babybot: PROJECT PAGE
When visual artist Nick Lamia hangs his paintings in a gallery show, he’ll sometimes paint out from the individual works, extending lines, shapes, and color fields onto the walls and floor to construct a connective network linking the individual paintings—setting them into a transient conversation with each other that lasts for the duration of the exhibition. Lamia and I are excited by the possibilities we see in generating this sort of visual/spatial dialogue dynamically—using projections and light to create relationships that can change interactively in real time, triggered by the physical and aural components of a musical performance.
Composer Andrea Mazzariello’s found-object percussion quartet Babybot, becomes the bones of this collaborative performance installation featuring Sandbox Percussion. Mazzariello’s Babybot, which charts a never-look-back build in amplitude and and complexity, gets divided into a sequence of escalating levels that the performing musicians must traverse. The players can only advance past each successive section according to a governing set of musical and spatial principles and rules. They navigate toward the piece’s conclusion, moving through a physical environment that is designed to be both the instrument they play, and a transforming kinetic expansion of their journey.
MARK DECHIAZZA is a director, filmmaker, designer, and choreographer. Many of his projects explore interactions between music performance and media to discover new expressive possibilities.
Called “wildly imaginative” and “a tour de force” by the Washington Post, Columbine’s Paradise Theater, his music-theater collaboration with composer Amy Beth Kirsten, continues a relationship with multiple-Grammy winning ensemble eighth blackbird that began in 2009 with his acclaimed production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Kirsten and DeChiazza are currently developing Quixote, an evening-length music-theater work (US premiere 2016).
Other recent projects include choreography and design for Pulitzer-winning composer John Luther Adams’ Sila, a massive site-determined piece for 80 musicians commissioned by Lincoln Center, design and staging of the NYC fashion week SS15 installation/event for Japanese fashion label pas de calais.
DeChiazza’s film A Colloquy with God, made for New York Polyphony, was featured on NPR Music as was his interpretive concert video of So Percussion performing Steven Mackey’s It Is Time which has been viewed by an audience of over 20,000. American Composers Orchestra and The Crossing premiered his film for Amy Beth Kirsten’s strange pilgrims premiered by at Carnegie Hall in February 2014
DeChiazza is currently directing a music video for the band Victoire’s upcoming new album Vespers for a New Dark Age, and is directing and designing ORPHEUS UNSUNG: an opera for electric guitar, a new collaboration with Steven Mackey (US premiere in 2016).
(more info and press at markdechiazza.com)
ANDREA MAZZARIELLO is a composer, performer, writer, and teacher. His music thinks through the capabilities of the performing body, in terms of both instrumental technique and the possibilities afforded by technological intervention, and pays special attention to the treatment and setting of his own original text, spoken and sung.
He’s active as a solo performer of his own work for a novel and evolving instrumental setup, and has presented in such diverse venues as The Knitting Factory, Cakeshop, the Queens New Music Festival, and the Wassaic Festival. His concert music has been performed or read by the New Jersey Symphony, The Berkshire Symphony, So Percussion, NOW Ensemble, and Newspeak, among many others.
In 2011, he completed his Ph.D. in Music Composition at Princeton University, writing on the vinyl resurgence and its connection to our ideas of physicality and abstraction in music analysis. He holds an M.M. from the University of Michigan and graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with degrees in music and english.
Andrea joined the faculty of the Princeton Writing Program in 2010, and currently teaches a seminar called "Found Sound."
NICK LAMIA is an award-winning artist whose work includes drawing, painting, printmaking, installation and sculpture. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship as well as residencies at Wave Hill, The MacDowell Colony, the Robert Blackburn Print Workshop and the Triangle Artists Association where he is now a member of the board of directors. 500 of his small scale drawings were included in the inaugural Bronx Museum Biennial in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include “Coppice” at Jason McCoy Gallery in New York and “Greenhouse,” for which he created a group of site-specific wall works for the Richard Meier building at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.
" By combining paintings, sound and projected video, the works will become enveloping manifestations of their formerly flat selves and will provide viewers an immersive, multi-sensory experience."
NICK LAMIA ON THE ANIMATIONS FOR BABYBOT: Since the completion of my Master’s degree in painting in 2000, my artistic practice has evolved from strictly two-dimensional media to include multiple-canvas works, and then mixed-media installations. Each new development and added component has made my artworks more immersive, eventually surrounding viewers with visual stimuli. The natural extension of this progression is to create even more fully engaging works that not only wrap viewers with static visual imagery, but also include moving pictures and sound. babybot is an ideal project to achieve this goal. By combining paintings, sound and projected video, the works will become enveloping manifestations of their formerly flat selves and will provide viewers an immersive, multi-sensory experience. This project will allow me to break new ground in my practice and open new aesthetic territory, which is the most exciting and fruitful part of the art-making process for me.
Test Animation: An exploration of an animated object that emerges from blackness, and after a series of developments, disappears again.
This study introduces temporally disconnected moments from the sequence by superimposing them over a linear evolution of the same composition. (Such manipulations will eventually be linked to real time input from sensors).
An excerpt of an audio recording of babybot is used as score, for the sake of evaluating the interaction of sonic and visual textures.
Babybot, written in anticipatory joy and apprehension as my wife and I awaited the birth of our first child, imagines a kind of hypercontrolled tantrum on found objects. The reimagination we propose surrenders some of this control and amplifies the joy of discovery and community that inspired the original piece in the first place. We cut into the music, demarcating sections that could be looped at the performers’ discretion as the move through space. Visually engaging this movement, through drawing, animation, light, and shadow, allows the piece to radiate into other media and, most importantly, forms an ad hoc community around making something new.
Babybot in its original, unexploded form, performed by students at So Percussion Summer Institute at Princeton University. The piece was performed on 4 identical setups built of ordinary objects in an arrangement that referred to a drum kit. In the installation version, these setups will be duplicated many more times, in both complete and incomplete form. These setups will come to define a course through which the musicians must travel to reach the end of the piece.
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Test Animaton: Chalk on slate, linear evolution, no time distortion