Subwoofer Hot Tub: Eyvind Kang
Saturday, November 18, 2017
7:00 - 7:45pm
Veronica, Seattle WA
Subwoofer Hot Tub is a performance installation by The Perfect Nothing Catalog & Kenzo Niwa
Curator Fionn Meade will play a recording of Eyvind Kang’s work, done collaboratively at the Swiss Institute in NYC October 5, 2013, through the hot tub. His brief remarks will include thoughts on Kang, Darboven, and advocacy for the importance of composers within the context of international contemporary art. These remarks will be presented within the context of Subwoofer Hot Tub.
Renowned composer and violist Eyvind Kang brings his own consonant, alchemical precision to all of his work, including his recorded excerpts of Hanne Darboven’s Wende 80 (“Turning Point,” 1980/81) and Requiem Op. 19.
Based primarily on transposing numbers, Hanne Darboven’s notational visual language eventually came to let in transcribed texts from favorite writers, her own looping, cursive script, found and re-photographed images, music and beyond: ever-expanding, ever-condensing. Often hinting at the opposite of its calendrical, self-evident rigor, Darboven’s compositional ardor embodies, corrupts, and renews time.
Below is a transcript of remarks made by Meade at the Swiss Institue, October 5, 2013. He will revisit these in this new context:
[This concert] is quite obviously in the context of Hanne Darboven’s work, including this piece Urzeit/ Uhrzeit which is on both sides of the space. It is an interesting title because as some of you know it means a primeval time but also the origins and it gets into some of the interesting qualities of Hanne Darboven’s work and the invitation this evening to Eyvind Kang and Trevor Dunn to perform excerpts from two different pieces by Darboven. Interestingly, the first piece that is going to be played tonight is called Wende 80 and it’s the first musical piece of Hanne Darboven’s to be presented (I’m not sure if it’s the first she composed) but it was actually presented in 1981 at Leo Castelli Gallery which was at 142 Greene Street, literally a few blocks away, so it is an interesting thing to revisit that aspect.
This also gets into that idea of time—kind of compressing and elongating in Darboven’s work in an impossible way. As you probably know with Darboven’s work if you’ve seen Cultural History up at Dia or her other works that involve impositions of photographs and get into pinup images, political imagery, it really actually tries to grab, and again, account for a lot of cultural iconography within a system that started with only numbers and then gradually opened up to the script which you’re probably familiar with (if you look at the piece) as well as, eventually, music. And that was something that happened in her work in the 70s. Which is the time of the end of the Wirtschaftswunder, the German economic “miracle” so to speak of West Germany. And I think that’s very important thing to acknowledge in Darboven’s work, and indeed Wende, the first musical piece to be presented is 1980 and this is after the German Army and the Red Army fractioned, and why I bring that up is that Darboven’s work is maybe often seen as an isolated practice, hermetic. And indeed there are qualities of it that are hermetic and idiosyncratic. But also there’s very much an inclusion of cultural material and cultural residue and trace. And I think that is what you see in her opening of her work to music. The first piece, Wende, actually started in some ways from a transcription, a transposition, a conversation between Helmut Schmidt the chancellor of West Germany and Richard Von Strauss, the representative of the Bavarian government. So indeed you start to see in Darboven’s work, including the transition into musical composition, an accounting for her time and an accounting for her time personally but also culturally which is I think worth noting when you hear this first piece, again, the first time it was performed was just a few blocks away in 1981.
The second piece is actually her most significant musical piece, Requiem. and indeed the excerpt is Requiem, Opus 19, that Eyvind and Trevor are going to perform this evening. And that is a very complicated piece, and I’m not going to get that far into it, but in part you’ll hear this sort of motif from Bach’s Toccata,Toccata in D, and you’ll hear aspects of that in the repetition of this work. So, I think that’s maybe enough to say, but just that the work is not the work of an isolated artist but actually the work of an artist that increasingly over time brought in a lot of cultural material and you can see that there’s an analytic turn to the iconography of her work. So I do want to say, first of all—this is an incidental thing—Eyvind is an amazing composer, and was just performing these pieces of Darboven’s and just two weeks later and he and Trevor are in town and reprising these two works of Darboven’s. Eyvind is a composer that has done a lot of amazing work in the last five years that draws on his interest in his travels in Asia, Africa, the Middle East as well as his home terrain, territory, the Pacific Northwest of this country, which is where I’m from, that’s where we met, and he has performed regularly with a long list of amazing people from Laurie Anderson to John Zorn, Beck, Animal Collective, etc., but his music if you haven’t listened to it I highly recommend that you should. And I think that’s enough and will turn it over to the musicians.
— Fionn Meade