Knob Magic

June 28th, 2012
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe/Lichens

Part of Start Again Feel Again, Rose Kallal’s exhibition at Participant Inc, is this live performance with Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe/Lichens. The exhibition itself was curated by Kate McNamara, Director and Chief Curator at the Boston University Art Gallery.

What you see here are projections of four 16mm film loops that Rose shot on 16mm, using set-up sources and appropriated images, sometimes double-exposed.  Beneath these projections, in the dark, are the two artists seated at modular synthesizers, totally jamming out.  Intermittently, Rose turns to a floor tom drum and two cymbals – but most of it is knob magic.  Transfixing and mesmerizing, particular song samples seemed to emerge from and haunt the gurgling boops and beeps, like conscious memories emerging from complex brain matter.  I heard techno tracks, dub reggae, early Kraftwerk and Neu! hallmarks, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, respiration, atomic bombs, and geiger counters – but never dance beats.  Still, I felt hypnotized faster than you can say “Wendy Carlos sued me.”

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From the press release: “Each of four overlapping film loops cycles at a different speed to create a continuous flow of repeating patterns and motifs that are in a continual state of reconfiguration, both visually and sonically, allowing for chance operations and alchemical relations between sound, word, and image.”

“Start Begin Feel Again elaborates such processes of transmutation between form and formlessness: solid/liquid, word/sound, image/abstraction.”

Intuitively glimpsing the aesthetic of album covers, title design, and special effects from around the time I was born, I asked Rose what year this would be.  “1979,” she said.  True.  But it goes back further: from the the obvious Kubrick, then Pink Floyd allegiance, continue through the mid-1970s  signature style of visual effects pioneer Robert Abel.  All this was revealed to me by this week’s guru, Mike G.  Thanks!)



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