Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions’

The Insects Go to the Symphony

blurb200b_lgAnyone who’s ever heard the droning buzz of cicadas in the summer, has spent a night camping in the woods, or is familiar with the high-pitched tweet of the household cricket  knows that insects can indeed make music. In fact, there’s a species of Ecuadorian treehoppers—cousins of the cicada—who communicate to each other by vibrating the stems of plants on which they live (technically, that makes them percussionists). One can imagine a full symphony of tux-clad bugs toting mini-violins and tiny tubas, a grasshopper conductor at the helm.

But since Pixar is probably busy, artist and writer Sawako Nakayasu—in association with Les Figues Press’ Not Content series—has taken it upon herself to enact the first-ever, live improvised insect orchestra, tomorrow afternoon, 3:30 PM, at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in Hollywood. No, the bugs will not be actually playing music, but they will be playing muses; their live silhouettes will provide the inspiration for an improvised jam session between a collection of chosen musicians. Following the performance, Nakayasu will invite any listeners prepared with instruments of their own to become active participants. Said volunteers will then choose a bug to play to, and join the orchestra in full.

There’s something genuinely lovable about the concept, but also thought-provoking and inspired. What if the insects start jamming back? What if we humans are but bugs in our own right? What if music was, at last, the great inter-special mode of communication?

- By Joshua Morrison

Sawaku Nakayasu’s Improvised Insect Orchestra begins at 3:30 PM on Sunday, September 12th at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and runs until approximately 5:30 PM. For more information, please visit www.welcometolace.org.

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Posted in Art, Classical Music, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Hollywood, Mixed media, Music, Neighborhoods, Performance, Personalities No Comments »

deFineArtsLA Exclusive: POET

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMusic—if not the industry—has triumphed through electronic, digital, and online revolutions. Photographers can shoot a thousand frames in a matter of minutes. Painting has outgrown the traditional borders of the canvas, now readily available on street corners and highway signs. Cinema is viewed less in the cinema than on Youtube or Netflix streaming. Words are no longer inscribed in ink, and many popular novels are now written as 140-character-long serials.

But poetry is dead.

Or at least that’s what it seems like. Even as a devoted follower of some incredible living and working poets, I find it hard to list more than five off the top of my head. And maybe this is due to the general assumption that while every other art-form may gracefully surf the never-ending tides of technology, poetry is to remain dormant—to hole up in its cage of antiquated rhyme schemes and meter. Even “free-form poetry” collects dust these days.

Then I hear about someone like Mathew Timmons—and I’ve been hearing a lot about him recently (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions just wrapped up a month-long installation based on his 800-page book/collection/poem/collage entitled Credit.) Timmons is immediately difficult to pin down into a label. He’s a poet, a blogger, a curator, a critic, a performer, a collaborator, and a creator of chapbooks. But I suppose all could be condensed into a single description: Mathew Timmons is one of many young, Los Angeles-based artists insistent on keeping poetry alive

His latest project, as a part of his ongoing series of projects entitled “General Projects,” opens at 323 Projects on Monday, September 6th. Never heard of the gallery? That may be because it exists solely by phone, offering “visitors” a rotating sample of sound poems from Timmons’s upcoming album, The Archanoids, meant to explore the evolving relationship between noise, language, collaboration, and context.

Here’s the kicker, though. The “gallery” has a voicemail, available 24-hours a day, in which people are invited to call in and leave messages that will eventually be edited down by Timmons into a single, multi-layered sound poem by the end of the exhibition on October 11th. The show is open all day and all night, and the number to call is (323) 843-4652 or (323) TIE-IN-LA.

It all reminds me of a story, or an image rather, I was once told by a poet friend of mine in New York City. He said he knew of a fellow poet, more published than he, yet still relatively anonymous, who decided to hang a glowing, neon fixture—like the ones in old-school dive bars—facing outward on her window. It just had one word on it, in all caps: “POET.”

- By Joshua Morrison

For more information on Mathew Timmons and 323 Projects, please visit www.generalprojects.blogspot.com.

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Posted in Art, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, deFineArtsLA, Exhibitions, Galleries, Mixed media, Performance, Personalities No Comments »