+ Rhythm Science Lecture
+ ReBirth of A Nation
+ Noontime Chat: Hip-Hop Strategies
“When the Sugar Hill Gang rapped, ‘I don’t mean to brag, I don’t mean to boast, but I like hot butter on a breakfast toast,’ that made Americans really happy. We can all relate to enjoying buttered toast, but they’d found a way to make something unfamiliar and new out of the experience. Becoming unalienated is as simple and as difficult as that.”
–DJ Spooky (in conversation with Hermenaut Joshua Glenn)
Paul D. Miller is a fabulous, rhizomatic thinker and one of the highlights of this year’s festival. Easy going and smart as a whip, he’s got an accessible (yet rigorous) way of “connecting the dots” on issues of art, sound, music, pop culture, technology and power—and their intermingling complexity in consumer culture. Oh and he’s got a wicked sense of humor.
Remixing from a number of traditions, Miller cuts between cultural historians like McLuhan, Andreas Huyssens, Richard Hofstadter, an avant-garde viz art perspective (from early modernists like Gertrude Stein and Tzara to a playful Fluxus mindset), and the glorious kissing cousins of modernism: jazz and futurism. Called a media philosopher, mixologist, illbient prophet, conceptual artist, Miller is a self-proclaimed musical futurist—-to which I say yeah! let’s hear it for dizzying speed, noise and thrum, shiny chrome, and the beautiful mayhem of simultaneity. Like another turntablist-turned-conceptualist, Christian Marclay, Miller navigates with a broad cultural compass.
Posted by: Levi Hanes
I knew I was in trouble when the interim screen was a projection of a burning candle in close up. The image looked like an abstract motion of color, but it soon was obvious what the image was. Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR [as his bio refers to him]) had a few moments of this abstracted cliche image in his show. The video displayed vaguely abstract images of nostalgic travelogue accompanied by music of familiar folk passages and harmonic dissonance.
Our Paul D. Miller Marathon
DJ Spooky Lecture at W+K, Friday
Listen to mix-CD DJ Spooky gave us a lecture, Friday
ReBirth of a Nation, Friday
Midnight at The Works (pinch hitting for absent Tokyolab), Friday
Noontime chat with Miller et al, Saturday at PNCA
Multnomah County Library to check out Rhythm Science
–posted by Lisa Radon
“Swim like an ocean in the fish of the media”
Paul D. Miller lectures the way he works, pulling from numerous sources, making references both obscure and un- from Eadweard Muybridge (who in early 1900s pioneered stop motion photography) to Joseph Beuys, to Italian Futurist, Luigi Russolo, author of the Art of Noise. His non-linearity and web-like thinking, jumping from node-to-node, making connections, tangent-ing, looping, is the ideal analogue to his music and method of composition.
8 hours of TBA: Serious and Seriously Fun Art
Yesterday was a near wintery Portland, but when you’re busy with Time Based Arts there is almost no time to pay attention to the weather.
I walked into the Guild before 6pm yesterday in time to catch Hans Weigand’s Jerry Cotton: The Portland Episodes. The film itself was a creepy, hip, stalker killing movie with the backdrop of Raymond Pettibon’s art work, gorgeous architecture, Austrian mountains, Tijuana’s gorgeous urbanity, and amazing, funny killers. To think about galleries all the world over as being fronts for killing mayhem, hit men, and achetypal “artsy fartsy” behavior (like a man licking his walking stick and gurgling), and truly makes the art world look a lot more spooky, goofy, and serious.
Speaking of serious, hearing and reading about the racism that actualized within the events of rescue and evacuation of New Orleans makes viewing and recounting DJ Spooky’s (aka Paul Miller) well planned re-edit of D.W. Griffiths Birth of a Nation even more pertinent.
How lucky we all are that Rebirth of a Nation was performed and played for a packed theater.
Throughout his re-edit, a white circuit grows over many of the frames, around faces, over faces, framing the film’s self proclaimed, “ideal woman.” I interpreted the circuit to be the moving force of racism: that like Griffith’s film claiming that the introduction of blacks to American planted the “seed of disunion,” but perhaps, as Miller introduced this he included the fact that this KKK recruitment film was the first ever to be shown in the White House, was it this film and other racist propoganda that propogated racism this way, and was Birth of a Nation a seed in and of itself that grows, like Miller’s white circuit grows, while ultimately be detroyed by the destruction, and post modern reinterpretation of the propoganda, and that by showing the film in it’s new form, the film takes on new and opposite meaning, ultimately reversing the original intent, and the seeds of UNION are planted?
Making one’s way from Newburg to the wonderfully awesome The Works sort of garden party/meet and greet/musical event is a truly wonderful cap to a good day of art and intellect. Of course the finale at the end of the evening with the Come Together event broadcasting “the ultimate guru” on a screen, and watching a group of cult leaders and followers mimic each other on a stage, shaking bells, hooting, hollering, playing tape loops embedded in their clothing, and stomping on the floor was the culmination in a celebration of life and living. I’m sure it looked like a big party, and it really was.
Posted by Amy Vecchione
Bruce McClure Program 1: Crib and Sift Series (Parts 1-4) Saturday September 10, 2005 4PM
“This is Art?- Bruce McClure
I’m reminded of an English Turner Prize winner in 2002 where the art piece was an empty room in which the lights turned on and off. Ironically the piece was called “Lights turning on and off.” And the winner of the installation piece took home £20,000 and a new found fame. All that I took away from this piece, at the time, was “What is art?” I find myself asking this again of Bruce McClure and wondering what he would have to say about the matter.
Let me try to describe this collection of films as best I can. I’m sitting in the Guild Theatre surrounded by other excited TBA film goers when Bruce gets up to introduce his work. “It’s not until the work comes into a room full of people that it comes to life”, he says. Now I’m really excited and I can tell the rest of the theatre is too. The lights go dark and an image comes up on the screen. It’s colorful and at first reminds me of cells dividing under a microscope. I think to myself that this must just be the set up and I wait for the real action to start. And I wait, and I wait and I wait some more. About five minutes in, it hits me that this is it. During this waiting time, I’m also waiting for the sound to change to something more manageable. It sounds like we are in a cockpit of a Cessna 152 with no headphones or ear-plugs. The sounds of the whirring engine just get louder and louder until I think my eardrums are going to implode.
DJ Spooky: Rebirth of a Nation- Friday September 9, 2005
Chillin’ in a Spooky living room
I’m not so sure where to start. Could it be that I loved this performance because of the amazing man that came out on stage and obviously put his heart and soul into the work he was performing? Or was it the fact that he was playing some amazing beats and I can’t believe I’m the only person in my row that seems to want to stand up and dance like no one’s watching? I realize this would have been inappropriate due to the subject matter on the screens, but still I can’t get the rhythm out of my blood. So instead I calmly bob my head, tap my foot and let out a silent scream every time the bass drops back in. In addition it’s very dark in the theatre and so I let my pen write down whatever comes to mind without seeing if I’m even hitting the paper below it. I’m transfixed in a manner of speaking.
The Works is absolutely the place to be. Pass it on.
Not only is it a very, very fun spot to lean against the railing and chat with your friends or network with highly interesting folks, it is also a very stylish venue. Namely, Slow Dance Recyttal knocked my socks off.
1. set = glowing crystal orbs
2. outfits = hooded druid marching band
3. music = pied piper sound system
4. animation = hidden camera into the iridescent insect world
A good time was had by all.
Posted by Amber Bell
Posted by Amber Bell
I don’t think there’s anything more captivating than people’s real stories. I love a good story. Guy Dartnell delivered it. It wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t outrageous. It was clear, real, and from the heart. The story itself was complimented by a sparse set (one chair) and carefully designed lighting. My favorite moment was a bed created by a rectangle of light hitting the back wall of the stage. Guy, standing in the light, cosied up vertically as if under the covers. At another moment, Guy pulls out a map of Northern France from his pocket, just to show us where he’s headed on his journey. It was so relaxing and so engaging to watch such a lo-fi work of performance art. Paper and light technology. That’s my speed.
posted by: Kirsten Collins
Guy Dartnell’s Improvised Storytelling was attended by a varied crowd. Some seasoned performers, some novices, the naturally outgoing, the not-so-naturally outgoing. The workshop suited everyone.
We introduced ourselves, played a few rounds of tag, and then we made-up stories. The workshop was gentle, taking us through one basic exercise one step at a time. To recreate this workshop at your next dinner party or summer job as camp counselor, here is the play by play:
9/10/05 1pm Corberry Press
Posted by Patrick Sullivan
We met in a large round space with nothing in it but a toilet in the middle of the stage, which Guy encouraged us to ignore. I’d only showed up to this thing to photograph it, because I’m afraid of being on stage and being put on the spot. But Guy Dartnell is a soothing guy and I decided that I’d feel silly hanging around the edges, and I could shoot photos and do this at the same time. After some name exercises and a couple of tag-you’re-it games to loosen up. We spent the next two hours playing the same game in different ways – we would pair up with another participant, hold on to each other, and tell a story by trading off words as if we were one storyteller. One word apiece, back and forth, and a story would flow out.
Posted by Amber Bell
Just in case you were wondering what you should be doing tonight, if you should go see Guy Dartnell. I went to his storytelling workshop this afternoon, and was inspired by his simple reminders of how to create an interesting story. To me, how to tell a good story = how to make a good life. According to Guy Dartnell, allow the positive to happen. If there’s a door in front of you, don’t allow it to be locked. Let it be open. Allow yourself to arrive and really be in the place where you are. Instead of landing in an airport, then flying off to the moon, land in the airport, and then find out what happens if you let yourself really be there. Don’t shut out the possibilities by manufacturing mechanisms to protect yourself. Don’t destroy what you create. Storytelling advice. Life advice. From Guy Dartnell. I haven’t seen his performance yet, but if his charisma and knowledge translate into his own work, it will be good.
Birth of a Nation
posted by Gavin Shettler
Wow, that was incredible! Mesmerizing. Such sensory over load. Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, takes us on an audio and visual tour of this silent film classic, Birth of a Nation. “The first movie ever viewed in the White House,” Miller tells us before his performance. Everything is live: Miller composes and improvises both music and video through a bank of wires and monitors, as a tryptic of video screens whirl the night mares of The Civil War and Reconstruction behind him. The film is cut and spliced, some times drifting into nonlinear patterns. But don’t worry, DJ Spooky is in total control. With haunting beats and eery mixes, Miller pounds the audience with racist images of Clansmen on horses and statements like “I wanted to marry a white woman.” Through out the film, Miller also employs iconography. First, of semi chip circuits continually growing, becoming complete. The machine of slavery and racism is growing, thriving, even today. Another reoccurring image is of a dancer, continually taking a bow, continually ending, yet the dance is inescapable. It goes on and on.
DJ Spooky hits us hard with the lessons of the foundations that this nation has been built on–the machine that was honed by greed and selfishness. Its result is the racism that still infects our country today. DJ Spooky is one of the great artists of our time. Pushing the ideas of musical composition, club dance and video, video art and performance. Spooky is not afraid to bare his teeth and produce work with real depth and relevance. Particularly to our lily white city. Hypnotic and engaging, DJ Spooky is not to be missed, except by the two girls sitting next to me (I think they thought they were going to a dance party).
Guy Dartnell: Travels with my Virginity Friday September 9, 2005
“Everything sounds better with a British accent.”
Is it just me, or does everything sound more romantic when said with a British accent?
It’s true, I may be a bit biased being an American girl who is easily charmed with the sophistication of an accent, but honestly I was enthralled in Guy’s storytelling. It was less about the way he walked around using the lights and the chair to help emphasize the story and more about the way he just told it. He’s a brilliant storyteller and you can tell he’s been telling this one for a very long time. Surprisingly, and to our advantage, he still makes it interesting.
I most enjoyed his humor even when the subject matter was less than funny. There’s nothing funny about the French man who seems to be sleeping with his daughter but Guy make the situation light hearted in a sort of, “We have to laugh at it, ‘cause we can’t cry about it.” way.
STREB: Thursday September 8, 2005
A Great turnout or Giant head in my way or Man vs. the machine.
It never fails; I always get stuck behind the people who are at least six
feet tall with kids on their shoulders. This time was no different, except
the six foot tall person was a photographer. Where the action moved- his
head followed. Oh the agony!!! Regardless, I heard the first three parts
of STREB which I though was sort of an interesting way to experience the
action. I could hear their calls of “Right! “ “Center “ “Left “ and
such as they attempted to fly off the trampoline. This was followed shortly by a
loud thudding noise which the crowd seems to gasp in horror at but secretly
I think they loved it.
Travels with my Virginity
posted by Gavin Shetter
In the tradition of the Spalding Grey monologue, Guy Dartnell weaves a personal tale of himself as a 19 year old, wannabe hippie on a quest to loose his virginity. He tells us of his adventures hitch hiking across France on a quest to find love and his manhood. His travels go awry right from the start with strange and even dangerous encounters with those who give him rides along the way.
Dartnell tells his story, clearly, and from an obviously experienced actor’s sense of timing and delivery. His story rings true, particularly to the male psyche that has experienced that sense of adolescent angst and bewilderment about the female creature and all her mysteries.
Dartnell delivers an enjoyable and entertaining story, yet, some how lacking in its engagement. It continually felt like he had complied a bunch of great party antidotes, yet wasn’t at the party. His delivery never quite totally immersed you in his world. There was a sense of shyness about the actor’s performance. Maybe Dartnell’s story telling would have found that extra punch if he would of had a few stiff drinks in him. But for something light, like an appetizer or a salad, Travels with my Virginity was just fine. I was hungry though…I wanted meat!
PINKK aka Laura Curry and her gang are trying to collect your stories, through the barrier of storefront windows, track her down and tell her yours. updates at www.pinkk.net
Thurs 9/08 – 9/11 – Nordstrom (performance)
Thurs 9/08 – Pioneer Square (Kiosk)
Friday 9/09 Vodoo Donut (Kiosk)
Sat 9/10 – Sun 18th – Office (ongoing media)
Tues 9/13 – Jamison Square (Kiosk)
Wed 9/14 – Willamette Week (performance) T
Thurs 9/15 – Ecotrust (Kiosk)
Fri 9/16 – Office 7-11PM (Kiosk and Performers)
Sat 9/17 – 9/23 – Office (Kiosk)
Sat 9/18- The Works (Kiosk)
Posted By Amber Bell
DJ Spooky’s hands were incredible. When he held the microphone, when he described his thoughts on storytelling and the hidden links of history, his hands were elegantly gesticulating, making rhythms in the air. Then he got down to business. His hands were the sweetest tools, and he treated them with that much respect. Even behind his wall of technology, you could see his hands at work. Every once in a while, he would raise them up to his mouth. It almost looked like he was kissing them, paying reverence to them. Understandably so.
Swung by the Mostlandian Embassy yesterday. As it was apparently the holiday of Zahnpasta, they were officially closed, but luckily, the Jr. Ambassor Ice Cream was there and offered us ice cream! Choice of flavors? Maple & Bacon, Yam & Marshmellow, Milkshake ‘n French Fry, Strawberries and Ginger Snaps, and Emergen-C ice cream. There were full-size french fries in the milkshake ice cream. No one ordered bacon.
Each night the Mostlandian anthem will be played by a different musician/group. We asked the Jr. Ambassador about the score. “There has to be some kind of drone sound. There has to be clapping…oh, and a drum solo.”
We go back Monday to fill out the paperwork for passports. Oh, and to check out the rest of the services/bureaucratic departments for which we saw placards above the four service windows, including The What to Say Program, Holiday Planning and Approval Panel, High Fives!, and the Departments of Questionables and Great Ideas.
As told by TBA:04 star volunteer turned star PICA Staffer Brian Costello:
A young boy, 8 years old or so, sitting to the right of me watched STREB and as the cross beam went higher and higher and the performers kept “falling” off, the boy got more tense and nervous. As the beam raised slowly, the the kid blurted out, “THAT’S CRAZY! DON’T DO IT!” but remained transfixed and his mouth agape and his eyes shined with wonder as the performer gave into the law of gravity.
Kristy told a story at the staff meeting today about how one of the square’s original bricklayers came up to her and said that he didn’t like coming to the square as much any more because it was often being used to showcase a new car or flower shows but tonight gave him hope. This was what the square was made for.
Tell us your TBA Stories. Post comments, leave notes, if you post something really great we will get it on the main page.
posted by Rob McMahon
It has always seemed to me that the measure of a good story teller is his ability to captivate the audience. Well, count me captivated. In spite of the personal parallels, and the attempted flights of my mind into the recesses of memory, I could not let my thoughts wander for more than a few seconds for fear of missing any piece of Dartnell engaging tale.
Delivered on a bare stage save for a chair, and with minimal props (a few books and a pen), Dartnell transports you to the sides of freeways, the insides of peoples’ cars, and the dinner tables of strangers. Painted entirely with gestures and postures, facial expression and voice tones, he carries us with him through his misadventures in northern France trying his darndest to get laid.
Dartnell becomes the characters he meets along the way, remains himself at age 19, and still has room to editorialize as his present self with 20/20 hindsight. In so doing he illuminates that elusive search for a thing so desperately wanted, so fantastical in nature, and so laiden with hope, that in the moment it can be nothing but a frustration and a disappointment.
“Travels with my Virginity” is an everyman’s Odyssey. It’s moments are full of tension and fear, desperation and humor; they are pregnant with the giddy excitement of possibility. At times Dartnell is selfish and mean, at others, unbareablly polite. He is whatever the situation demands him to be in service of his end. And for all his struggles that end still elludes him, elludes him until life deems fit and it occurs without any effort whatsoever. And when it does it prooves that it is just one of many things that we monumentalize, something on which we hang the mantle of cure-all, hoping beyond hope that it’s attainment will finally make us whole, comfortable, and well forever.
“Travels” is a beautifully crafted, well told tale that bursts at the seams with humanity, and Dartnell is an enratpuring personality. I would, however, be remiss if I failed to give due credit to the lightning designer, Colin Grenfell, for so effectively conveying mood and location through light. Dartnell is masterfully aided by Grenfell’s work. Also of great service to the piece is the soundtrack provided by Dartnell’s classic rock icons (some of mine as well. Oh, Jim, when will you come and save us?)
If you have ever been young and in pursuit of anything, “Travels with my Virginity” is a must see. Playing again tonight in the Winningstad at 7:30 for the last time in town, make sure you get there early to claim your seat.
posted by Mel Favara
Flinging their bodies like careful rag dolls, the Streb dancers made use of the stuff of gimmick—bungee cords, hula hoops, and extreme sports attire. But their whimsy, the merriment of their orchestrated play, was the whimsy of Walt Whitman—underlined with an awareness of death and danger, and the skill and spirit of the performance outstripped the props that made it possible.
In one piece, the dancers wandered the stage, seemingly oblivious to the concrete blocks that ponderously swung on cords among them, averting collision by less than seconds, thumping to the ground just ahead of injury. As a viewer, I couldn’t help but think of the surface tension life has that prevents most accidents, but not all, at the last second. Children jumping from the second story window for fun, and to see if they could.
Many of the dances featured falls—pratfalls, slips, swan-dives from catwalks. In the opening, dancers simply lined up and took turns diving to the mat, the ponderous thump of their landings saying this too hurts, and is significant. Some blew kisses as their bodies descended, a graceful generosity in the pantomime of self-annihilation. Goodbye and goodbye again! shouted the bodies of each performer, rising from the stage to contort, touch one another, and climb the scaffolding again toward whatever might next befall them.
Posted by Annie Robb 9-9-05
As we filed into the W+K atrium, the music was bumping but at 11 am I noticed only about a half dozen heads among many perched on the bleachers nodding to Brothers Gonna Work it Out mixed in to the multi-layered beats and samples playing from DJ Spooky’s powerbook. He seems a mellow character, with a quick wit and notably long, elegant fingers working the turntables.
Paul Miller’s discussion didn’t feel like a formal lecture, but rather a basic introduction to a way of thinking about DJ and hip-hop culture in the context of our media and pop-culture savvy world, as well as within our current political climate. He attempted to “unpack DJing” with its layers of allegory and allusion, shared memory, and its presence as an art form. That Subliminal Kid touched on many interrelated issues and implications of the art and referred to it many times as a sculptural form employing a collage technique (of sampling). He placed the artistic use of electronic means to alter pre-existing/found material in an historical and political context. He touched on the presence of hip-hop as a postmodern art form accessible to people in a much different context (the club) from most other contemporary arts forms, though they have much else in common such as re-appropriation, reuse, multi-media and electronic tools and modes.
He discussed briefly the role of DJ as collector-editor-creator, context versus content, our “information ecology” and more (and more).
As an artist, Paul Miller goes beyond sound into a multi-media event, fully marrying the visual with the aural. He showed a smart, politically conscious video with an emcee (Distorted Mindz?) rhyming to beats while images rapidly emerged from his lips along with his words to play with meaning and metaphor.
paul miller/dj spooky lecture
posted by laura becker
so…i remember that last year when i wrote my first posting for the blog i had just watched monstersquad and i was thinking about the themes of water running throughout the festival. and it was pouring at the time. well now we’re dealing with the effects of katrina, and though i’m not going to try to connect too many distant thoughts, it did come to mind as i listened to dj spooky’s lecture. but i’ll get back to that.
paul miller, aka etc., was an interesting first event for me for this year’s TBA. i didn’t join the throngs of people last night for streb (i don’t do throngs very well) so i didn’t pick up on that festival-forcefield-surge i can tell is floating in the air around the people who were there. my introduction, in the quasi-corporate/academic setting of the w+k atrium was just fine though. i’m still the art history nerd with my notepad trying to catch every quotable phrase i hear and hoping that i will eventually write the most interesting comments of cultural criticism. and paul didn’t disappoint. he is very clearly informed in cinema and music history and eloquently describes his processes and passions. but i have a feeling that all his references to his work – words being visual metaphors, sampling as social sculpture, and using media as his palette – will resonate more for me as i get deeper into the festival. it seems like if this festival winds up having a theme for me, it may be simply the performance versions of mixed media and the tension of the live and the recorded performance. that certainly wound up being part of the description of a lot of the events i wound up picking, and i didn’t realize it until i listed them all together. although these days it’s probably impossible for something not to be mixed media.
Posted by Amber Bell
Having just moved here, Kristy Edmunds’ farewell was also my introduction to Portland. Standing in the crowd of thousands last night in Pioneer square, I felt welcomed. Listening to heartfelt descriptions of Kristy’s decade of work with PICA made me fully appreciate what I am being offered as a newcomer to this city; a vibrant, action packed art scene where I am invited to participate. Incredible.
Also incredible was the performance that followed the multimedia tribute to Kristy.
STREB. Seven bodies, throwing themselves into the air and falling to the earth. Seven stunningly built bodies, using every muscle. Defining the laws of physics with superpowered demonstrations.
Dancers yelled cues to each other, creating a language for their own game of human interaction. At times they were like school kids, swinging on the bars, mimicking movements, climbing and jumping from the highest point possible. At other times, they were graceful air swimmers, soaring and diving. At all times they were powerful, precise, and in tune with each other. A smooth running machine.
Speaking of machines, Streb used a lot of fancy equipment. A gigantic trampoline was simultaneously an understated prop and a vital necessity. Bungee cords, mammoth elastic straps, and concrete blocks swinging as pendulums were less understated, but equally vital to the pieces. All sets were scaled to accommodate an audience of 7,000.
The performance spanned from goofy to dangerous, touching at various times on both breathtaking and claustrophobic. It was so acrobatically captivating that it was easy to be absorbed by subject matter that was straightforward, even if it was a glossary on the laws of physics.
STREB was a sensational way to begin ten days of what I anticipate to be phenomenal performances. I can’t wait.
Elizabeth STREB refers to herself as an “Action Architect” a term that makes the body shift in response. My six year old, like many of the thousands of people in Pioneer Courthouse Square gathered in celebration of art, TBA and the truly inimitable Kristy Edmunds, wiggled his body and stared with wide eyes as a woman flung, glided, and spun among her action companions—all this while strapped to a metal girder straight out of a dream in which the Teen Titans and George Balanchine build a skyscraper and conquer the world. A conversation ensued as to whether the dancers seemed more like astronauts, divers, or bicyclists. “Are they men or women?” my son wondered. “Neither! Both!” we decided.
What was so beautifully peculiar and joyous to this observer—in addition to the exquisite control of the dancers’ bodies colliding and passing through space—occurred as the troupe responded to each other’s nuances, moving from one action to another: the slap and turn of a body on a mat; a performer’s smile upon emerging from a flip; the barely audible (or loud!) vocalized directions; the side-long glances cast while tracking movements—taunting catastrophe.
And these tiny, transitional gestures echoed the smiles, shifting bodies, and meandering paths of the audience. They moved, we moved; they smiled, we smiled.
What a perfect expression of the collaboration, risk taking, and grace that grew PICA into the organization that it is now, and that will continue to shape it into the future.
Cooley Art Gallery, Reed College
I’m C.R. Tonight was the kick-off TBA event for me and most of Portland, and it brought down the house. TBA has been a bit of a well-kept secret in my circle of friends, and I have spent almost as much time explaining the nature of TBA as singing its praises. Friends have been boggled by PICA advertising (what are all the acronyms? why is that woman weighing her head? Is it live? Isn’t all art time based?) and I haven’t had a clear answer (it’s Japanese dancers wearing white on white stages, it’s choreography in pools at the Hilton, it’s midnight parties with marching bands…) but tonight I think Portland got a taste of how fun and accessible TBA can be.
Over 6000 people crammed into Pioneer Square for Steb’s gravity defying performance. Where were you?
Physics met the physical as the company’s dancers slammed, slid and flew into each other. I could hear equal amount wow and owww emanating from the crowd . At some moments complete silence prevailed as dancers walked the rafters taking a swan dive into the mats far below.
Speaking of swans tonight was also Kristy Edmunds farewell party-her swan song was sweet – as we thanked her for ten years of extraordinary vision she reminded us it is and always will be the vision of artists that leads us all. So as we collide into the third annual TBA festival – let the artists guide us towards a better, grander, glowing future.
Fri Sept 9 is a night of firsts, from Guy Dartnell to DJ Spooky get ready set and go go go go go. Tickets 10-20 bucks info and more at 503-224-PICA
AND! AND! AND!-due to circumstances beyond our control opening night at the WORKS has had a ambush makeover, W+K Tokyo Lab will take the back seat to Fryk the Beat with the new line up featuring DJ Jayanta, Copy, DJ Hot Air Balloon, E*Rock + Y.A.C.H.T and DJ Spooky who closes the night with a super not so secret set. More info @ www.frykbeat.com
The action starts at 10 and goes way past your bedtime. Tickets at the door 5-10 bucks, 18th and NW Northrup
STREB TONIGHT – *8pm Pioneer Square- FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Everyone is welcome, invited and encouraged- see bodies flying and colliding above you and if that is not enough for you – there is a party afterwards where bodies will be flying and colliding into some cold beer and hot tunes. or something like that.
AGAIN- FREE- TONIGHT- 8PM- MAGICAL PERFORMANCE FREAK OUT
News from the UK hits TBA today like a heart-attack and the WW special section is now available on every street corner- MEOW.
Guy Dartnell is on his way to PDX for his one man show Travels with my Virginity the Guardian(UK) and the WW (PDX) share their views today
“a very pleasant 85 minutes…..He tells his story with such a lack of guile
that you get a pimples-and-all portrait of a self-obsessed callow youth, who
is, as he says with 25 years’ worth of hindsight, “so different from me, yet
so clearly me… This is a show about the panic of learning to be a grown-up, finding the balance between recklessness and timidity and discovering that things seldom turn out quite as you had
imagined they would.”
vs. Portland’s own Richard Speer from WW
“Think of it as Little Darlings, Continental-style, except without Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol. A teenager, desperate to lose his virginity, hitchhikes across France, hoping to get picked up in as many ways as possible. Madcap adventures ensue, with loony-bin inmates and lounge-lizard kidnappers as roadblocks to successful defloration. Will our hero, Guy Dartnell, emerge from the melee with his wits intact but his cherry popped? “
Looks like Antony strikes again winning the coveted Mercury Prize beating out every Brit in the running. Antony says…I am completely overwhelmed,” “I think they must have made a mistake. I think that is insane.” “… trying to pick between such different nominees must have been like choosing between an “orange and a spaceship and a potted plant.”
Posted by: Levi Hanes
I had the opportunity to attend the STREB workshop this morning. My fears of potential forced participation were alleviated as I stammered something about being with the PICA Press Corp. Thanks to PICA’s Eugenie I was ushered to the side of the mat just as Elizabeth Streb began her introduction. I have watched some dance rehersals while in college and have been to a few performances so although I move like a spasmodic on the dance floor I can appreciate what the participants’ experience. Streb’s teaching approach was relaxed, congratulatory, and encouraging with an emphasis on the dancer finding their own means to perform the actions. Some notes on the difference from other dance forms I have seen is the STREB’s emphasis on surprise. Rather than leading into a move Streb emphasized muscle tension and quick motions. The body was encouraged to move as full planes, face parallel with shoulders, hips, etc. Instead of the head turning towards the direction the body was to move or the arms swinging into motion, or a crouch to launch a jump, the motions had a taught, muscular snap of a spring set loose.
Talking to PICA volunteer Alexis after the session she pointed out that the impact of the moves took some getting used to. Imagine the body in positions of planes landing with impressive thumps on mats.
The STREB workshop was definitely aimed at participants who had previous dance experience or just a crap load of gumption (neither of which I have), but I felt I gathered a unique insight into tomorrow’s performance. Had I participated I think the experience would have been far richer. A tip for tomorrow: don’t blink. There are some seriously quick moves of near impossible feats and the STREB folks intend to give you no warning.
See you there.
Do you like to send text messages on your phone? Are you excited about the TBA? Then we have a little social experiment we want to try out.
Text based chat!
If you send a text message to “[email protected]” with the words, “join tba” then you will be added to the TBA chat. Then any message sent to “[email protected]” by a member of the TBA chat will get sent to everyone who signs up. So you can tell people if something is amazing, or running late, or whatever you want to share.
You can read more about it from Josh or Dodgeball.com. (make sure you have free incoming text messages!)
Posted by: Rob McMahon
It’s the night before the night before. Christmas eve eve for Portland art lovers.
I spent the afternoon in Wallace Park hammering out the final details of my mad schedule for the coming festival. As with the previous two years, I will make a point to cram in every possible viewing. Pouring meticulously over the festival guide, I calibrated my schedule to maximize efficiency. That is: how long is a show + how long will it take me to walk to the next venue / how big that venue is x the probable turnout to that 2nd or 3rd show of the evening = what I will likely do on any given night.
I’m not fond of math. But for art it’s worth it.
And what art it is! This year’s festival, bursting with local, national, and global acts will challenge and push us to new levels of thought and emotion. For me, TBA is a much needed artistic reprieve. It succeeds, at least for a time, at quenching my thirst for expansive, quality performance. And more importantly, it creates an atmosphere of creative discourse in a city whose committment to modern art is questionable at best.
For 10 days it is easy to believe that art is the most important thing in the world, that it makes life worth living. And that’s true, even if it’s hard to remember on the other three hundred and fifty five days.
My hat is off to PICA and to Kristy for making it all possible with her vision and labor. And my thanks go to all the staff, volunteers and artists who make the festival happen. It’s a hell of a lot of work, so don’t hesitate to let them know you’re grateful.
Yes, you, who are reading this in the quiet of your home or the bustle of some wifi hotspot. Know that you are not alone in your love for this thing.
And know that I’m looking forward to seeing you out there; to the conversations we will have walking between PSU and the Newmark theater, or over tacos and tea, of beauty and life; why it is that the way a dancer holds her arm, or how a storyteller turns a phrase can change the way we look at our place in the world; and better than why, to marvel at how it has been done by our simple surrender to the moment that art hits us, penetrating every cell in our bodies like sunrise.
Dearest People of UrHo and beyond,
A festival is about to x-plode all over the place. Evidence of this can be found almost everywhere in town. (and out of town – see the mighty article on TBA Artist Antony and the Johnsons from todays NYT below…) Your invited of course- there are lots of free to the public events- and for those of you who want to attend more than that- volunteer. It is easy good stuff with many rewards like that ” i just did something selfless” feeling and that ” i just got free tickets” feeling. email [email protected] or visit TBA Central on 11th and Glisan NW to sign up.
Ok now read about this beautiful warbling man who will be performing right here during TBA…
Posted by Laura Becker 6.19.2005
i have had a lot on my mind lately, increasingly, in fact since the last time we all posted on this blog. i feel like it’s sort of been one long down hill since last september – the election, the tsunami, the continuing quagmire that is our foreign policy, the terri schiavo rouse to disregard separation of church and state, the increasing attacks on same-sex couples, non-believers, independent thinkers, medical marijuana users, and in general everyone who still believes that our personal freedom and choice is a given. i’ve felt mad, i’ve felt lost, and i’ve even felt radical, and mostly i’ve just tried to remember how lucky i am to be in portland and surrounded by friendly free thinkers like me. all of this is getting to a pica-relevant point.
this past weekend’s opening festivities for LANDMARK and kick-off of the TBA anticipation season had a simultaneously calming and jostling effect on me. the calming came in the form of expression. this city has a lot of art to offer, and maybe i just don’t get to as much as i should, but i can’t remember ever feeling so embraced by work that was vaguely unsettling but just plain pretty at the same time. every piece evoked such beauty and balance (even when it was being spewed) and i felt lucky to be in its company. it felt like a family reunion, every piece knowing just how to communicate with you in a way strangers don’t, knowing just how to make you feel at home. from mike slack’s polaroids to hans weigand’s tapestry, each work spoke my language, or at least the language i want to speak. a language without reservation, without injury, without shame, with confidence, with revelation, and with insight. a language that to me feels threatened and that i no longer feel like we can take for granted. this was my jostling, my activation, my surge.
part of this motivation in me is inspired by my thoughts about kristy edmunds, as we approach the eve of her departure. i wasn’t here when PICA began, but in my head i imagine that she got this language started or at least engaged here and that she put the vocabulary in place, and at that time, i doubt she could ever have imagined correctly what her life would be like personally and professionally 10 years later. i know that melbourne’s gain doesn’t mean our loss in terms of PICA and the impact it’s had for our arts community in these last years, but to me it is a warning. while this nation’s open door and open mind policy seems to be closing at the speed of light, melbourne seems to offer kristy, her family, and her career an easier and more universal acceptance.
this landmark is not just about pieces on a wall or projections on a screen. kristy and PICA and portland itself have been the architects of this, but their design is not set in stone. what we build from now on and how we preserve what we’ve built and keep it from being bulldozed is the landscape we must protect. for now, let’s celebrate these last 10 years and anticipate the approaching 10 days, and let’s not take one minute of it for granted.
PICA is about the activity generated by a community using its energy.
And so is this place- or this space that i am in right now. The PICA blog has existed for the past two years – mainly as a running record of the artists, performances and happenings during our Time-Based Art Festival. This year thanks to the wonders of Urban Honking we will move the blog over and out into a better brighter place. Pretty soon we will have over 20 artists and writers and photographers documenting the Festival but right now…
PICA is ten years old. We have a show up – like a timeline of sorts. It’s called LANDMARK.
Landmark is about the work generated by artists that have lived within, hobered above, existed in-between, landed on top of, catapulted out from, and left their mark on PICA and Portland. It is a look forward and back. It is the sum of parts, It is a history animated and static. It is a chronology of support and collaboration. It is about promoting the ideas and intensity of artists for over a decade.
The Landmark exhibition is open to the public W-S 12-6pm, it is 450 feet of wall and work on the third floor of a still delightfully raw warehouse space on 13th and Flanders. It is on the third floor.
The exhibition is FREE to members and a suggested donation of 2 bucks for everyone else. WE WILL NOT TURN ANYONE AWAY. So if you want to see the art. Then come visit us.
Every Saturday at 2pm Brad Adkins takes you and a can of paint for a walk, this cover version of the infamous Francis Alys performance is a long yellow streak down the spine of the pearl (and beyond)
LANDMARK is open until July 16th.
It has been TEN YEARS since Kristy Edmunds convinced a small group of friends and a small town to open their hearts to the new and untried, the strange and the beautiful and the possibilities that lie in supporting the work of artists. She founded PICA in 1995 when she was 29 years old. Ten years later, with the circle of friends, artists, audiences in the thousands, and our town not-so-small or small-minded, it is time to move forward without her. As we send her off to her new home in Melbourne, Australia we want to remind her how she changed the creative landscape here, how she moved us, and most of all to thank her for making all of this inspired activity real.
If you had an inspired moment at PICA in an audience, on stage, in the resource room, at a lecture, in those famous DADA Ball port o’ potties, we want to hear about it. Tell us your stories and leave a note for Kristy wishing her well, thanking her for her words and her way.