Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Good Week

The world is so full of those of us who work in privacy and relative isolation that I honestly don't know - beyond a surmise - about how other people feel about encountering versions of their own work in the wider world. In my case, I hardly ever encounter it, so this was an interesting week for me - it happened not once, but twice, and it was pretty nice both times.

Back in the days when J. was in grad school in New York, John Schaefer's program on WNYC-fm New Sounds was a favorite late-night listen. I heard so much of music I have come to love and value on that show, and it was a great way to end a long day. And I was tickled to death back in the 1980s when John actually played some of my cassette-only releases.

So you can imagine that I was kind of happy on Monday I got a couple of notes from sharp-eyed friends bearing pretty wonderful news: some of my recent work was going to be featured on an episode of New Sounds! I'm not embarrassed to say that I cracked open a Grolsch, sat on the couch with J., and really enjoyed myself - not least because I was in the company of musicians whose work I really enjoyed. I hope that's not too vain. You can hear an archived edition of the program, should it strike your fancy.

The second of the week's pleasures all started with a problem: at the end of the 2005 AES conference in New York, my flight was cancelled, leaving me with a good bit of a day and nothing much to do. My friend Luke Dubois, whose radar for the wonderful is finely calibrated, suggested I might enjoy an exhibition entitled Obsessive Drawing at the American Museum of Folk Art. The work
really impressed me - in particular, the work of New Zealander John Thompson. So I meditated on the work, and a week or so later started on a Jitter patch which would do something similar to what I'd seen as a kind of homage. I posted an early version of the patch to the Cycling '74 Jitter forum, and also thought it'd be of some interest to Christy Matson an artist I'd originally met when she attended a Max/MSP day/night school that I'd assisted with several years ago. Christy wrote back to ask if she might use my patch to create some objects, and - of course - I said yes. And waited to see what would happen.

It was worth the wait. Yesterday, J. and I piled into the car for a whirlwind trip to the Hyde Park Art Center to see what she'd done with the Jitter patch as raw material before the exhibition closed the next day.

The things that Christy had made from the humble Jitter patch were really beautiful - these elegant and rich black pieces shot through with the gleam of metal when struck at just the right angle by the light [they're tough to photograph, as what I've included here might suggest].

Several of the large works are actually interactive audio pieces - touching them allows you to interact with work from her collaborator in this project Mark Gallay.

Since there was another exhibition that involved a sequence of loud bands playing in a performance space next door, the audio was turned off. So the interaction portion is left for next time. There is a sample of the work here, though.

Between sitting quietly with J. and hearing my work on a program that was really central to forming my own sensibilities and seeing an idea of mine transformed into a beautiful bunch of objects by Christy, it was a good week.