Q&A: Maria Chavez On Creating Without Electricity And The Nature Of Sonic Truth

Categories: Interviews

via mariachavez.org
Abraham Gomez-Delgado performs in "What if we threw some dirt on the ground?" on Sunday.
Modern life as we know it is nearly impossible to picture without electricity and the things it powers. What if the plug was suddenly and irrevocably yanked? What manner of sonic amuse bouches might stand-in for sweaty basement power-electronic sets and hermetic minimalist noise listening sessions? A three-week series at End of Century entitled "What if we threw some dirt on the ground?" hopes to pose answers to these questions with performances that eschew electricity. The second night of the series, set for Sunday, will feature turntablist Tristan Shepard and multi-disciplinary artist Abraham Gomez-Delgado. SOTC emailed with NYC-based abstract turntablist and "What if" curator Maria Chavez about the origin of the series and her first vinyl release.

What was the impetus for the "What if we threw some dirt on the ground?" series?

The series was inspired by my own interest in creating sound pieces that can survive the test of time. In order for something to survive over a long time period, a few elements must fall into place—one of them being that the piece cannot be dependent on any energy sources that may be obsolete.

When End of Century asked me to curate a summer sound series, I immediately thought of approaching artists that either are electronics-based artists, or artists that are asking themselves the question: What would you create if there was no electricity?

Essentially, the title of the series is my answer to what I would want to create.

A few people had some issues with this question. Others circumvented the rule of no electricity in very creative ways.

I invited five artists to participate. There weren't any video submissions; just written proposals of what they would like to create for the series.

Sunday night was the first evening of the series. How did that go?

This past Sunday was a great way to start everything off. Ben Vida performed an acoustic duo guitar piece with Tim Garrigan where they just strummed one chord simultaneously for eight minutes. It was technically very difficult, I would assume, having to keep the same pace with each other.

Melissa Clarke created a sound piece using a glass sculpture she made. She "performed" on the glass shards using pebbles, guitar strings, which she rubbed on the glass sculpture and other glass shards.

This coming Sunday, Abraham Gomez-Delgado will show a mobile percussion sculpture that he created and will "perform." And Tristan hasn't told me what he will create, so I'm curious to see that.

The final show in the series, on Sunday, June 10th, will be a solo work from Shimpei Takeda, a photographer and filmmaker. He circumvented the "no electricity" rule by saying that the audience needs to bring the electricity. I am very curious to see how that will turn out.

Overall, everyone's approach to the series has been very open and creative. It's inspiring, to say the least.

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