All the way from a mind-numbing time that is right now, a poet uses a machine and its glitch to frame some of the everyday poems we have been missing. The fragments, the rubble and the heavy sentiments of today's moment are piled up, glitched out and read aloud. Inviting you to find clues in these transformations for imagining landscapes we can have faith in.
Turning Towards A Radical Listening (TTRL) is an immersive metaphor that uses photography and nascent sound technology to speak to the multi-faceted problem of being "othered," while living alongside one-dimensional depictions of that phenomenon. This project will echo across The Kitchen and Knockdown Center in New York, Fall 2019.
GETTING INTO THE MIX
Two years ago, I realized that much like auto-focus on digital cameras, or the motion sensors in your average corporate bathroom sink— auto-dictation software seems to have a really hard time registering blackness... ("too easy," I said to myself). What if I generate soundscapes made up of numerous recordings of fellow black poets, then feed that into auto-dictation software? And right there, with that question, Turning Towards a Radical Listening was born!
The glitches that result are informed by algorithms that calculate our use of the english language within the space of the internet. These glitches are heart-wrenching, eye-opening and sometimes even funny. The resulting concrete poems speak to loss and current issues of representation. These poems demand us to be moved to consider how we exist between input and output— holding space for us to tune into what has been lost in translation.
Two weekends of sound-based performances will take place as part of The Kitchen programming October 3rd-5th and 10th-12th, 2019 with an exhibition of my photography to follow at Knockdown Center October 29th-December 15th.
CONCRETE POETRY & MUSIQUE CONCRÉTE
The photographs that will be exhibited at Knockdown Center are inspired by concrete poetry. Where the aesthetic form of words and how they visually fall on the page convey the meaning, affect and/or perspective of the poem.
The sound-based performances taking place at The Kitchen are inspired by Musique Concréte— collages of sound constructed by mixing recordings from different sources, first developed by experimental composers in the 1940's.
In Turning Towards a Radical Listening, concrete and sonic fragments are combined to make landscapes and soundscapes that we can have faith in.
The care put into this project can sing with your support!
My name is James Allister Sprang, thank you for being here! For several years I have been making work involving speech acts and the gravity of black abstraction (BIO & CV, if you are curious). I have been making photographs that have been featured in many well-received group shows. However, I have yet to exhibit the full body of work as I have always intended: showing these photographs alongside a like-minded performance, as part of the same project. Finally, I have the opportunity to share this project as it was conceived.
"... attend to yourself as you listen for what you hear when a sentence becomes a word, becomes a phoneme, becomes a beat, becomes attenuated into a string digitally plucked: Can you hear (in yourself) the stakes in what moves you? Do you want to dance (with me)? Who gets to make meaning (inside you) when they speak?"
- Sara Jane Stoner, BAC Story (Baryshnikov Arts Space Residency)
THE ROLE YOU PLAY
The success of this campaign in reaching $15,000 will allow for me to pay my team of technical and artistic collaborators + put the basic technical infrastructure in place.
Successfully reaching our S-T-R-E-T-C-H goal of $25,000 will allow for us to truly sculpt space with sound! Using 3D audio technology called Wave Field Synthesis, my team and I will have the time to build a much more dynamic performance. As well as, custom lighting + documentation + a publication to accompany the project + working with live musicians + printing, framing, and additional material costs for the exhibition at Knockdown Center.
CURRENT TEAM OF COLLABORATORS
James Allister Sprang (lead performer) is a rising emerging artist that has studied at The Cooper Union (BFA) and The University of Pennsylvania (MFA). His work is interdisciplinary, existing in public spaces, gallery spaces and theater spaces.
Sprang has completed residencies around the USA as well as internationally, including Shandaken Projects, The Fountainhead, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Baryshnikov Arts Center, BHQFU and the 4DSound Monom residency in Berlin. Sprang has also shown/performed at institutions such as The Public Theater, The Brooklyn Museum, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, David Nolan Gallery, Abrons Arts Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Vox Pupuli, The Apollo Theater, Pioneer Works and The Kitchen.
Max Bernstein (Video/Sound Designer and collaborator) is sound and video artist. He has workesd as a technical artist with the Wooster Group, Michelle Ellsworth,Kaki King, Cindy Kleine and Aynsley Vandenbroucke. More at http://maxbernsteinworks.com
Ryan Seelig (Lighting Designer and collaborator) has traveled around the USA and internationally (supervising tours in Australia, England, Belgium, Singapore, and Japan) as a lighting designer, lighting supervisor, technical director and production manager.
Ryan has worked with renowned theater companies The Wooster Group, Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, Elevator Repair Service, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Abrons Arts Center, Ma-Yi Theater, and frequently collaborates with auteurs, Michelle Ellsworth, Becca Blackwell, Morgan Gould, Liz LeCompte and more. He values long relationships with artists and technicians because he is at his best when he’s problem solving, collaborating and thinking of innovative, efficient ways to make things work no matter what the budgetary or technical constraints.
Sandra Garner (Line Producer) is an independent producer working through her company Lingua Franca Arts. Projects and artists include 13P; Banana Bag & Bodice; Glasgow-based Tumult in the Clouds; Christine Jorgensen Reveals; Gary Winter's Daredevil; ¡Oye! Group; Radiohole; Operating Theater Company; Nellie Tinder; James Allister Sprang’s GAZR: Life Does Not Live; Howard Fishman’s A Star Has Burnt My Eye; Christina Masciotti's Raw Bacon From Poland; Andrew Schneider's YOUARENOWHERE and AFTER; Suzanne Bocanegra's Farmhouse/Whorehouse, Patricia Noworol's TREMENDOUS, Alessandro Magania's Radio Delirio and Sean Donovan's CABIN (upcoming). More at www.linguafrancaarts.com.
Aon (Pablo Chea), Safia Elhillo, Sharon Hayes, Arielle M. John, Amber Rose Johnson, Anna Lesassier, Bobby McElver, Meg Onli, Raquel Salas Riviera, Sara Jane Stoner & MONOM 4DSound.
Turning Towards a Radical Listening has been developed in part during residencies at YoungArts in Miami, Shandaken Projects at Storm King, The Fountainhead in Miami, The Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York and during a short work-in-progress run at The Tank in New York which was supported in part by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.
Risks and challenges
From the beginning, the development of this project has relied on the progressive vision of residencies that have generously supported both myself and this project with time and space. This campaign is a direct extension of that.
This is an ambitious project: the sound elements alone will be exciting for audiences as a technology few have experienced. But this project is not about the tech. It's about innovative storytelling, adjusting ears and weaponizing poetics. I am confident that the curators I am working with and the team I've assembled are experienced in working flexibly, troubleshooting and being creative with both time and resources— because they are the best at what they do.
Together we understand that this work has to be shared. The real challenge has been successfully sharing this piece in its full harmonic range— providing a new experience that works in accordance with fragmenting previously unquestioned ideas about the ways our lives have been coded...
Thank you for your support in making this real.
- (30 days)