In the Eye of the Ear II | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

In the Eye of the Ear II 

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Artists who design sound installations are working at a frontier where the aesthetics are still being debated, where the criteria for critique are yet to be determined. With, say, a Mozart symphony, which is an assemblage of identifiable sounds organized according to certain principles, most of us can grasp the appeal and compare performances. With the so-called sound art, we're asked to suspend skepticism while listening to novel ways of organizing sounds familiar and unfamiliar. In this six-night festival, put together by Art Institute graduate student Steven Barsotti, the works fall roughly into two categories--those that use traditional instruments and those that don't. For the opening concert on Friday, Barsotti has invited Irish mixed-media artist Fergus Kelly, who tries to aurally evoke, through electronic manipulation, industrial environments. The piece he'll be performing involves playing an adapted bass on a tabletop with a variety of household implements, including chopsticks, a pocket fan, and an electric shaver. The sounds thus produced are then mixed and layered to build up a dense structure over time (about 20 minutes). Also on the program is a piece by Elizabeth Salvia, another student at the Art Institute, who recites texts both live and via tape playback. Through the intertwining of the various strands of words--a device originating in the 50s--some kind of meaning and message can be gleaned, but equally interesting is the way the utterances slide into one another, as in a fugue. Featured in the traditional-instrument segment is ace bassist Tatsu Aoki. He'll be jamming as usual in a demonstration of the dynamic possibilities of an instrument invented for rhythmic accompaniment. (Other relative traditionalists performing this weekend include Swedish sax whiz Mats Gustafsson and the versatile Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang.) Friday and Saturday, 8 PM, Sunday, 7 PM, next Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12, 8 PM, and next Sunday, October 13, 7 PM, Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted; 733-4668.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Fergus Kelly photo by Rene Heid/Elizabeth Salvia photo/Tatsu Aoki photo by Carolyn Mccartney.

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