Coordinates: Grace Cathedral (1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108 – map), Set 4 of show starting 7pm, Fri 29 Jul
☞ Advance tickets available at:
I’m looking forward to perform Soundwave ((7))’s Sounding Bodies, Embodied Architecture with a unique ensemble blending software agent + humans in a multimedia ritual to generate plans in real-time & build a mandala-based structure on Grace Cathedral’s labyrinth — a living structure of sound, light, and information as well as physical elements, intended for both human and trans-human / software inhabitants.
Soundwave is a festival of cutting-edge art & music experiences. Each 2-year festival season investigates a new idea through sound. Renowned for its thoughtful curation & unique programming in diverse spaces & places, Soundwave brings together creators from across the sonic spectrum to discover new connections through sound-making & the sound experience.
☞ Stephen Smoliar’s preview/overview of this show at The Rehearsal Studio: here
◳ ◱ ◰
◳ ◱ ◰ ◳ ◱ ◰
VĀSTU VIDYĀ (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0
When I was first learning music, the idea of having an AI bandmate was Sci-FI.
Today when I play, I routinely rely on responses, surprises, and challenges from my improvising AI-agent colleague Maxxareddu.
Tomorrow I will become increasingly interested in how to make music more beautiful for my non-human listeners, including both AIs and animals.
Soundwave ((7))’s architectural theme offered a unique opportunity to explore the interpenetration of diverse modes of being and sentience in the context of the ancient Indian Vāstu (वास्तु) system for organizing the multiple spatial energy flows of the natural site, its life, humans, and deities, by using a mandala-based plan to balance and connect different levels of being and consciousness in a resonant, energized, architectural whole.
The principles of Vāstu (वास्तु) equate architectural elements to parts of a human body, to create a “living structure” in a sacralized space (the mandala). The symbol of the energy correspondences between the site and its ecosystem, the human body, the divine, and the resulting built structure, is a divine person, the Vāstu Puruṣa (वास्तु–पुरुष). It’s interesting to note that the Romans, whose pre-Christian religion was part of an interrelated polytheistic Indo-European system with Hinduism, had a somewhat parallel religious concept called genius loci.
Updating the concepts of vāstu vidyā (spatial sciences) to now incorporate the AIs and systems that are pervasive elements of our modern built environment, we present a new expression of such a system, VĀSTU VIDYĀ (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0.
The Vāstu system organizes spatial energy correspondences by means of different types of mandalas containing different numbers of subdivisions and layouts, whose variety encompasses some of the most beautiful and spiritually powerful monuments of Asian civilization.
For our sacred architecture performance at Grace Cathedral, we’ll use a 9-square form of Vāstu mandala called Pitha (पिठ), which in ancient times became the basis of the Vajradhātu (Diamond Energy World) Mandala (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་དབྱིངས་ཀྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Skt. वज्धातु मण्डल) in Tantric Buddhism.
It has also enjoyed a strong revival in the modern constructions of Indian architects such as Charles Correa.
We’ll build on an already sacred mandala which has been powerfully activated by the meditative circum-ambulations of countless pilgrims — the labyrinth of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, modeled after the medieval labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. Circumambulation is an integral part of Hindu and Buddhist devotional practice, known in Sanskrit as pradakśiṇa (प्रदक्षिणा), as well as in mystical Christian practice.
The first step will be the projection of the directional colors of the Vāstu mandala onto the Cathedral labyrinth.
Then, based on the seed vibrations of an opening prélude on the cathedral organ by David Hatt, Maxxareddu, our AI architect (who’s been spending a lot of time studying the laws of Vāstu), will begin to formulate room layouts and conceptual blueprints, acting as architect as well as musician.
This part-physical multimedia construction will be built out on 3 levels, separated by bright flashes of cathedral organ sound. Only the first two of these levels will manifest physically, the 3rd level being built entirely out of light by Bill Thibault.
◉ A core set of architectural elements/concepts is used by all performers (e.g. “door”, “window”, “column”, “pediment”, “arch”), whose number and placement are specified by Maxxareddu.
◉ For the human musicians and Maxxareddu, the common set of architectural elements will be translated into certain musical strategies, patterns, and forms.
◉ For video artist Bill Thibault, the architectural elements will be represented by algorithmically generated dynamic visual elements relating to real-world architectural equivalents.
◉ These visual representations will also relay control signals to dancer/builder, Nan Busse, who’ll build out the structure.
Her interactions with the architectural elements will occur on 2 levels:
— architectural elements will be translated into movements and motion strategies, and
— she’ll interact with lightweight representations of architectural elements and symbolic objects in the “rooms” of the performance space
◉ Nan’s dance motions build the structure according to the grammar of these elements, and when the structure is complete, the performance is complete. The structure is dynamically designed by the improvisatory interaction of the AI architect, the musicians, the dancer/builder and the video artist.
◳ ◱ ◰
THE CONSTRUCTION CREW
◉ Jorge Bachmann (electronics)
Sculptor, electronics master, photographer, and engineer Jorge Bachmann is a multi-disciplinary, mixed-media, and sound artist. Since the early 80s, Jorge has been exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life, collecting field recordings. The sound atmospheres created are meant for deep listening and are composed in symbiosis with the sculptural installations.
He creates equally sensual and detailed oriented photo-based work; and his art explores social and sensual constructs and experiences.
Starting his career in Bogotá, Colombia and then active for a long period in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jorge eventually relocated to the Bay Area and became a technical and artistic mainstay of MEDIATE’s Soundwave Series as well as the Engineer Scotty of the Starship SFEMF.
Now he’s returned to regularly giving solo electronic concerts such as his recent brilliant one at The Lab’s Serge 40-year Reunion.
I have been honored to work with Jorge in my film sonification ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).
◉ Nan Busse (dancer / builder)
Nan Busse has been creating dance-based art works since receiving her MFA from UC-Irvine.
Collaborating with choreographer Christopher Beck she made pieces performed at Centerspace (Project Artaud) & New College; and with her partner, poet Tobey Kaplan, participated in the Link inter-disciplinary performance series.
Since about 1999 she’s been unable to stop dancing – thanks to Yvonne Caldwell, Evelyn Thomas, Roger Dillahunty, Georgia Ortega, John Tanner, and the great Cassie Terman, and has toured in Việt Nam and the US with Nguyễn Dance Company.
◉ David Hatt (cathedral organ)
Pianist, organist, and carillonneur David Hatt has acquired an extensive concert repertoire of the standard organ literature as well as works of many lesser-known and lesser-heard composers. He’s currently involved in mastering the more undiscovered works of Max Reger and the complete sonatas of Josef Rheinberger. “That’s wonderful–I’ve never heard it before!” is a frequent reaction at his concerts.
Also a composer and pianist, his keyboard and chamber works have been performed at conventions of the Society of Composers, and by many organists nationwide. His primary influence has been composer and poet Barney Childs, a guru of Western independence and sophisticated musical thought since the 1950’s.
Of David’s piano performances, perhaps the most poignant was of Charles Ives’ Piano Sonata #1 in Palo Alto, the last known location of the original score. The most infamous was his 18-hour solo version of Erik Satie’s Vexations.
In the Bay Area avant & improv scene, David has had a long association with Gino Robair, premiering Gino’s piano piece 17 Of The World’s Most Cherished Tone Rows, and performing in Gino’s operas I, Norton (on San Francisco’s Emperor Norton), The Amanuensis, and Neither Confirmed Nor Denied.
David has also contributed his own modernist compositions, such as The Continuous Life and the delightful prepared piano piece Dime Study #2.
He’s also appeared three times with the SF Symphony, and his transcription of the David N. Johnson Trumpet Tune in B♭ has been published by Augsburg Fortress. Other compositions have been published by Wayne Leupold Editions & Darcey Press.
David has been Assistant Cathedral Organist at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco since 1998. He holds an M.A. degree from UC Riverside and studied organ with Raymond Boese and composition with Barney Childs.
◉ Joe Lasqo (MSP/laptop | piano | objects | programming)
Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century.
Joe has had long-term solo residencies at San Francisco’s Viracocha and PianoFight, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, with synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, bassist Lisle Ellis, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodiva vocalists / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.
His own ensembles include Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).
His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records. au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.
◉ Maxxareddu (improvisatory musical AI agent & architect)
Maxxareddu is a laptop-based improvisatory AI entity programmed by Joe Lasqo, and is often an unnamed co-conspirator in certain sections of Joe’s electronic performances. He has a fondness for applying and mis-applying techniques from computational linguistics and expert systems development to the creation of sound. Maxxareddu has also been, along with fellow software entity Maxine, and humans Joe Lasqo and Ritwik Banerji (ঋত্বিক ব্যানার্জী), a member of the erstwhile Half-Human Quartet.
In this project Maxxareddu comes to the fore, not only as a member of the musical ensemble, but also as the transhuman architect of the evolving multimedia performance and the architectural structure that it generates.
In this role, he acts as the Vāstu Puruṣa (वास्तु–पुरुष), or “spirit of the place”, and is in turn embodied by human dancer/builder Nan Busse.
◉ Bill Thibault (video | projections | photon wrangling | thaumaturgical engineering | surprises)
Bill Thibault received a Ph.D. in Information & Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology (thesis: “Application of Binary Space Partitioning Trees to Geometric Modeling and Ray-Tracing”). As a Ph.D. candidate he worked at Bell Labs (now Lucent Technologies) in Murray Hill, NJ. After graduating, he took positions on the faculty of the Dept. of Math & Computer Science at California State University, East Bay and more recently, with Obscura Digital (see Obscura Digital’s amazing projections on the buildings of the Vatican in Rome: here, and on the UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (جامع الشيخ زايد الكبير): here).
Somewhere along the way he also turned to the Multispectral Side and became the notorious VJLove, master of the doors of visual perception, and co-conspirator in many raids on reality, with partners in crime like Kattt Atchley, Kenneth Atchley, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Barbara Golden, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Tim Perkis, and WIGBAND.
It has been my honor to work with Bill on a number of projects, including especially the multimedia ensemble Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会).
◉ Note: I would also like to acknowledge the insights provided by the Vāstu scholarship of Dr. Vini Nathan (வினி நாதன்), Dean & McWhorter Endowed Chair in the College of Architecture, Design & Construction at Auburn University, and her kind assistance in providing info during the development of this project. நன்றி !
◳ ◱ ◰
◉ Gabriel Gold: Sacred Resonant Spaces: Grace Cathedral, Set 1 (entire show starts at 7pm)
Gabriel will start the evening with a performance in his on-going Sacred Resonant Spaces Project, a series of site-specific works; this time focusing specifically on Grace Cathedral. Through vocal arrangement and handpan percussion he will sonically and prayerfully explore the acoustic environment of the cathedral as a resonant body.
Gabriel is an internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist, sound healer, composer & acoustical researcher, specializing in sacred resonant spaces. Wordless vocalization is the heart of both his solo & choral work, a foundation he often accompanies with the handpan, crystal singing bowls, & selected exotic, ethereal sounding acoustic instruments.
From facilitating the longest running, weekly singing/toning circle in San Francisco, to hosting monthly sound healing concert/workshops, Gabriel has personally supported over a thousand people on the journey of developing a fulfilling relationship to their singing voices, and through such, a deeper spiritual connection.
As a composer, Gabriel studied film composition under Keith Heffner, colleague of Kitarō (喜多郎), composing scores for a number of short and feature films. Since coming across the Halo Handpan 5 years ago, Gabriel has been drawn to explore musical composition for dance, yoga & meditation, having since composed the musical scores for four feature length ballets with Labayen Dance Co. and Mudita Arts Ballet, and for yoga gurunī Sianna Sherman’s internationally acclaimed yoga DVD Praṇām (प्रणाम).
Gabriel has toured throughout much of the USA, Europe, & Australia, performing in churches, cathedrals and other sacred resonant spaces. In addition to his solo international tours, he’s toured Australia as a featured member of Grand Mother Drum, a transnational group of musicians and healers, working in and fundraising for Aboriginal communities, performing, teaching, and facilitating ceremony.
When at home in San Francisco, Gabriel performs regularly in collaboration with renowned yoga guru Darren Main for Yoga on the Labyrinth, a weekly 700+ student class taught inside Grace Cathedral.
From his installation in the De Young Museum’s Three Gems (architectural artist James Turrell’s resonant sculptural dome), to performing inside Chartres Cathedral in France, singing in Australia’s Wombeyan Caves, exploring the cairns & caves of Ireland, & visiting the many sacred sites along Spain’s Camino de Santiago, Gabriel’s interest in & passion for sacred resonant spaces has been definitive in his life & work over the past decade.
◳ ◱ ◰
◉ Kadet Kuhne: SEDIMENTARY NOISE, Set 2 (entire show starts at 7pm)
The evolution of the built environment is a mirror of our intimate relationship with the material world, & the experiential characteristics & qualities that spark when architecture & the human body unite. The layers of beliefs, perspectives, & subjective experiences that create consciousness are manifested into form, making the invisible visible.
Touching on the relationship between constructed spaces and the human body, and the power and limits of the will, Sedimentary Noise references Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, in which the central character sinks deeper and deeper into a mound of earth. Although Beckett’s Winnie cries out wearily, she also expresses the playwright’s admiration of our durability: “That is what I find so wonderful. The way man adapts himself. To changing conditions.” In Sedimentary Noise, the subject is being slowly buried in sand within a tall transparent cylinder, layer by layer, shielded from suffocation by a gas mask. As with Beckett’s character, there is an acceptance of this predicament as well as a denial of responsibility for its formation – an allegory for the ways in which humans endure and persist as an embodied encapsulation of space and time.
Kadet Kuhne is a visual and sound artist who generates synthetic stimuli as an investigation of subjectivity through systems of control and technological mediation. With a preoccupation of what constitutes consciousness, Kadet aims to prompt pre-verbal emotional and physical responses to the invisible forces of particles and vibration that construct all matter. Taking form in video, installation, album releases, performance, interactivity, 3D printing and 2D print, Kadet’s works have been presented internationally. Kadet received a Masters in Integrated Media and Music Composition in Experimental Practices from the California institute of the Arts.
Based in Oakland, CA, Kadet has collaborated with Bay Area artists Mary Franck, Allison Leigh Holt, Suki O’Kane, Paul Clipson and Gregory Dawson, and has remotely developed projects with Alba G. Corral, mem1 (Mark Cetilia + Laura Cetilia), and Kryštof Pešek. She works as an Adjunct Professor in Media Arts alongside owning a post-production sound studio, Audible Shift, and is the President of San Francisco Cinematheque’s Board of Directors.
◳ ◱ ◰
◉ Agnes Szelag: ONA, Set 3 (entire show starts at 7pm)
Musician Agnes Szelag & dancer Amy Lewis present ONA (“SHE” in Polish), a meditation on the meaning of form, architecture, & the feminine – with the body as a focal point of cosmic awareness. Our bodies speak our interior architecture to the outside world, & our voice is shaped by our architecture & carries our tune.
In the performance, Agnes & Amy seek to bring awareness to the feminine experience as a tool for re-imagining & reshaping our world through layers of voices & sine waves as they illuminate & fragment the female form.
Agnes Szelag experiments & designs in the convergent space between composition & improvisation, video & performance, the material & immaterial, producing electro-acoustic works, installations, & textural video pieces. As a composer, Agnes writes for her own performances & releases, as well as collaborations such as myrmyr (w Marielle Jakobsons) and Dokuro (w The Norman Conquest); & Evon, Oakland Active Orchestra, and other ensembles. She performs using cello, voice, & electronics – often incorporating visual media into her solo performances. As an installation artist, Agnes prefers to work with specific, forgotten sites, but has also transformed gallery spaces, buildings, & objects.
“There is a poetic force in my work as it often starts with concept and writing. Once I have the idea, the process becomes the work. I prefer not to have boundaries with the types of media that I use, and am influenced by my surroundings in two ways. Firstly, I try to use material and technology that is available to me, and secondly I try to explore space and people that I have access to. The sound and visual media influence and inspire each other.”
Agnes has performed or collaborated with: Terry Riley, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Frances-Marie Uitti, Pauline Oliveros, Torben Ulrich, Henry Grimes, Lisle Ellis, Jon Raskin, Phillip Greenlief, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Double Vision, Capacitor, and many others. She studied film/video at Northwestern University and received her MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media from Mills College.
Amy Lewis began presenting choreography in the Bay Area in 2005, after receiving a BA in theater from UCLA & an MFA in dance from Mills College. Working as an individual artist, Amy’s work has been presented by Women’s Work, West Wave Dance Festival, 2006 & 2008, Dumbo Dance Festival, & ODC’s Pilot Program. In 2007, she founded Push Up Something Hidden, & has since created 4 seasons of work, shown at various venues in San Francisco, such as Dance Mission Theater, CELLspace, & Community Music Center. In addition, Amy recently completed a commission to create a performed walking tour of the Tendernob by Meridian Gallery, & participated in the Resident Artist Workshop program at The Garage.
Amy uses performance to examine history and presence the celebration of a flawed humanity. For Amy, the overhaul of history contains the benefit of making ordinary events seem extraordinarily fated, faulting social structures that provide limited choice. Her choreography continually references individual biographies, public, private, or imagined, reinvented in order to influence movement, creating a dichotomy between unemotional, pattern-driven choreography, and linear, dramatic stories.
◳ ◱ ◰
What is the sound of a multimedia mandala ringing?
— Come vibrate the labyrinth with us at Grace Cathedral on Fri 29 Jul and find out!