S/N (signal-to-noise ratio) at The Kitchen - Exploring the complexities of sound
S/N explores the complex dynamics of sound, in particular its tendency to exceed, disrupt, or evade attempts at its capture. S/N, an abbreviation for signal-to-noise ratio, refers to the balance between a desired communication and the unwanted background noises emanating from the materials and environments it traverses. The writers, musicians, and artists included in the exhibition take up the material complexities of sound, understanding the aural as a site of potential interference. Moving through language and into noise, S/N examines the possible breaking points of communication as it extends in, through, and beyond the intelligible. Curated by Alex Fleming, Anya Komar, and Blair Murphy, Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.
Including works by Cammisa Buerhaus, Sonia Boyce and Ain Bailey, James Coleman, Manon de Boer, Joan La Barbara, Tracie Morris, Vanessa Place, Steve Reinke, Lis Rhodes, SCRAAATCH, Masha Tupitsyn, Ultra-red, Galina Ustvolskaya, and Jackie Wang.
May 22–June 13
Opening reception: May 22, 5-8pm
Galina Ustvolskaya’s Piano Sonata no. 6 performed by Cheryl Seltzer of Continuum Ensemble
The Kitchen theater, Friday, May 22, 6pm, Free.
Seating is limited and will be first come, first served.
Composed in 1988, Piano Sonata no. 6 is one of Galina Ustvolskaya’s most challenging compositions. The score consists largely of tone clusters and demands the performer aggressively strike the instrument, thereby speaking to the turbulence and violence at the end of the Soviet era.
Ultra-red: Introduction to Collective Listening
The Kitchen, Saturday, May 23, 12pm, Free.
Sound collective Ultra-red will lead a sound walk and workshop based on its work Protocols for the Wojnarowicz Object, or What Is the Sound of Building Up and Tearing Down? (2012). Participants will gather at The Kitchen at 12pm for a short introduction, followed by a sound walk down the west side of Manhattan. After the sound walk, participants will return to The Kitchen for a discussion of their experiences during the walk.
SCRAAATCH: SCRAAATCH no. 9
The Kitchen, Friday, June 5, 4pm, Free.
SCRAAATCH performs SCRAAATCH no. 9, part of a series of collaborative performance works. Combining live sound processing and performative notation, the duo develops an intricate physical and aural choreography, exploring the difficulties of mediated communication and exchange.
Avital Ronell, Vanessa Place, Kyoo Lee: Last—Words?
Whitney Museum of American Art, Saturday, June 6, 6:30pm, Free.
What does it mean to speak of one’s own death? And how does one hear what is spoken? Avital Ronell, professor of German, Comparative Literature, and English at NYU, will address the death penalty and the recorded speech of executed prisoners. Artist and criminal defense attorney Vanessa Place will perform Botched Execution (2015), an extension of her Last Words (2014–ongoing). Included in the exhibition, Last Words is a recording of the artist’s voice reading the last statements of inmates executed in Texas since 1982. Kyoo Lee, philosopher, theorist, and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, will respond and moderate the conversation.
Jay Sanders & Charles Bernstein in Conversation
The Kitchen, Thursday, June 11, 6pm, Free.
Whitney Museum curator Jay Sanders and poet Charles Bernstein will discuss their work in, on, and around sound, performance, installation, dance, poetry, theater, poetics, curating, editing, essay writing, and teaching. They will also reflect on their previous collaboration curating the 2001 exhibition Poetry Plastique at the Marianne Boesky Gallery.
Photo: Film still of Lis Rhodes, Dresden Dynamo, 1971-72, 16mm, color, sound, 5 mins.