by carl wilson

Onward Christian Marclay


Christian Marclay has an exhibit on at the Barbican in London that surveys the Swiss-American artist's quarter-century conceptual dance on the border between art and music, from the most extreme kind of turntable improvisation - not so much inspired by hip-hop as coincident with it - to creating whimsical objects like a drum set too gigantic for a human being to play or a pillow woven out of tapes of the complete works of the Beatles. Next week, as part of the exhibition, Marclay will do a live performance of this fantastic thing he made in the '90s, called Graffiti Composition - he posted hundreds of blank sheets of music-composing paper around Berlin and invited the public to mark them up with notes, words, images, whatever they pleased. Marclay took photos of all of them (about 800) and then selected the 150 he found most interesting, which became the "score." Next Tuesday, March 22, he's performing it with Steve Beresford. (As I found out via this piece in the Telegraph.) One of the things I did this weekend was to see the new production of Darren O'Donnell's Suicide Site Guide to the City, and in the discussion afterwards there was some consideration of how a performer can have a more significant human encounter with an audience - one of the subjects of the play, which I very much encourage you to see - without falling into an unrigorous, sixties-happening 'vibe.' Marclay's Berlin project offers its own model of such an exchange, though one at a greater remove. I also think of Toronto turntablist Mike Hansen's Itch performances, in which he distributed turntables to the audience and turned them into a collective orchestra, and New York group Improv Everywhere's very cool sounding "MP3 Experiment," in which the audience is the show, following a performance score that is playing for each of them on headphones. It's a very simple score - they dance, blow bubbles, hug, and the like - but still seems like a hugely fun way to spend an evening. And I could imagine somebody like O'Donnell taking it in more unexpected directions, entwining it with more of a narrative or other sorts of manipulations rather than just making it a little party. But also making it a little party. (The problem of how to create more interesting parties seems quite as legitimate as how to create more enjoyable art.)

Which reminds me to mention that a week from tonight will bring the first Trampoline Hall Lecture Series show of 2005, and the first one since Mrs. Zoilus quit running it in December, three years after she made up the idea. Trampoline Hall has always tried to locate itself somewhere in "the space between a party and a show." This one is March 21 at Sneaky Dee's, as TH resumes its usual monthly schedule. This show is being curated by Buffy Childerhose, and will include lectures on names, children's books and American farm subsidies, all by people with no qualification to address those subjects, followed by questions from the audience. As usual I will be working the door; as usual you'd be wise to get advance tickets.

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, March 14 at 3:36 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)



It's certainly nice to see Nomeansno mentioned in the 50 tracks context and though I agree with Sir Wilson's assessment of why a track from the seminal Wrong is important, but I must disagree with the track selection. I think the song Sex Mad (1986 Canada/1987 US) more aptly reflects why Nomeansno can be considered the most important of the post-punk brethren to emerge from the Great White North. I fondly remember running into Ann Arbour's post punk lords Big Chief on London in the fall of '91, the year punk broke, and being asked who the hell is Nomeansno and why are they headlining over Fugazi in front of 10,000 people in Germany?

Anyway...Sex Mad the album, really established Nomeansno as a punk band with a difference. It was also the first release with Andy Kerr, a welcomed addition that helped the Wright brothers really fly. Some of you might remember the live show at the Sibony club in 1988, a characteristic Rob Ben fish-eye pic of Kerr that graced the cover of Montreal's Rear Garde magazine. That is among the greatest concerts I ever attended.

Posted by Phil on March 22, 2005 1:15 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson