On Tuesday October 28th I’m giving a free, open-to-the-public talk at Cooper Union. It’s part of their Interdisciplinary Seminar speaker series. Expect discussion of Sufi Plug Ins, Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ, and, if the clock allows, my thoughts on nonlinear time vis-à-vis databases, Aztec loop music, and Christopher Columbus’s faulty biodiesel clipper.
I was asked to assign brief readings for students in the course, and gave them this:
Jace Clayton, “The Voice of Huitzilopochtli” Frieze
Jace Clayton, “Something New: Cairo finds a voice in festival music” Fader
Lev Manovich, “Database as Symbolic Form”
This weekend we’re bringing The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner to Toronto! I’m happy to make the project’s Canadian debut at the Music Gallery’s Avant X Festival, which is hosting all sorts of interesting events, such as the JEMD afterparty event with Dutty Artz’ DJ Ushka and our Quebecois point-man Poirier!
Things begin on Saturday at 5pm, when I have a free public conversation with Marcus Boon. Then JEMD at 7pm, and the party with Ushka, Poirier, and special guest DJ happens after we take our collective disco nap.
There’s been a nice buzz of preview press for the show, including this article by LBBTQ mag Xtra: “Jace Clayton Honours A Gay Guerilla.”
VIVA LOS ANGELES!
On Saturday October 11th, we bring the Julius Eastman Dinner to Los Angeles with a performance at REDCAT! Very excited for our West Coast debut. Eastman fans are in for a rare treat: the evening begins with Amy Knowles presenting her interpretation of Eastman’s “Crazy Nigger” for looped electronic percussion.
Two days before that, on Thursday October 9th, I will speak at the Art Center in Pasadena. The talk is free and open to the public. info PDF. OK gang — see you in the sunlight.
Remember the color-coded Homeland Security Threat Level system?
Remember how it made you feel?
My latest project is called Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ. It’s a participatory music performance transforming security threats into spiritual renewal. It debuts on Thursday September 11th, the Ethiopian New Year (Ethiopia uses its own calendar system) in Washington D.C. Continue reading
Back in April I did a video for Sarah Urist Green & John Green’s Art Assignment, PBS Digital’s weekly series where artists devise ‘assignments’ for the viewers to complete. My assignment was: take a stroll until you find the quietest place within walking distance and document it with photo or video, sharing the results on social media via #theartassignment. Amazing documentation poured in from all over the globe.
Ssshhhhh – YOU PEOPLE ARE GREAT. ‘The Quitest Place’ received a record number of responses, several of which are featured in this highlight reel:
And here John riffs on my assignment in an airport for his wildly popular Youtube Vlog Brothers.
“attention has become so fractured on the internet that there is no longer room in YouTube videos for any silence”
this Sunday Aug 24, find us playing an *8pm early show* in Brooklyn:
- DJ Rupture
- No Lands (album release!)
- Lorna Dune
@ Baby’s All Right
tix | FB
///// and here’s a new mix
On Sunday August 24, we’ll be meeting to discuss Senselessness (2004, 2008 English trans.), a dynamite novella from Central American author Horacio Castellanos Moya.
It takes the form of a monologue, so everything we get comes from the mouth of, as the book jacket text describes, “an alcoholic, atheist, sex-obsessed writer [who] finds himself employed by the Catholic Church (an institution he loathes) to edit the testimonies of the survivors of slaughtered Indian villages.”
Senselessness is agonizing/ly funny, profane & political, entertainingly written yet dealing with huge issues surrounding language and authority, grieving and historical memory — it’s no surprise that Castellanos Moya’s early novels earned him death threats, leading him to take up residence in exile…in Pittsburgh.
I recently spent time in the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. My hosts make sure that I left with fresh cinnamon and many love songs from Palestine.
Shatila Camp Mix – track 9
She’s talking about love for her land/country, the water. She addresses a traveler who is going to Ramallah, she says take my soul with you.
The second half she says:
Oh mother, there’s a knock on our door it’s our beloveds
There’s a strong knock on our door, it’s the fedayeen, the ones who long for/love freedom
They knock on our door
And then some love for a dark palestinian woman
It sounds like a folk song or a combo of a few folk songs
Shatila Camp Mix – track 7
This Sunday I’m presenting the Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner at the Bang On A Can Marathon in lower Manhattan. The event is free. The lineup is stellar. We go on in late afternoon right after the incredible Meredith Monk! (Eastman sang on Monk’s Dolmen Music) Other performers include Jherek Bischoff, Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion. Info.
Summer reading time! On Sunday July 6th we’ll meet in Manhattan to discuss Etel Adnan’s Sitt Marie Rose. This remarkable novella was written in 1977 by Lebanese artist Etel Adnan. These days Adnan is more recognized for her painting — she was a quiet hero of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Elsewhere, Adnan’s words have been put to music by Henry Threadgill and Gavin Bryars. Point is, Adnan does many things very well.
Sitt Marie Rose is light and heavy, experimental and matter-of-fact, this story set during the Lebanese Civil War in which gendered violence might be the real civil war. It is also about the way cities feel and tense up. There is politics and religion and luminous sentences as precise and glowing as Adnan’s abstract paintings. The title character is a teacher of deaf-mute children and the language throughout pays great attention to sound, vibration, and silence.
It can be tough to find in bookstores so here’s a purchase page recommended by the publisher. E-book versions exist too. Head here to check out other Mudd Up Book Clubb selections.
[Etel Adnan, title unknown, from Documenta 13]
I tell myself that it would be better to let loose a million birds in the sky over Lebanon, so that these hunters could practice on them, and this carnage could be avoided. – Sitt Marie Rose