Artist-In-Residence Ben Vida performs the East Coast Premiere of Damaged Particulates, an eleven movement solo composition for fixed and live electronics presented in four channel expanded stereo. The program also includes his recent work Extraction, released October 2013 on Future Audio Graphics. This work is accompanied by a micro-lecture on the theme of "Extraction", presented by Curator Anthony Elms.
Rather than building up multi-voiced sound events, Damaged Particulates emphasizes the morphology and spatialization of single and dual voiced sonic particulates. These particulates are ordered and aggregated to create stark juxtapositions. This process is occasionally disrupted when four voices are presented in parallel, all interrelated through a shared system of control sources. Though minimal in elements this composition is at once sonically dense, grossly visceral and disjunctively rhythmic. Sound objects take on an almost physical presence within the performance space allowing spatialization to become a compositional material, and discordant sonic composites act to complicate traditional compositional logic.
A few thoughts on Particulate Systems:
Speech and music can be thought of as “particulate” systems in which a set of discrete elements of little inherent meaning (such as tones and phonemes) are combined to form structures with a great diversity of meaning (Hockett & Altman, 1968; Merker, 2002). Though what can be communicated through speech and music in terms of cognitive processing is inherently different, the commonality between the two structures is that both utilize a particulate system to communicate a wide range of meaning in an economical way. Through the ordering and combining of particulates one controls the building up, and inversely, breaking down of meaning or sense.
And it’s this tipping point: that space between building up and breaking down meaning, or between musical representation and sonic abstraction, that is the conceptual starting point for Damaged Particulates. A finite number of sonic elements are used to produce a composition that, through the ordering of non-specific sound objects, creates a sonic space where both musical sense and nonsense can exist in parallel. It is ones own personal biological sound system and history of listening that will determine for each individual listener whether this sound work is capable of communicating any musical sense at all.
Ben Vida has worked with artists Siebren Versteeg, Meredyth Sparks, Marina Rosenfeld, Luke Fowler, Hisham Bharoocha, Nadia Hironaka, and Mathew Suib and has played in ensembles led by Tony Conrad, Rhys Chattam, and Werner Dafeldecker. He has performed with with David Behrman, Tyondai Braxton, Nate Wooley, Ryan Sawyer, Chad Taylor, Eli Keszler, Yamatsuka Eye, and C. Spencer Yeh, among many others. He has released over twenty records on such labels as Thrill Jockey, Drag City, PAN, Amish, Bottrop-Boy, Hapna, and Kranky. In 2011 Vida was Composer in Residency at Diapason Space, NYC and at EMS Studios, Stockholm and was awarded a Swedish Arts Committee Travel Grant, ISSUE Project Room Emerging Artists Commission and Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona "Composing with Process" Exclusive Works Commission. 2012 he premiered a new composition for fixed electronics and small ensemble commissioned by the ACM/Palomar Ensemble in Chicago. In the spring of 2013 he was an Artist in Residence at Clocktower, NYC and is a 2013 resident at ISSUE Project Room. Vida’s first solo exhibition, “Slipping Control” opened at Audio Visual Arts Gallery in Manhattan in April 2013. As both a solo artist and in collaboration Vida has presented his work in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South Korea, and Japan.
Anthony Elms is Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and is also the Editor of WhiteWalls Inc. His writings have appeared in Afterall, Art Asia Pacific, Art Papers, Artforum, Cakewalk, May Revue, Modern Painters, New Art Examiner, Time Out Chicago, and many catalogs. He has independently curated many exhibitions, including: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-61 (with John Corbett and Terri Kapsalis); Interstellar Low Ways (with Huey Copeland); Can Bigfoot Get You a Beer?, and A Unicorn Basking in the Light of Three Glowing Suns (both with Philip von Zweck).