Google Portrait ft. Joakim
“Google Portrait” is an invention; a mythical entity; a state of mind; a spiritual problem. It abides in an immaterial coat of arms, an appendage to the Cloud. It is the hidden visage of a quasi-religious institution—like Capital itself.
Soundtracks commissioned for The Calder Foundation’s new website www.calder.org
Vertical Foliage Orchestra (Alejandro Antelo-Suarez, Anthony Kingsley [Tween], Aaron Moore [Volcano the Bear, Invisible Sports], and Gryphon Rue [El Tryptophan]) is an electro-acoustic group, employing percussive scrap materials borrowed from the studio of artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976). In performance, seven-year-old Antelo-Suarez intones a lyric sheet made up of Calder’s historical texts and interviews. Kingsley samples and transfigures Antelo-Suarez’s voice and the ambient and percussive sounds produced by Moore and Rue.
The improvisational approach of VFO is in the spirit of Calder’s application of sound with his “noise-mobiles,” comprised of brass gongs and other resonators. Calder’s statement in 1933 that “just as one can compose colors, or forms, so one can compose motions” anticipates the mobile’s influence on the development of Post-war classical and experimental music.
Texts and interviews used in Vertical Foliage Orchestra’s performance include Calder’s “Comment réaliser l’art?” in Abstraction-Création, Art Non Figuratif, no. 1 (1932), 6; “A Propos of Measuring a Mobile” (manuscript, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1943); “What Abstract Art Means to Me” in Museum of Modern Art Bulletin 18, no. 3 (Spring 1951), 8–9; and Jane Howard’s “Close Up-Mobile Maker’s Giddy Whirl,” Life, March 5, 1965, 47–48, 50, 52.
For many societies, ancient and modern, pentagrams have symbolized the human body in relation to the universe, and scarabs (beetles), transformation and rebirth. Playing The Beetles operates through a ritualistic collaboration between beetles and human improvisers paired by color coding. Each human improviser has composed a personal score related to sections of a Plexiglas pentagram. The behavior of live beetles determines the musical choices made by each improviser as the beetles navigate the pentagram—for example, a beetle on its back might cause a horn player to swell a note, or a violinist to bow glissandos.
Performed at The Calder Foundation’s Oh, you mean cellophane and all that crap, McKittrick Hotel, 5 May 2012
Dave Nuss (No-Neck Blues Band, Sabbath Assembly) – cello
Gabrielle Herbst (GABI) – voice
Aaron Moore (Volcano the Bear) – percussion, water bottle
Daniel Fishkin (Dandelion Fiction) – daxophone
Odetta Hartman – violin
Gryphon Rue – saw, percussion