Joseph Bertolozzi –“…An eye illumined by another sun…”
This work is part of an intended larger suite probing the unexpected profiles of the solo gong. Over a decade ago my solo percussion project The Bronze Collection explored expressive and unexpected nuances within gongs and cymbals utilizing the whole range of musical expression, from dynamic contrast (barely audible to roaring cadences) and coloristic shading (muting, playing on their edges, & various surfaces with unusual mallets), to extended techniques (playing a gong or cymbal with a cello bow, etc.). Writing and performing multi-movement works opened up a window not only in my mind but for my audiences. Those techniques and insights later informed my larger public works on New York’s Mid-Hudson Bridge and Eiffel Tower in Paris.
But with two lost years to Covid of necessity I turned from those gigantically public utterances back to gongs once again, and reduced things further to an even more intimate expression of music: the solo gong. At first this was for myself; of course, I couldn’t play anywhere anyway! But in reassessing a strongly limited sonic palette, I found new expressions that could draw audiences into a new sphere of awareness. Not the sonorities of a new age “gong bath,” this isn’t that; but of an articulate, eloquent engine of ideas and musical exchange. The expectation of a gong being a loud one-trick pony is upended in this atmospheric, introspective opus. As we convene once again for public art, this serves as a rediscovery of what we thought we knew.
Marylou & Jerome Bongiorno – City Symphony Films in 3D
Even before the pandemic, the Bongiornos used the medium of film to create environments that expanded audiences’ views of our communities. In 2009, they were commissioned by the Newark Museum to produce an immersive video installation in 3D that celebrated what’s endured in their home city of Newark, NJ, for over a hundred years. That led them to do the same for Brooklyn (Jerome’s birth city) and Staten Island (Jerome’s prior home) for exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York and the new Staten Island Museum, respectively. These 3D films, in the style of global city symphony films of the ’20s and ’30s, allowed viewers to step into new cities and experience their rich diversity while standing or sitting in a museum gallery, an airport, train station, cafe, or classroom, sometimes thousands of miles away.
During Covid lockdown, the Bongiornos experimented with transforming paintings into 3D video images, to dispel the feeling of isolation and to break the wall of 2D art. Compositions were inspired by what had been their regular visits to museums, playing jazz guitar in soup kitchens and other volunteerism. This way, viewers can become part of the spaces and be part of the greater community.
Tessa Brinckman & Jane Rigler – Your Coat, Turning – a telematic community
“Your Coat, Turning” is a telematic invitation to create multiple futures through sound, video, text and play – a game of recreations of self and community. The climate crisis means that the coat of the earth is changing — and we must be able to deal with injury with creativity, beyond survival to renewal. Joy and imagination are necessary birthrights, and communal, political acts. Our concept of “community” offers an experience of building reliable and meaningful work, that people can belong to, and build their own futurism. We are interested in how to transform our individual and collective metaphorical coats (i.e. identity) to form other inevitable and necessary coats, through the experience of sounding and imagining.
“Your Coat, Turning” is both a film and sound performance with the audience as co-creators (no prior skills necessary). The piece draws from mixed media, sound, movement, and contemplative practices. Text and video prompt the audience to discover ways to interact with (provided) mystery objects that create a communal music experience.