I would love to experience an outdoor performance of a John Luther Adams composition. I discovered his music thanks to this inaugural episode of Meet the Composer, an excellent podcast hosted by world-class musician/interpreter Nadia Sirota. The episode deftly reconstructs Adams' soul-search as a composer. I love the shift that occurs when we get to Alaska:
Every episode of Meet the Composer is worth a listen. I admire how it plunges into the world of contemporary avant-garde music in a way that retains less initiated ears like mine. *Fun fact: Sirota played the viola on Edo Van Breemen's original score for Fractured Land .
I was lucky to catch the documentary Salero, one of my favorites from the SFIFF. It presents a stunning salt flat in Bolivia as a character, not simply a backdrop for human stories. Thanks to exquisite cinematography and sound, open-minded direction, and generous participants, it transcends any particular issue and allows us to feel first, and think later... and there is lots to think about too.
At the Exposition Universelle 1900, in Paris. This boat ride simulator provided the feeling of seafaring for up to 700 people at a time. with rolling panoramas, rocking floor, seaweed odours, synthetic ocean breezes and accompanying sounds. I'm feeling hints of that Borges story about the world-sized world map.
When a public luminary leaves us suddenly, it hits hard because they never withdrew from their vital role in present-day humanity. Today I thank: David Bowie, Oliver Sacks and Karen Schmeer. Their stars will never dim.
Bliss in an art gallery goes something like this: scores of gregarious zebra finches free in a room full of rock instruments. It's called 'from here to ear v19' and it's a captivating installation/live show by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. What I found most surprising was the level of activity in the room, not coming from us transfixed human spectators but from the birds themselves: hopping on guitar strings, feeding, singing, attempting to build a nest on a guitar, snoozing in the sand... the whole had an air of purposefulness and order far from the disarray I had expected to find. Here's a great article in Slate that clarified some questions I had. It even goes into how birds of the same species can develop different dialects based on environment, something I've always wondered about since observing urban chickens and wondering if they would develop different calls to cope with the loudness of the city.
I love this film. It is a spirited, unconventional search for concrete connections to Man Ray's 1926 film Emak Bakia. At first it seems all about the journey, as filmmaker Oskar Alegria follows the slightest whims to faraway tangents, but then we actually do arrive at real destinations and they are delightful. Such a fine balancing act of interior and exterior worlds. A highlight for me was the sound design, which at one point breaks the fourth wall and reveals its surprising origins. It is a documentary (played at Vancouver's DOXA Festival) but beyond that it defies categorization.
Sparse highlights from the great spinning sphere of publication.