Friday, June 1, 2012

Seattle Art Museum: Ancestral Modern

Some of us will be performing at the ReMix event for the opening of Ancestral Modern, a survey of Australian Aboriginal paintings. We'll be playing from 8:30 - 11 PM, tucked away in the small Aboriginal gallery in the northeast corner of the second floor (near the Native American gallery).

Aboriginal paintings are maps of land, conceptual representations of the mythological qualities of the landscape and the journeys of the Dreamtime ancestors, symbolizing their connections with distant places and beings. Unlike Western maps, there is no scale or compass orientation, and they do not necessarily show the "true" proportions or geographical relationships between features. A painting is often made on the ground with the artist moving around it, arranging the various features according to their present position and focus. Different views of the landscape and multiple perspectives may be superimposed on one another. Our own work often involves a similar kind of abstract "mapping." We move through the world, recording significant details of a given place or journey, mixing, rearranging, and overlaying multiple sonic perspectives in ways that often distort actual scale/volume or geographical relationships.


  1. Interesting gig. There were four of us: Steves B & P, Jonathan, Pete. Discreet stereo set-ups placed around SAM's usual Australian gallery (not the main show) using small speakers and amps. Some sound bleed from DJs and rock bands out in the SAM lobby, but not too bad. Noise from loud visitors was more of an issue. Quite the scene!

    Lots of people walking through, not there for us but stumbling upon us as part of the larger "happening." The fact that we didn't have to hold the interest of a stationary concert audience freed us up to do longer, slower things, and allowed for people watching and interactions with the audience.

    Many people were curious, asked us questions. Steve B and Pete got the brunt of that due to their locations. Chatting with people while performing - not something we typically do! But I liked that there was room for that to happen. Not exactly an ideal scenario, but not bad and an interesting challenge/change of pace for us.

  2. This performance's biggest difference from other gigs was the fact that it was not a controlled listening experience for our set. On the one hand that bothers me a bit as I don't like the idea of being lounge music. However, the sounds we record and playback in our performances happen regardless of our presence and recording of them. They go largely unnoticed by the world in which they exist. We ended up transporting that experience to this location in a way. Our presence seemed to go mostly unnoticed by the general crowd, much like the sounds in their natural locations. However, some people did seemed interested and either stopped a bit to listen or to ask what we were doing. The seemed genuinely curious and engaged.
    The experience of responding to the Aboriginal work was very rewarding.

  3. I could choose to fit the canvas print that I was ordering from to the pattern and color of the wallpaper in my living room. I could search for artwork by subject matter and even predominant colors. Then I customized the frame online because the site allowed me to match the frame style with different wallpapers, one of which looked like ours.
    So now have this canvas print by Pierre Bonnard,