Neuf experimental film group had the great pleasure of being invited to collaborate with the fantastic ensamble Trip-Tik and their wonderful guests to a great line up of improvised music to silent films at Pushkin House in Bloomsbury Square.
The sensitivity, spontaneity and inventiveness of these musicians playing to our films was a joy to see.
Neuf members Trisha McCrae Lemons and Tacks, Sally Todd Insomniac, Steve Russell, Susanne Jasilek, and Helen Judge films were sensitively interpreted by TripTik ensamble Catherine Pluygners on Oboe, Adrian northover on Sax, Adam Bohman on Found Objects, David Leahy on Double Bass, Vladimir Miller on Keyboards.
It’s rare to see such intuitive creative performing.
Block 336 is the cultural magnet of Brixton. It’s a very active building space shared with other cultural organizations. My films Rockaby and Lucretia were screened in the raw and roomy basement. The perfect space to mix experimental video art and improvised musicians. The concrete walls and metal dividing doors were a bonus both acoustically and visually.
There is a healthy desire to look at other modes of screening film and playing music. This venue promotes melting pot different kinds of art music and performance that come together to look and explore these new ways. Most of the musicians are classically trained now exploring free improvisation; Sue Lynch and Ruth Marshall a violin/voice player sympathetically in tune with a saxophonist: Dave Fowler and Jerry Wigens a drummer with electronic guitar. Triptik ensemble, Adam Bohman with his cutting edge sonic art, Adrian Northover ‘s jazz soprano and alto sax and Catherine Pluygers oboe and harmonica all were exploring the language and vocabulary of the interaction, collaboration and experimentation. The musicians had much in common they all had utter integrity and courage. They were inquisitive and experimental and sympathetic to their fellow performer and celebrated new and exciting ways to communicate with the films.
There is a discourse emerging around these new ways of playing. Lyotard was right when he prophesized the end of the grand narratives. These new ways of playing, promoted by new materials and modes of communication and of course the experimental nature of the performer force us to recognize that the old programme of mastering and possessing the single narrative flow is out of date. These new ways of working also question the idea of being in control, here in Brixton images, movements and sequences themselves generated new processes resulting in ever expanding connections equivalents and meanings. It was a Flux place to be. I was glad to be amongst such a creative lot.
The exciting innovative work I have seen this weekend offers insight into understanding the development and practice of experimental art today. These processes were seen in the refreshing approaches given by Indefinite Articles performance of Penumbra at the Roundhouse and the avant guard ensemble Triptik at the 14th London New Wind Festival.
Both of these shows had much in common and say as much about the performer as it did the performance. All had utter integrity, courage, were inquisitive and experimental and celebrated new and exciting ways to communicate.
In Penumbra Sally Todd and Steve Tiplady used their bodies to communicate an intimate view of a serene world through measured corporeal movement and rhythmic sensual music. In a mix of silhouettes, puppets and live action they took the viewer into a shadow world where desires were fulfilled. They shaped their environment truthfully and skillfully using multiple screens, exotic colours and reflections to give a witty, romantic expose of both themselvesand their journey.
TripTik’s performance as usual was radical and fantastic. The ensemble improvised to films by Helen Petts, the work of performance artist Vicky Langan and experimental filmmaker Maximillian Le Cain, Patirica Walsh and my film Lucretia. Lucretia demanded close observation as it was screened triptych style with a narrative in two parts. TripTik rose to the occasion and together reached a moving dissonant crescendo for the rape scene and a light lyrical rendition for the animation. I was very grateful for such a sensitive response to my film.Their guests John Russell and Roland Ramanen entered the collective ‘play’ very smoothly. They all had a sense of immediate communication I particularly loved the energized play off between Adrian North playing sax and Rolland Ramanen on trumpet. The evening’s repertoire was varied with many rhythms, styles and diverging codes. Adam Bohmans sound piece was superb. It’s refreshing to be amongst artists with alternative value systems. Their culture of spontaneity is electric.
With so much of our viewing these days prescriptive and deceptively ordered both Indefinite Articles and TripTik make performances which tap the revolutionary energy of experimentalism! Check them out.