By NAT MCKNIGHT, 03/05/2008
Old for its age, New Genre makes its annual appearance
Now in its 15th year, Living Arts of Tulsa's annual New Genre Festival will take over many of the art galleries and venues in the downtown area this Thursday through Sunday, March 6-12, bringing cutting edge installation and performance art specifically designed to push the boundaries of what one normally thinks of as "art." "New Genre" refers to NON-traditional forms of art that are experimental and fresh. In other words, don't expect to see a bunch of acrylic paintings hanging on the walls.
The New Genre Festival presents a diverse range of artists, many of whom cross disciplinary lines, to create exciting new artworks. These works push the limits of traditional media while incorporating the new media made possible by today's technology.
This annual gathering of creative minds allows Oklahomans the opportunity to interact with truly progressive new forms of contemporary art in a variety of ways. Performances, exhibits, demonstrations and workshops will be presented throughout the weekend at various venues, including Living Arts, Liggett Studios, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, Circle Cinema and Nightingale Theater.
Highlights this year include a "Physical Music" performance piece by Seattle-based collaborative Lelavision, as well as a video and sound installation featuring the Tulsa cityscape by artists Ursula Scherrer and Michelle Nagai.
TU professor Glenn Davis will explore the relationship between the human body and constructed systems in a site-specific performance. L.A.-based artist and producer Rochelle Fabb will premier an interactive duration piece involving live sheep, a bathtub full of milk and a storefront window.
Physical music? Tulsa cityscape? Sheep?!?
Steve Liggett, Artistic Director of Living Arts and mastermind behind New Genre, commented, "I'm curious because I haven't talked concretely to the artists about their work. That's the thing about New Genre. It always turns out to be a surprise!"
Tulsa, get ready.
New Genre XV kicks off Thursday with "Track & Trolley," an installation/performance by Glenn Davis. The installation represents a continuing study by Davis of the theoretical and practical relationships between the individual human body and systems it is subjected to. It is a site-specific work that caters logically to the architecture of the Myers Gallery (the exhibition space inside Living Arts). Everything will be suspended in the installation; nothing will be on the floor or walls. The performance will be above the spectators' heads. This piece will display Davis' aesthetic affinity for carpentry. Using power tools, the artist will perform in the rafters of the ceiling. The installation will be on display through March 27. The opening, which will last from 5-7pm, is free and open to the public, and there will be a cash bar.
At 8pm, "Compromised Transitions" opens at the new Ethyl Lab at 305 S. Kenosha. "Compromised Transitions" features new music and dance work by Giants of Gender.
This is a work of music and dance, a fusion of improvisational sound and movement, an artistic portrayal of the lives of the individuals involved, their achievements and struggles, and their continuous interactions and relations throughout both. This work and its performances are the collaborative effort of the Giants of Gender, a classically trained improvisational trio from Youngstown, Ohio, whose members include Kathleen Larrick and Amber Connors, both modern dancers from DC. Attendance is $10, or $7 for students. To learn more about this group, visit www.thegiantsofgender.com.
"Secret Ceremony #5: Out Like a Lamb" opens Friday, March 7 from 4-8pm at Chrysalis Spa, 7 E. Brady St. This is a duration installation/performance by Rochelle Fabb. Liggett explained that a duration piece is like an ongoing performance artwork in which the spectators may participate or observe at their leisure. There's no charge to see what L.A. performance artist Rochelle Fabb will do, dressed as a Victorian "Bo Peep," with a bathtub full of warm milk, two live sheep and cotton candy. Fabb will invite spectators in, one at a time, to interact with the piece. More about Rochelle Fabb at www.geocities.com/rochellefabb.
"Art 2.0," interactive installations by Geoffrey Hicks, opens from 5-7pm at Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady. Hicks will create an environment of interactive, technology-based installations. Works like "Fight for Tulsa," "Cellular Collaboration," and "Seascapes" will be installed in and perhaps outside of TAC. The installation is free and open to the public and will remain on display through March 27. More information at www.geoph.com.
From 4-7pm, "Imagescape:Soundscape:Landscape" opens at Liggett Studios, 314 S. Kenosha. Video artist Ursula Scherrer and music composer Michelle Nagai will create an immersing installation of video and sound at Liggett Studios, which will be performed by the artists during the opening. Over the course of several days, the artists will have recorded sonic and visual footage of the physical environment around the gallery and the surrounding Tulsa cityscape. These raw materials will infuse the installation with a sense of contextual relevance and shed new light on existing materials the artists will bring with them. Installation remains on display through March 27. More at www.ursulascherrer.com and treetheater.org.
"Warped Like Space & Time" appears to be the brightest star in the New Genre XV constellation. This is a physical music performance by LelaVision.
Taking a basic premise of string theory-that our world works on the same vibrational model as music-Lelavision returns to Tulsa with all new musical instruments and choreographed performance. The warping of space and time refers to Einstein's theory that time and space form a continuum, which bends from the observer's point of view. Lelavision is the collaboration of Ela Lamlin, musical instrument inventor, and Lean Mann, choreographer. Because this takes place at the Doenges Theatre in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. 2nd St. Reservations are suggested by calling 596-7111 or by going to www.tulsapac.com. Tickets are $20. Festival pass holders still have to make reservations and pick up tickets, but they may show their pass to the ticket office.
"Compromised Transitions" by Giants of Gender will show again at 8pm at Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. 4th St.
Following this show, at 10pm at Nightingale, is the "New Genre Performance Cabaret." This includes "Body Drawings" by Marianne Evans-Lombe. "Body Drawings" incorporates the artist's studio practice with the act of performing or becoming the drawings. The work combines the movement of two bodies in relationship to one another in space with a visual depiction of the interactions inherent in the relationship. Projections of drawings depicting two figures in movement interface with the performers. More at www.arcadiagallery.com/marianne.htm.
Also part of "New Genre Performance Cabaret" is "White Walls" and "Wasteland Circus" by Jeff Falk. Falk returns to New Genre to present new work which combines personal narrative spoken word performance, costumes, and sometimes odd, irrelevant props. Falk said, "Life is a bit of a freak show. The raw material that inspires my narrations, and informs the unusual characters, comes from the very arc line of my life." Falk's performance deals with dark themes. Because of this, "Wasteland Circus" is probably the only New Genre XV event that is not kid-friendly, so keep that in mind. More info at www.thepaperheart.com/theater.html.
"White Walls" is a fluxus group of three to six accomplished musicians that are selected by Jon Mooneyham of Norman. Admission for "New Genre Performance Cabaret" is $10 or $7 for students.
Saturday welcomes "The Kenosha Kluster," a new event for New Genre, which includes several of the aforementioned installations and performance works along Kenosha Avenue near Living ArtSpace.
Glenn Davis's "Track & Trolley" starts the day from 1-4pm. Then, a video installation, "Flim, Flim, Flim," by Jonathan deLucia from 1-7pm. A series of images is projected onto a loosely painted canvas. The blues and violets of the film, along with the yellows of the canvas give a nasty, digital feel. This is enhanced by the soundtrack, which includes sounds created by circuit bending and bit crushing. The narrative was created by typing excerpts of poetry and random thoughts into a computer program, which transformed the written words into generated vocals of different pitches. More info at www.theprogressionconcept.com.
"Digital Batter" is a performance installation by Patrick Cunningham, also from 1-7pm. This installation combines synthetic imagery with organic form in space. Together, the images and organisms create the opportunity for viewers to experience cognitive glitches. These glitches are moments of uncertainty that arise within an often seamless process of perception. When combined, the apparently lifeless human form and the lively, projected imagery produces an unnatural vitality. Viewers are then free to investigate in order to reconcile, modify or confirm their prior assumptions.
Also a part of the new Kenosha Kluster are:
"Imagescape:Soundscape:Landscape" from 4-7pm at Liggett Studio.
"Warped Like Space & Time" repeats on Saturday, March 8 at 8pm and the "New Genre Performance Cabaret" shows again at Nightingale Theatre at 10pm.
Before the cabaret is the "New Music Concert" by Dave Gedosh, also at Nightingale. Dave is a teaching fellow for the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI), where he teaches classes in electro-acoustic music composition. Gedosh's music takes the listener on an atemporal and aspatial journey, exploring the boundaries of structure and fluidity. His compositions explore the relationships between music and other modes of artistic expression, between music and its medium of reproduction, and between the musical parameters of the composition itself. Gedosh rocked the house at last years OKElectric 2007 music festival, and he is back for more.
"Gedosh will be working with video as well. He likes to integrate audio and video, creating a multimedia experience. This is something New Genre has been about for a long time," said Liggett.
Admission is $10, $7 for students. Get more info at www.davegedosh.com.
And we are down to the final day of New Genre XV. "War Machine," an interactive video installation by Deven Langston, opens at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis, from 1-2pm. There is no charge. "War Machine" is a simplified, biased view of the systematic and mechanical structure of our social caste. It aims at nothing more than to bring the viewer's attention to the cycle of life in America. This graphic representation illustrates an unjust corporate structure which gives an advantage to those born into privilege. Langston's installation will be on display through March 27. More about the artist at www.djlangston.com.
Also at Circle Cinema is the "New Genre Video Matinee." This will be a screening of experimental videos at 2pm. The most experimental new videos by artists from around the world and the winners of the third annual 24 Hour Video Race will be presented. More than 12 artists and their videos will be shown, including "Harold Boner" by infamous Tulsa film maker, Larry Clark. Admission is $7, or $5 for students.
Many of the featured artists are having workshops. These offer a window into the processes and concepts behind the work presented. All except one are open to all ages for participation. Here is a brief rundown.
Ursula Scherrer and Michelle Nagai present "Making Scape" at Liggett Studios from 4:15-6pm, targeted towards middle and high school students.
On Thursday, March 6, Lelevision presents "Movement/Musical Wonderment" at the North Adult Day Service, 902 E. Pine (Pine & Lansing), from 1:30-3pm.
Friday, March 7, the Giants of Gender offer "The Fusion of Music and Dance" at 8:30am at Riverfield Country Day School, 2433 W 61st St.
Three workshops take place on Saturday, March 8. The first is "How war_machine Works," an animation demo by Deven Langston at Youth Services of Tulsa at 211 S. Madison, starting at 10:30am. Liggett said this would be a fun workshop for anyone interested in the technical elements behind video games and animations.
Dave Gedosh's workshop, "Sound Design for Intermedia" starts at 12:30pm at the University of Tulsa School of Music, Tyrrell Hall.
Finally, Jeff Falk presents "Writers Workshop: Songs I Heard in a Dream" at Circle Cinema from 2-3:30pm.
"The workshops are all free of charge. This is a rare opportunity to have all these great artists in town and people should take advantage," said Liggett.
Though you can purchase tickets for each event individually, festival passes are available for $55. For Living Arts members, the price is $50 and students with identification can get passes for $40.
Festival passes allow the wearer to enter all events and may be purchased at www.livingarts.org with PayPal or by sending your check to Living Arts of Tulsa, 308 S Kenosha Ave, Tulsa, OK 74120.
"Virginia Myers, who started Living Arts, used to say, 'When you are conditioned by society to think a certain way and then you realize life is not that, it is painful to deal with,'" said Liggett.
"I think people need to be able to experience more outside their own realm in order to grow. Growth is painful. Ask any teenager."