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Ears Back, Eyes Forward: Video shorts from musicians and other listeners
A video reel curated by Mike and Linda Aubry Bullock
February 6 - March 1

Image: still from Naomi Yang’s Furrows Again

Ears Back, Eyes Forward brings together 11 artists whose video works engaged us in the past year. Most of the artists represented have strong sonic roots and branches in their highly varied outputs. Even those who may not consider themselves sound artists produced pieces with a canny ear for detail and timing. And throughout, they use sound and silence to take a listen back onto memories of communication, loss, and transition.

Featuring works by:

Malcy Duff [Edinburgh, Scotland]: Snowcone
Dina Kelberman [Baltimore, MD]: Colors Movie
Naomi Yang [Cambridge, MA]: Furrows Again (music by Richard Youngs)
Neil Young Cloaca [Turners Falls, MA]: Impractical Palynology
Seth Cluett [Montclair, NJ]: Recollection
Vic Rawlings & Jeff Silva [Easthampton & Boston, MA]: Excerpts from 215 Dead End Road
Camille Escudero [Brussels, Belgium]: Vacillements de Rétine and Selfie Board On
Mazen Kerbaj [Beirut, Lebanon]: Inkology (in four movements)
Bonnie Jones [Baltimore, MD]: Unititled (in memory of Cynthia Gray)
C. Spencer Yeh [Brooklyn, NY]: Landscapes and Subtitles
C. Spencer Yeh is represented by Electronic Arts Intermix (eai.org)

Total time: 56 min. 33 sec.

About the artists:

Malcy Duff (b.1978) is a cartoonist from Edinburgh, Scotland. His comix include ‘The Banana / Skin Joke,’ ‘The Heroic Mosh Of Mary’s Son,’ and the ‘Rrobots’ anthology. His work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, and has exhibited internationally. He also performs and records in the duo Usurper, which he co-founded with Ali Robertson in 2003. Currently he is on a break from playing competitive badminton.

Camille Escudero lives and works in Brussels, Belgium.

Video practice has broken by a truant way, with a ciné-concert-performance, to flee from the visual overstatement of our little Western modernity. To take again the sensitive way of the eye: where does it choose to linger and to break global flow? To go out from the vicious cycle: to own an image, to be owned by an image.

The eye was here, the vision too: obvious and immediate. Democratization of video tools (capture, editing, distribution) has made the back to a fairground and “handy” videographic practice possible.

Dina Kelberman is an artist living and working in Baltimore, MD. She works in a wide variety of media including screencaps, animated gifs, comics, painting, playwriting, photography, and sculpture. She has shown and spoken about her work internationally, is a founding member of the Wham City artist collective and for 6 years a weekly comics contributor to the Baltimore City Paper. Kelberman was recently invited to create an original web-based piece, “Smoke and Fire,” for the New Museum.

Mazen Kerbaj is a trumpeter and cartoonist living and working in Beirut, Lebanon. He is the co-founder of the Irtijal experimental musical festival, and founder of the record labels Al Maslakh and Johnny Kafta’s Kid’s Menu. He has several books of cartoons published by L’Association [France].

Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American writer, improvising musician, and performer working primarily with electronic music and text. Born in 1977 in South Korea she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Bonnie creates improvised and composed text-sound performances that explore the fluidity and function of electronic noise (field recordings, circuit bending) and text (poetry, found, spoken, visual). She is interested in how people perceive, “read” and interact with these sounds and texts given our current technological moment. Bonnie has received commissions from the London ICA and has presented her work in the US, Europe, and Asia and collaborates frequently with writers and musicians. She received her MFA at the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College. http://www.bonniejones.wordpress.com

Seth Cluett (b. 1976 in Troy, NY) explores everyday actions at extreme magnification, celebrates minutiae by amplifying impossible tasks, and explores the working of memory in forms that rethink the role of the senses in an increasingly technologized society. As an artist, performer, and composer whose work ranges from photography and drawing to video, installation, concert music, and critical writing, his “subtle…seductive, immersive” (Artforum) sound work has been characterized as “rigorously focused and full of detail” (e/i) and “dramatic, powerful, and at one with nature” (The Wire). Boomkat described his 2011 CD Objects of Memory on the Line Imprint as a “beautifully tremulous and thoughtful exploration in electro-acoustic sound.” His research interests investigate the media history of the loudspeaker, the history and documentation of sound in art, archival practices for media art, and architectural acoustics. The recipient of grants from Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Fund, Meet the Composer, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, he has presented work in thirteen countries on five continents at venues such as MassMoCA, The Kitchen, GRM, Palais de Tokyo, STEIM, and Dundee Contemporary Arts. Recent work is documented on Line, Radical Matters, Sedimental, Notice, and Winds Measure recordings. An active writer, he has published articles for Tacet, BYPASS, Shifter, Intransitive, The Open Space Magazine, Leonardo Music Journal, 306090, Earshot, and the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. In 2012, Cluett joined the faculty of Contemporary Arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey where he teaches courses in audio engineering as well as electronic and experimental sound practices.

Vic Rawlings is a composer, improviser, teacher, and instrument builder based in Boston. He performs and teaches across North America and Europe. He uses instruments of his own design: an amplified/extensively prepared cello and a highly unstable electronic instrument with an array of exposed speaker elements. He collaborates with a broad range of artists (Christian Wolff, Ikue Mori, Andrea Neumann, Sean Meehan, and Bhob Rainey), and works in film, theater and dance. His writings have appeared in a variety of journals and his work has been widely reviewed.

He gives artist talks and leads master classes and workshops at numerous and diverse institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Oberlin Conservatory, schools for the blind, high schools, grade schools, juvenile detention facilities and homeless shelters. His sound-based music curriculum engages students of all levels in participatory experiences that broaden their appreciation of the phenomenon of sound and the possibilities presented by music.

Jeff Daniel Silva is an artist, teacher & curator based in Boston. Jeff studied Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College and received an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. He currently teaches at Harvard University & The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in experimental, documentary and ethnographic film studies and production. Jeff is also the co-founder and co-curator of the acclaimed Balagan Experimental Film Series at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Over the past ten years Jeff has developed a diverse body of work from multi-channel installations to short films and experimental documentaries that have screened internationally at festivals and in galleries. His projects tend to challenge boundaries & conventions, whether it be spatial, temporal, cinematic, aesthetic, ethical, cultural, personal or political. Using the moving-image as a vehicle for exploring ambiguity, paradox and corporeality in culture and society.

Naomi Yang is a photographer, musician (formerly of Galaxie 500, currently in Damon & Naomi), graphic designer, photographer, and video director.

C. Spencer Yeh is recognized for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist, composer, and improviser, as well as his music project Burning Star Core. Recent presentations of work include The Companion at the Liverpool Biennial, Modern Mondays at MoMA, In Tones From Light to Dark at Performa 13, Excursus IV at the ICA Philadelphia, Kinomuzeum at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami FL, Electronic Arts Intermix NYC, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston TX, and a Jerome Foundation Commission from Roulette Intermedium. Yeh also collaborated with Triple Canopy for their contribution to the Whitney Biennial in 2014.

Recent recorded works include Ambient (with Robert Piotrowicz), 1975 (as C. Spencer Yeh), Transitions (as CS Yeh), and Wake Up Awesome, a collaboration with Okkyung Lee and Lasse Marhaug on the Software label. A collection of voice-based works will be published by Primary Information in 2015.

Yeh volunteers as a programmer and trailer editor for Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn NY. He recently co-organized and coordinated Spectacle’s residency as part of the Museum of Arts and Design’s NYC Makers: A MAD Biennial. Beginning in 2015, his video works will be distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix. He is also a contributing editor to BOMB magazine.

Neil Young Cloaca
A member of art rock quintet Fat Worm of Error since 2002, he has toured USA and EU and has released recordings on various independent labels. On his own, he performs and records under the Bromp Treb moniker, a project that explores noise, rhythm, and physical comedy coaxed out of intentionally unstable electroacoustic systems.

Similarly, his diaristic films are aggressively-edited, disorienting observations that play with sound-image relationships and distort any truth in memory. His work has been screened in microcinemas and independent art centers in the USA and EU.

Programming projects have included performance and screening series such as the Bright Rectangle, The Montague Phantom Brain Exchange, as well as The Peskeomskut Noisecapades, an outdoor winter landscape sound/performance festival held on ice. He lives in Western Massachusetts.

About the curators:

Mike Bullock
I am a composer, electroacoustic musician, and media artist based in Philadelphia, PA. My work has been presented across the US and in Europe, solo and in collaboration with a huge range of artists including Bertrand Gauguet, Andy Guhl, Mazen Kerbaj, Pauline Oliveros, Bhob Rainey, Steve Roden, Keith Rowe, and Christian Wolff.

I hold a PhD from the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and has taught and lectured in the US and Europe on field recording and improvisation. Collaborating with Linda Aubry Bullock, we perform together as rise set twilight and co-run the art-edition label Shadowselves.

Linda Aubry Bullock
In 2013 I founded Aubry Arts, creating handmade porcelain tableware, decorative accessories, and experimental works combining porcelain with other medium. I also create stop motion animation, video collages, and sound art as Orangecookie Image and Sound. My multimedia work combines rapidly-moving packets of visual information with sound from modular synthesizers, electronics, piano, harp, field recordings, and voice.

I’m half of the multimedia duo rise set twilight, with Mike Bullock; and provide vocals, electronics and guitar in the experimental psych drone band Twilight of the Century.

As part of the VJ duo Twin Stars, also with Mike Bullock, we perform live video. Our contrasting styles offset each other while emphasizing a common interest in intense, nuanced color and the borders between abstract and concrete imagery.
My other visual projects include dioramas, painting, and installations.

I studied music composition at Berklee College of Music (MA) and Bennington College (MFA).