exploring the role of sound in natural and cultural environments

Sound Art Installations for Ear Taxi Festival, October 5-10, Chicago

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Alongside the adventuresome concerts, lectures, and artist receptions being presented at the first-ever Ear Taxi Festival, October 5-10, 2016, will be five innovative sound installations created by award-winning Chicago composers and mounted around the city throughout the Festival. These free and open-to-the-public installations incorporate video, virtual reality and live performance.

Naming Things (2015-16)
*U.S. Premiere 

Artists: Jay Alan Yim (sound) & Marlena Novak (video), aka localStyle

Mounted for entirety of Festival, October 5-10 / Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Lower Lobby Screen, 205 E. Randolph Street

Jorge Luis Borges once wrote about a fictional encyclopedia entitled The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. This is the point of departure for Naming Things, interrogating the arbitrary authority of how culturally-specific systems compartmentalize knowledge. In localStyle’s piece, three kinds of representations of animals are juxtaposed: real animals, animal-inspired objects, and imaginary virtual creatures. Intermingling them is their way of proposing an alternate system of zoology, and like Borges, playfully subverting the certitude of how we taxonomize the world.

Out of the Frame (2016)
* World Premiere

Composer: Steve Everett
October 5, 5-8pm; October 6, 3-6:30pm; October 7-9, 2-6pm / High Concept Labs at Mana Contemporary Chicago, 4th Floor, 2233 S. Throop Street

Out of the Frame is an interactive installation on Ophelia, the young girl portrayed in 2012 U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s poetry collection, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002). Music and video are drawn from Everett’s opera, Ophelia’s Gaze (2008) for soprano, string quartet and interactive audio-video. The work is a narrative sequence of tableaux vivants in which viewers are asked to engage with the imagined thoughts and perceptions of a young mixed-race prostitute in the Storyville section of New Orleans in 1912.

SUS: the long thin wire (2015)
Composer: Christopher Preissing; with Carrie Frey, viola; Myra Hinrichs, violin; Lia Kohl, cello
October 6, 2-3pm / Harold Washington Library Center, Popular Library, First Floor, 400 S. State Street

SUS: the long thin wire is a performance-installation for suspended string trio, long tuned wires and piano resonator. Short for SUStain – to support or bear up from below; SUSpend – to hang by attachment from above; and SUSpension – to sustain one note or harmony while another changes, SUS places the spectator, not to mention the performers, in the precarious position of ascent and descent.

New Atlantis (2011-) 
Composer: Peter Gena
Mounted October 10, 12-1:15pm / School of the Art Institute of Chicago, LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Avenue, Sharp Building Ground Floor

The ongoing collaborative virtual reality project, New Atlantis, is a shared (multi-user) online virtual world dedicated to audio experimentation/practice with the aim of showcasing the relationship between sound, virtual 3D image and interactivity. Its name comes from the title of a Utopian novel by Francis Bacon (1627) that describes a legendary island dotted with extraordinary audio phenomena, perhaps premonitory of today’s electronic and digital techniques. In New Atlantis, spaces resonate, surfaces reflect, and collisions activate the multiple sounds of the objects involved.

Two Hundred Years of SolitudeDoscientos años de soledad (2016)
* U.S. Premiere

Composers: Julia A. Miller, Elbio Barilari & Ian Schneller
Mounted October 10, 3-4pm (three showings) / School of the Art Institute of Chicago, LeRoy Neiman Center

Two Hundred Years of SolitudeDoscientos años de soledad is an electronic fable about solitude, riffing on Gabriel García Marquez who once described a solitude that lasted a hundred years. The video for Two Hundred Years…, with images from the 1930 Brazilian silent movie Limite, was created to accompany the 2016 release of Electro Parables/Electro Parabolas, a duo record by Volcano Radar (Elbio Barilari and Julia A. Miller). The 8-channel surround remix will be broadcast via the handmade amps and speakers of Ian Schneller.

While predominantly a festival for Chicago composers and composition of the European classical, orchestral tradition, Julia Miller, Olivia Block, and MSAE co-chair Christopher Preissing are among the 350+ musicians, 88 composers, and 25 ensembles in Ear Taxi concerned with the acoustic ecology of urban spaces.

For schedule and ticket info please visit www.eartaxifestival.com