Lee Ranaldo and Leah Singer: Sight Unseen

Lee Ranaldo and Leah Singer have worked together since 1991 with film and music in a live setting, performing work that explores how sound and image interact, with elements of chance embraced. On June 30th, Sight Unseen used image and sound, the drone of a guitar string, the flash of a film frame set up as an open installation activated by performance.


Lee Ranaldo co-founded Sonic Youth in 1981, and has been active from New York for the past 35 years, recording, performing, collaborating with numerous others, producing discs, exhibiting visual art and publishing volumes of poetry and journals. He has performed with partner Leah Singer throughout the world. His recently completed new album, Electric Trim, is out for release. He is music producer for HBO’s VINYL series. His Hurricane Transcriptions (based on wind recordings made during Hurricane Sandy in NYC in 2012), originally written for Berlin’s Kaleidoscop String Ensemble, was recently reduced for performances with Brooklyn’s Dither Electric Guitar Quartet. Recent live performances with Singer, Contre Jour, have been large scale, multi projection sound+light events with suspended electric guitar phenomena that challenge the usual performer/audience relationship via in-the- round staging.

Leah Singer was born in Winnipeg, moving east to Toronto, Montreal and Tokyo before settling in New York City. She is a visual artist and a writer. Her artist publications are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The live manipulated film and video performances she started doing in the early 1990’s in collaboration with musicians, including husband Lee Ranaldo, have toured widely including to The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Reykjavik Arts Festival, and the JUE music festival in Shanghai. She continues to develop site-specific video installations intended to exist both as static artworks and components to live music performances. She recently contributed video to the multi artist project, The Exhibition of a Film, curated by Mathieu Copeland with recent screenings at the Tate Museum and the Centre Georges Pompidou.