Custom Control

a TOOLS — Analogs and Intersections initiative.

Friday, October 26, 2007

EMPAC in conjunction with the Arts Department at Rensselaer and the the iEAR Presents! series present Custom Control, an evening of three performances where artists have built their own personal audio and video performance tools.

The artist duos hail from San Francisco, Mexico City, and New York and include Sue Costabile + Laetitia Sonami, Luke Dubois + Manrico Montero, and Benton Bainbridge + Bobby Previte. In the 1970’s, in tandem with pioneering organizations like the Experimental Television Center in New York, artists began developing electronics for their live and installation-based video art. In this tradition, the artists in Custom Control all have personally crafted some aspect of their hardware or software for their performance tools.

The first performance, I.C.You, is a live film by Sue Costabile and Laetitia Sonami, Based on a script by poet Tom Sleigh, I.C.You follows the road-based travels of a truck driver delivering ice for the Universe Company. His job is to keep America cold. Sonami and Costabile open windows into his existence through a suitcase-sized foley stage, photographs, drawings, videos, shadow theater, and miniature lighting rigs.

By way of a specifically programmed Max/Jitter patch, guitarist Manrico Montero AKA Karras and video artist R. Luke Dubois create an improvised collaboration of sound and video entitled Night Breeze. Montero’s washes of layered guitar interact with DuBois’ live-camera-based imagery to create experience that translates the rich sonic language of Montero’s playing into a cinematic event.

The meeting of two mad scientists, composer Bobby Previte and video artist Benton-C Bainbridge, inspired the performance Dialed In. Dialed In is a true dialog between sight and sound — a live audiovisual performance and a collection of music movies. Previte’s music is an ambitious live solo electronic drum work — 14 movements will be performed in real time, with no loops, no laptops, and no overdubbing. Bainbridge responds by freely grabbing from personal archives of video obscura, altering them beyond recognition, then recomposing them in a real-time process much like Previte's kit-triggered music. Each using obsolete and forgotten technology scavenged from the tech dump, Bainbridge warps video into strange shapes while Previte elevates raw sound into listenable music.

Please note Custom Control is just one event in an initiative by the Electronic Arts Department titled TOOLS – Analogs and Intersections. This 2007 - 2008 series of events will include workshops, lectures, an exhibition and publications, focusing on artists who develop their own electronic and /or digital tools for video and audio in performance.

Kathleen Forde

Benton-C Bainbridge is an early innovator of the visual performance movement, making painterly “visual music” in realtime for nearly 25 years. Using custom digital, analog and optical systems, Benton-C has performed, screened, streamed, broadcast and installed video over the wires and airwaves in museums, stadiums, squats and dance halls all over the world. He is currently an Education Fellow at Eyebeam Atelier, NYC, designing curricula to teach the art of the VJ.

Sue Costabile works mainly in a live audio-visual context. Synthesizing images in real-time using a customized computer-based animation technique, she explores the persistence of visual memory and aural associations. Direct physical manipulation of photographs, texturized watercolors, rough-hewn papers, fabrics and re-appropriated objects leads to stories layered in light, space and time. Collaborators include AGF, Morton Subotnick, Kit Clayton, Laetitia Sonami and Luc Ferrari. She currently teaches video-related media at the California College of Arts.

R. Luke Dubois is a composer, performer, video artist, and programmer living in New York City. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University and teaches interactive sound and video performance at Columbia's Computer Music Center and at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. He has collaborated on interactive performance, installation, and music production work with many artists and organizations including Toni Dove, Matthew Ritchie, Todd Reynolds, Michael Joaquin Grey, Elliott Sharp, Michael Gordon, Bang on a Can, Engine27, Harvestworks, and LEMUR, and is the director of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra for its 2007 season. He is a co-author of Jitter, a software suite developed by Cycling'74 for real-time manipulation of matrix data. His music (with or without his band, the Freight Elevator Quartet), is on the Caipirinha/Sire, Cycling'74, and Cantaloupe music, and his artwork is represented by bitforms gallery in New York City.

Manrico Montero working under the moniker Karras, explores digital-acoustic soundscapes via processed guitar, field recordings and other forms of electronic composition. Karras was recently nominated for the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards 2007 in France, has played with Pauline Oliveros in an ensemble of Mexican musicians in Mexico City, and he has performed at the DUMBO Video Festival in Brooklyn, New York. Karras has released music with some of the most influential independent electronic Mexican labels such as: Static Discos, Mil Records, Filtro, Cyan Recs, Abolipop, and his own label Mandorla, and internationally he has released works in France in electronic music labels like: Eko, Rain Music, Mk2 Music and in Bulgaria with the Mahorka label.

Bobby Previte composer and drummer, has long been established as one of the world s foremost improvising musicians, with a discography as long as your leg. His work has been discussed in books, magazines, television, radio, and in most of the major newspapers around the world. He continues to lead many wildly different bands on tours through the USA, Europe, South America, Australia, and Japan.

Laetitia Sonami is an electronic composer, performer and sound installation artist who explores ways to translate objects and movements into sound, often incorporating one with the other. She uses interactive media to translate gesture and performance into an experimental aural narrative that explores the ever-shifting evolution of perspective. Best known for her lady's glove, an evening black lycra glove studded with a myriad of sensors, she has performed world-wide and is based in Oakland, CA.

Custom Control
2 hours
October 26, 2007, 8PM

"...Experimental music is rarely this visceral and engaging"
- Los Angeles Times - 3/14/03