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complete catalog of "alternative" art spaces: Artists Space, The Clocktower, Fashion Moda, Franklin Furnace, Grommet Art Studio, White Columns, Alternative Museum, Creative Time, and P.S. 1. The individual artists who hailed from all over France showed a vitality and idiosyncratic originality that suggests a real crossfertilization between New York and French performance sensibility. For example, the performance by Joelle Leandre, a talented bass player who displayed an affection for as well as knowledge of her instrument, contained aspects that seemed somehow quaint. She performed a piece called "Taxi" during which she read a text while playing the bass. Even though her voice took on musical sounds, the text remained an essentially literary element; however, she was a strong, commanding musician. Her more light-hearted, witty pieces (another involved her doing monotonous floor exercises , until her bass was pulled across the floor on a string, at which point she began screeching wildly; non-experimental music equals boring exercises/her own compositions equal radical, exciting work) contrasted with a more sober, concentrated focus on the instrument itself. She explored the bass, obtaining high sounds by playing harmonies below the bridge, plucking and bowing at the same time. She used a drumstick to get hollow percussion sounds, providing punctuation with hew voice. At one point, the instrument even looked like a warm, friendly sculpture. During much of the performance, Leandre worked with/against a tape of her own voice or of the bass, a device which was used frequently by artists in this series. Tamia also sang vocalizations against a tape of her own voice. Her work, although more "ethnic" (one suspects a North African influence), is reminiscent of Meredith Monk's. Although I find the purity, range, and power of Monk's voice, her control, and the complexity of her musical compositions more accomplished than Tamia's, the ambition and achievement of the French vocalist are unquestionable . A striking aspect of her performance was the juxtaposition of the performer with the setting. Behind Tamia, who was wearing a floor-length caftan, was a flat white wall embossed with a blue and white terra cotta emblem of the Blessed Virgin. The opening moments, with the soft vocalizations, the blue-clad performer standing quietly with closed eyes, the holy setting behind her giving the performance an almost religious quality, were especially fine. Joel Hubaut was a surprisingly energetic performer. Perhaps because he hails from the south of France, he possessed a vitality and spontaneity rarely seen in French performers . His piece began with a lively and witty parody of Japanese music and the samurai tradition, complete with selected audience members quivering under brown sacks to his Oriental-sounding vocalizations , as he banged a pan with a wooden spoon for a gong effect. Then he shifted to a punk/new wave extravaganza of black and white slide projections as he played an electric guitar accompanied by an earshatteringly -loud taped music. In this sequence , by jerking back and forth and moving in and out of the black-and-white projection against the back wall, Hubaut achieved the effect of looking as though he were projected himself. Finally, about fifteen audience members ran across the space blowing whistles until they fell, exhausted , the shrill sound of whistling replaced by the rhythms of heavy breathing. By structuring the three sections so that the beginning is playful, the middle an intense climax, and following it with a quiet, contemplative end, Hubaut's performance , in a sense, "came.'' A final note: at the end of Hubaut's piece, the last three people whistling and running were himself, a woman, and Jean Dupuy's small son. Finally, Hubaut collapsed and the woman dashed over to a window and dropped onto the sill, her breath making a pattern on the cold pane. But the little boy, with full energy, continued to march firmly back and forth across the space, blowing his whistle, until he was finally carried off. I felt real affection for this accommodation of real-life surprise into the planned effect of the piece's exploration of the variations and relations between sound and energy. Lenora Champagne Robert Whitman, Stound. Snug Harbor, S.I. (October). As is often...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 45-46
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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