MARFA SOUNDING 2018

Co-presented with Fieldwork Marfa

Friday-Sunday, May 25–27, 2018

Town-wide Performances

Organized by Curators: Jennifer Burris Staton and Ida Soulard

All events are free and open to the public

 

An exploration of resonance across Marfa through site-specific performances, open rehearsals, and public conversations.

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Over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, 2018, Marfa Live Arts in collaboration with Fieldwork Marfa showcased artist Tarek Atoui’s examination of sound, place, and the social practice of improvisation across the varied landscapes of Marfa, Texas.

 

The weekend’s events organized by curators Jennifer Burris Staton and Ida Soulard began on Friday, May 25 at the Crowley Theater with a reception, lecture by Atoui, launch of Marfa Sounding website, and performances with musicians. On Saturday, May 26 at Saint George Hall there was a concert, and the weekend concluded on Sunday, May 27 with another concert at Vizcaino Park. Atoui brought the following instruments to Marfa: Zero Point Nine, a sound installation realized though monumental bass synthesizers in collaboration with Jeffrey Lubow, Greg Niemeyer, Perrin Meyer (Meyer Sound), and Sound Boxes, a series of instruments housing field recordings from sites around the world. Renowned musicians Amma Ateria, Jad Atoui, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe performed alongside local and international students as well as members of Marfa’s community, who were invited to participate beginning with a series of open rehearsals on Tuesday, May 22 at Vizcaino Park and Thursday, May 24 at Saint George Hall.

 

Atoui’s work builds upon composers such as Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Lucier, who were instrumental in the development of Minimalism. Under recognized in curatorial and art historical surveys of this movement, such artists used sound to expose the intrinsic resonance of a space: foregrounding both site and situation as intrinsic to the artwork itself.

 

Adopting such questions to a contemporary landscape of music sampling and electro-acoustics, Atoui forcefully introduces questions of identity to these formalist histories. Highlighting issues of migration and collective experimentation, he creates international platforms that simultaneously foreground the specificities of place. His work emphasizes the profound creativity of communal structures in a localized context. Sound becomes a medium through which we can understand identity as simultaneously rooted in the concrete specificities of place, formed through collective experience and dialogue with others, and developed via the experience of migration through diverse nations, histories, and material cultures.

 

The program included a ten-day artist residency for Atoui during which he will conduct a series of workshops at Marfa High School. Following these workshops, students will be invited to perform alongside Atoui at the public performances.

Marfa Public Radio's Diana Nguyen interviewed Marfa Sounding Co-Founder and curator Jennifer Burris Staton and artist Tarek Atoui (aired on May 25, 2018.) Visit Marfa Public Radio online to listen to the full interview.  

 

Atoui discusses his background, influences and practice of creating instruments and spaces which question the definition of listening. The artist insists that his improvisational and collaborative performances are meant to be experienced in-person. Atoui’s performances are something that “not only involves the ears as a way of listening, but also involves the eyes, the body, the sense of touch. It’s a very experiential way of listening to a concert of musical performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                          

                                                                             

 

Tarek Atoui at Marfa Public Radio photo by Diana Nguyen

Tarek Atoui performing at Vizcaino Park as part of Marfa Sounding | Sunday, May 27, 2018.

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe performing at Vizcaino Park as part of Marfa Sounding. Sunday, May 27, 2018.

Amma Ateria performing at Saint George Hall as part of Marfa Sounding | Saturday, May 26, 2018.

International students testing out instruments at Vizcaino Park | Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Footage from Tarek Atoui and Jad Atoui's Marfa Independent School District in school educational workshops on Tuesday May 22 and Thursday May 24, 2018.

SCHEDULE/ MAP:

Tuesday, May 22 

5–7 pm

Open Rehearsals

All members of the Marfa community are invited to play the instruments

Vizcaino Park, Ranch Road 1112/Golf Course Road (Approx 2 miles heading west from Highland Avenue)

 

Thursday, May 24

5-7 pm

Open Rehearsals

All members of the Marfa community are invited to play the instruments

Saint George Hall, 113 E El Paso Street

Friday, May 25

6.30–8.30 pm (doors open at 6.30)

6.30-7.00 pm Welcome Reception

7.00-8.30 pm Conversation with Music

Artist and curators in conversation with performances by Amma Ateria, Jad Atoui, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe

Launch of the Marfa Sounding research platform

Crowley Theater98 South Austin Street

 

Saturday, May 26

8–9 pm (doors open at 7.30 pm)

Improvisational Concert with the Instruments Zero Point Nine & Sound Boxes

Musicians: Tarek Atoui, Amma Ateria, Jad Atoui, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and Members of the Marfa Community

Saint George Hall, 113 E El Paso Street

 

Sunday, May 27

8–9 pm (doors open at 7.30 pm)

Improvisational Concert with the Instruments Zero Point Nine & Sound Boxes

Musicians: Tarek Atoui, Amma Ateria, Jad Atoui, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and Members of the Marfa Community

Vizcaino Park, Ranch Road 1112/Golf Course Road (Approx 2 miles heading west from Highland Avenue)

SOUND BOXES

Beginning with a series of field recordings taken in collaboration with sound specialist Chris Watson at various sites in Elefsina, Greece (ancient ruins, an industrial port, and an abandoned oil factory), Atoui has developed a series of Sound Boxes – minimalist instruments containing diverse recordings of a specific place – that can be played, creating new compositions through improvisation. Focusing on harbors, Atoui has created Sound Boxes thus far for Athens, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore.

 

Bringing these Sound Boxes to Marfa, Atoui will work with professional musicians, international students, and local students to create a new composition within the temporal and spatial limits of collective performance; sharing recordings from places around the world that highlight ideas of migration, shared identity, and the specificities of place.

 

ZERO POINT NINE

Developed by Atoui during his 2015 residency at The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Zero Point Nine is an installation with nine monumental bass synthesizers, which produces ultra-low-frequency electronic sounds felt before they are heard. The artist’s interest in subsonic experience as music emerged from his previous work with non-hearing communities in the United Arab Emirates (Sharjah Art Biennial 2013) and Norway (Bergen Assembly 2016).

Developed in collaboration with software specialist Jeffrey Lubow (UC Berkeley, Center for New Music and Audio Technology), Greg Niemeyer (UC Berkeley, Digital Media in Art Practice), and Perrin Meyer (Meyer Sound), this instrument was conceived in order to create a concert accessible to all forms of hearing. Atoui will activate the instrument several times in Marfa and will simultaneously work with students in the local public high school as well as with Fieldwork Marfa's international students to develop alternative forms of acoustic awareness. This instrument facilitates new understanding, or a deeper way of perceiving space, through sonic resonance.

ARTIST BIOS:

 

CURATOR BIOS:​

VENUES

CROWLEY THEATER

98 SOUTH AUSTIN STREET

Housed in a renovated 1930s feed store, the Crowley Theater provides the communities of Far West Texas with a fully-equipped theater available to groups, organizations, and individuals who serve the area with accessible public programming.

 

SAINT GEORGE HALL

113 East El Paso Street

The Saint George Hall is a state-of-the-art venue with over 5,600 square feet of performance space. Its soaring ceilings, clean lines, and reclaimed wood floors are a light-filled interpretation of the iconic Texas dance hall.

 

VIZCAINO PARK

RANCH ROAD 1112/GOLF COURSE ROAD

Managed by Presidio County, Vizcaino Park is a 21-acre public park that includes a covered stage, baseball field, picnic area, and playground. The park is named in honor of Fidel J. Vizcaino (1921–2014), a lifelong resident of Marfa, whose dedication was instrumental in the development of this site as a community center.

 

Locations of the performances will be clearly signposted with parking available. Should it rain on Sunday, May 27, the performance at Vizcaino Park will move to the Shade Structure in front of Saint George Hall. Please contact Marfa Live Arts in advance should you have any questions about the site accessibility: info@marfalivearts.org

MARFA SOUNDING HISTORY:

2018 marks the third and final year of Marfa Sounding, taking place over three consecutive Memorial Day weekends. Beginning in 2016, this annual program​ explores the role of music and dance in the development of ​Minimalism. ​Investigating how these relationships continue to develop in contemporary practice, Marfa Sounding presents iconic ​and newly commissioned ​sound and movement works ​in dialogue with Marfa’s architectures, landscapes, and communities.

 

Previous participating artists include composer Alvin Lucier, cellist Charles Curtis, choreographer Anna Halprin, choreographer Stephen Petronio, and dancers Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell (with saxophonist Phillip Greenlief). These artists have sited well-known works and developed new compositions across the spaces of Far West Texas. Marfa Sounding artists also actively engaged with local  students from Marfa Public School District and international students from Fieldwork Marfa’s host universities through a series of educational workshops. Previous performance sites include Dixon Water Foundation's Mimms Ranch, Chinati Foundation’s Chamberlain Building, Fieldwork Marfa's ranch land at Antelope Hills Road, Building 98, and Crowley Theater.

 

2016 Marfa Sounding: Alvin Lucier & Charles Curtis

2017 Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin

 

Documentation from all three phases will also be housed on marfasounding.com. Currently in development and supported by a New Music USA, this online research platform endeavors to make this performance series accessible to a wider audience. Engaging the active community of musicians, composers, and listeners invested in these histories and genres of experimental music and dance, Marfa Sounding aims to integrate these conversations within a broader discourse of contemporary art. Photographs, sound recordings, and other documentation are presented alongside a series of newly commissioned texts and compositions that chart the relationships between artists of different generations.

 

ABOUT FIELDWORK MARFA:

Since 2011, Fieldwork Marfa, an international program run by Nantes School of Art (France), HEAD–Genève (Switzerland) and the School of Art at the University of Houston (Texas), has welcomed over 30 artists-in-residence from all over the world as well as university students and professors from France, Geneva and Houston for two to three week residencies in Marfa. The recent acquisition of 18 acres of land by Fieldwork Marfa on Antelope Hill Road with housing for visiting artists and students will allow the launch of a new experimental territory for artistic activities and research as well as a complete and coherent learning experience for students in the visual arts. Merging humanities and the arts, this project is part of a renewed interest in spatial questions. Drawing on Marfa’s minimalist legacy, facilities, and the multidisciplinary approach to education, Fieldwork Marfa aims to provide a new generation of artists with the tools to intervene artistically outside the gallery space, taking into account their environment, while critically reflecting on complex contemporary landscapes. Projects currently underway include an Artist-in-Residence program and a joint Master’s Degree in Fine Arts.

THANK YOU

JD DiFabbio, Producer and Marfa Live Arts, Deputy Director

Emma Rogers, Marfa Live Arts, Production Assistant

Rob Crowley and Ryan Rooney, Lights and Sound

Ian Lewis, Additional Tech

Patrick Keesey, Marfa Fabricator, Zero Point Nine

Jessica Lutz, Photography and Video Documentation

Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Graphic Design

Marfa Live Arts, Fieldwork Marfa, and Marfa Sounding: Tarek Atoui are generously supported by Meyer Sound, Rob Gungor and Simone Rubi, Nantes School of ArtNational Endowment for the Arts, Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston’s Interdisciplinary InitiativesCity of MarfaTexas Commission on the Arts, and DUST, Nina Martin & Paul Hunt. Additional support provided by Etant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation, developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with lead funding from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, and Institut Français-Paris. Education programs supported by Texas Women for the Arts

 

In-kind support provided by Michael Maguire, Nina Martin & Paul Hunt, Saint George Hall, Crowley Theater, and Presidio County/Vizcaino Park. Special thanks to Perrin Meyer & Karen Ames of Meyer Sound, Pierre-Jean Galdin & the entire Fieldwork Marfa team, Abinadi MezaJeffrey Lubow, Greg Niemeyer, Anne Becker, Malena Bach, kurimanzutto, Galerie Chantal Crousel, Tim Crowley, Lissa Castro, Emily Williams, Sam Cabos, Mayor Ann Marie Nafzinger, Minerva Lopez, Cate Cole Schrim, Erik DeLuca, Rima Abdul-Malak, Amandine Castillo, Marie Lozon de Cantelmi, Sylvie Christophe, Laurent Auffret, and Anne-Claire Duprat. Education programs coordinated with the collaboration of Marfa Live Arts’ Director Jennie Lyn Hamilton and Marfa Independent School District’s Superintendent Oscar Aguero, Principal John Sherrill PhD, and educator Mary Mois. Tremendous gratitude to our volunteers Dillon Orr and MelMelissa Keane. Media support from Big Bend Sentinel and Marfa Public Radio. 

 

Visit Marfa is a useful resource for planning your travel and time in Marfa. The closest airports are El Paso and Midland, both approximately three hours away by car.

Marfa Live Arts

PO Box 1365

Marfa, TX 79843

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Marfa Live Arts engages a diverse community through the performing arts, arts education, film, music, and other cultural arts programs. Marfa Live Arts celebrates the cultural riches of the people of the Big Bend and enhances the area tourist appeal through sophisticated programming featuring the talents of the region's own professional performers, dedicated amateurs, and international artists.

Marfa Live Arts is a 501(c)3 Organization.
© 2018 by Marfa Live Arts.