works in video, performance, film, music and text. A central concern for his practice is the desire to explore our relationship with technology, authority and control. About his recent exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, the artist said he is ‘interested in the feeling of submersion in social and environmental despair, being overwhelmed by images, confused by the shifting status of objects, disoriented by layers of history, trying to generate a state of being where you can escape, and seeing escape as a potent form of resistance and ecstatic protest.’
O universo nu
Performance → O unverso nu groups together a number of collaborative projects in which artist Celia Gondol engages with the interpretation and oral transmission of stories, in particular the speculative theories of the cosmogony of the universe. In O unverso nu, the fictions and melodic traditions rooted in Brazilian cordel literature collide with vocal oscillations and undulatory, harmonic vibrations read from the mythical score of NASA sound data banks, juxtaposing traditional modes of oral transmission with the narratives of science. For Odrathek, Gondol has been developing a new, iterative score for the project which the choir returns to in practice rehearsals and during the festival, and which forms part of Musarc’s Tableau répétitif performed at the beginning and towards the end of each day.
Solo performance for piano and electronics → Electronic composer Esther Venrooy and pianist Heleen Van Haegenborgh’s collaboration explores the synergy of acoustic piano with electronics and digital sound processing. Their compositions aim to draw the listener into the inner workings of the piano. Employing a battery of microphones, resonating elements and tiny inaudible mechanical sounds are captured, manipulated and magnified through electronic means, resulting in fragile textures where the boundaries between electronic and acoustic sound become blurred. ‘Kind on the nerves, yet incredibly intense’ — Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes. Read more on Entr’acte.
Solo performance-reading → ‘Bread is not static. It may appear to be solid, but in truth bread is liquid, just moving very slowly, in ebb and flow with the atmosphere. Think about it. Two loaves, next to each other, supposedly bounded by crust. But as time goes on, a mould blooms across the surface of one, sticky fur penetrating throughout its crumb and into the next loaf. As the fungus spreads, digesting and breaking down the loaves, the bread becomes fungus, and the singular entity of this mould brings these loaves together so that they collapse, unmonumentally and with a slow seepage, into one another and into the mould itself. Indeed, only by taking our skin as a definitive impenetrable boundary are we able to see our bodies as discrete selves. Our human bodies are more accurately built from a mass of interacting selves … the self is not only corporeal but corporate’. Rebecca Jagoe’s performances examine ecofeminist ideas of the body: porosity, viscosity and liquidity become important in dismantling a humanist tendency towards individualism, yet also pose a threat to the boundaries of a neurotic self. Performance and reading—before dinner.
Lore Lixenberg + Audience
PRÊT Â CHANTER™
Mass real-time opera → PRÊT Â CHANTER™ is a thick present, a political, post-internet, post-cyborg real-time opera staged in the politeia by Lore Lixenberg. It seeks to blur the boundaries between art and life, different cultures, different economic and post-economic systems, and different post-psychologies. At the heart of PRÊT Â CHANTER™ is a working manifesto with one central rule that those who step over the opera’s threshold must abide by: NO SPEAKING. Only vocalisations other than speaking are allowed. Musarc and the audience will become this opera over the consumption and exchange of a shared meal. Prices of food and drink set according to creativity. Download the rules here. And absolutely no speaking in the toilet, you will let off the anti-speak detector.
Performance → The effect produced when the human voice rapidly skips across a large melodic interval between the lower chest and head register (falsetto), is commonly known as Yodeling. The change is often exaggerated to create a specific sound and timbre. Although the technique is associated predominantly with singing traditions in the Alpine countries, where the word ‘Jodeln’ originates, it is present in many different cultures around the world, such as minstrel singing in the United States, the songs of the Shona community in Zimbabwe or Hawaiian music. Gsätzli (the Swiss word for ‘Yodelsong’) is a new work for voices and field recordings/electronics written for the ensemble which brings the brightness and humour in this vocal technique to the foreground, and which will be developed and performed for the first time at Odrathek.
Help with adverbs
Staged performance → Amber Priestley is a composer who occasionally moonlights as an English teacher to non-native speakers. For Priestley, the classroom can be a surreal environment: a sort of mundane theatre where scenarios play out which, to use the title of one of Priestley’s favourite books, are hopeless, but not serious. In her imagination, Priestly turns these situations into music. Help with Adverbs translates an IELTS exam, a stressful test for those who have to take and pass it in order to qualify for work or study in the UK, into a parallel world where examiners communicate using nonsense sounds (like the adults in Peanuts), and candidates speak back to them fluently in whatever language they feel comfortable with. Help with adverbs is a graphic score written for CoMA’s recently published Partsong Project, and was premiered by EXAUDI for BBC Between the Ears at LSO St Luke’s in April 2018, with four examiners. Musarc will set a new record, running sixteen examinations in parallel.
O M A I G S T R N
Performance → Jenna Sutela’s work with slime moulds is grouped into an ongoing project called Orgs—Organization, Organism, Orgasm. In her performances, Sutela often constructs patterns, pathways and ‘many-headed’ readings from the letters in these words and the anagrams they can form — Sonata Origin, Groan Ism, Aorta Noising, Gains Oration, Mars Go, Again Torsion, Grains Om (many of which seem to describe sound). The anagrams allow Sutela to construct scores that translate the life strategies deployed by the slime mould into components and instructions for a performance: phase-shifting, de-centralised speech, improvisation, and feedback loops. In many of Sutela’s installations, the slime mould is physically present. It is absent in the performance, but present as a method, or reference, like so many other absences and spirits music conjures up. Musarc is developing a new score for large ensemble with the artist, which will be performed for the first time at Odrathek.
Performance workshop → Rainbows is a work by artist Sarah Kate Wilson which was first performed with Musarc in 2017 on the occasion of Do D!sturb, Palais de Tokyo, in conjunction with Beata viscera iridis, an arrangement of Pérotin’s Beata viscera by Piper Haywood and Toby O’Connor. With their voices and coloured mirrors, a group of singers endeavour to create a rainbow that appears and dissipates in a sonic landscape. The audience is caught inside this spectacle, captured in selfies, facing their own reflections and receiving an ethereal sense of their own bodies as they alight on these reflective surfaces. Rainbows will be performed again at the opening of the New RA on 19 May 2018.
Sports events are powerful in developing a sense of community within spectators at venues, in front of TVs and online. Players, however, face enormous pressure from the audience, others in the team and themselves. Is it at all possible to maintain team spirit among overgrown egos, obsessed with body image? Asking questions and difficulty fitting in lead to poor performance of individuals and the team as a whole.
Jakub Modrzejewski is a long-term choral singer familiar with the classical choral repertoire and a member of Musarc since 2015. Olympiakos is the first performance workshop he devised for Musarc. Its leitmotif is an attempt to strike an improbable balance between fairness and competition, individuality and mainstream, fun and performance.
Audience + Alex de Little
Spatial Listening Games
Spatial Listening Games are compositions in which participants explore their relationship to, and understanding of, acoustic space through the creation and audition of sound in a social context. In the workshops, Alex de Little creates a range of situations in which the concert space is actively listened to by audiences. The workshop uses the language of the physical properties of sound to frame, and reframe space through performative gestures. Instructions are always determined by listening to the acoustic response of the space. In this context, listening becomes the method through which audiences and participants begin to know and engage with their environment.
Lore Lixenberg + Bartosz Glowacki
Solo performance → Lore Lixenberg is one of the most distinctive and powerful voices in music today. The mezzo-soprano’s multifarious practice spans a vast spectrum that includes traditional and contemporary music, publishing, political activism, curatorial projects, commentary, commissions, and collaborations with artists and creatives from a broad range of backgrounds. For this unique performance of music from the 17th to 21st centuries arranged
for voice and accordion, Lixenberg is joined by accordeon virtuoso Bartosz Glowacki. With music by Purcell, Bach, Cage and Frédéric Acquaviva. Watch Glowacki play Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in A major K.208.
Solo performance → Rie Nakajima is a Japanese artist working with installations and performances that produce sound. Her works are most often composed in direct response to unique architectural spaces using a combination of kinetic devices and found objects. She has exhibited and performed widely both in the UK and overseas and has produced ‘Sculpture’ with David Toop since 2013. With Keiko Yamamoto she has a music project 'O YAMA O' which explores music with no genre. She also has a collaborative project ‘Dead Plants/Living Objects’ with Pierre Berthet. Rie Nakajima currently has a solo show at IKON gallery, Birmingham. Watch a recent performance of Nakajima’s at the gallery here.