Field Report, Performance Announcement: ISSUE Project Room

Again, though much time has passed since announcing and attending the performance of Nate Wooley at ISSUE Project Room, I wanted to follow up. You can read my impressions and expectations before the show here:

After writing that, and since attendeding the show, it was intriguing to learn that my impressions of Wooley’s aims may not have been as far off as I had imagined. That is, I found out that Wooley is a performing member of Attack/Adorn/Decay, a musical group that, according to Wooley’s website “is a project utilizing different musicians in each incarnation. The music is written utilizing the individual player’s breathing rate as an organic tempo for the piece and Gilles Deleuze/Henri Bergson’s writings on perception to create the formal structures of the pieces. Each piece, all composed by Wooley, are played live only 2 or 3 times, recorded, then discarded as the members of the group change and the next piece begins.”

In fact, given that description, it is not surprising that I was drawn to Wooley’s work as potentially emblematic and incorporating of Deleuze’s philosophy, but also not surprising that he seems to have taken those inspirations to the next level on Seven Storey Mountain, as performed at ISSUE. As a performer and composer of sound, Wooley is aware of Deleuze and so we view see his collaboration and listen to the results in that context. In fact, in hearing Seven Storey Mountain, I realized that I had misspoke on the blog before. The fact was that the prior performances had each featured a duo in addition to himself, that affected one another to perform anew. As each of the duo’s were accustomed, Seven Storey Mountain saw Wooley push the interractions and assemblage larger and to a more grand scale.

In fact the performance lived up to it own aspirations, producing a sound that was subtle, searching, raw, and powerful at the serene moments and crescendos of its layering. At the same time though, Wooley admitted that the performance involved much risk. While the performance was patently new, for me, it never seemed to unite itself as parts of a whole concerted sound. The assemblage did not seem to all hit the same mark and find one another. The discord for me seemed to be in Deleuze’s influence as it paired with the ‘Seven Storey Mountain’, transcendental theme. It was not for lack of affective or deterritorialized sounds, but I do have some question as to what it means to get to that place–and if transcendance belongs alongside assemblage. Regardless, it may very well be that I have expectations and have become accustomed to a particular kind of melodic sound, which is not what was presented there. What I did find was enjoyable and broached ecstatic in many ways. The sound burgeoned outward and transformed itself in unexpected directions.

This is a performance that one cannot see based upon my report, but I would like to offer another that seems to follow a similar Deleuze influence. That is, ELLEN FULLMAN at ISSUE Project Room this SUNDAY, MAY 22:

At both the 3PM and 7PM shows, Fullman will transform a space and deterritorialize an instrument. ISSUE writes:
“Ellen Fullman, composer, instrument builder, and performer, will perform on her life-long work the Long String Instrument, where multiple strings are held tight across an entire room. Originally developed in the early 1980s in her Brooklyn studio, Fullman brushes rosin-coated fingers across dozens of metallic strings, producing a chorus of minimal organ-like overtones which has been compared to standing inside an enormous grand piano. Installed for a special event at ISSUE’s future home, 110 Livingston in Downtown Brooklyn, the reverberant and visually stunning jewel-box theater at will amplify this transcendent two-set event.”

The performance represents a truly new performative style that denatures the instrument, the sound, the space, and the audience experience with all of it. I hope to see some of you there.

-Colin Nusbaum


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