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Charlemagne Palestine & Steve Dalachinsky / Dawn Kasper
September 15 | 8:00 pm
Saturday, September 15th, ISSUE presents an evening with legendary composer-performer Charlemagne Palestine performing alongside stalwart NYC poet Steve Dalachinsky as a part of the the 2018 Brooklyn Book Festival, co-presented with BOMB Magazine. Interdisciplinary artist and 2015 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence Dawn Kasper opens the evening, enacting part two of a new improvisation titled A, B, C : 0, 1, 2, 3.
Originally trained to be a cantor, Charlemagne Palestine is best known for his intensely performed piano works, in which he uses emblematic objects including teddy bears and scarves, what he regards as shamanic representations of the soul. Reprising his 2013 ISSUE performance with Dalachinsky, Charlemagne’s first-ever solo piano performance in his hometown of Brooklyn, this performance forgoes the piano in favor of a unknown exchange between the two Brooklyn-born artists — loosely described as a “kibbitz session in old style Brooklynese,” possibly involving electronics, voice, and poetry. Within the context of Charlemagne’s characteristically expanded ritualistic space, and with Dalachinsky poetry “seasoned by meaner times, recited with a jazz-horn flow,” both artists embark on a collaborative activation of location, machine, text, organism, and audience.
To mark the occasion of the Brooklyn Book Festival, the performance follows the 2017 publication of Palestine, first name Charlemagne – Meshugga Land, a biographical essay by Marie Canet, as well as Dalachinsky’s book Where Night and Day Become One, a text assembling more than thirty years of writing journals from the poet’s trips to Paris. Copies of both texts will be available.
Charlemagne Palestine is an American composer, performer, visual, video and installation artist born in Brooklyn. A contemporary of Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Phill Niblock, and Steve Reich, Palestine has invented and performed intense, ritualistic musics since the sixties, intended to instill new expectations of beauty and meaning in sound in Western audiences. A composer-performer originally trained to be a cantor in synagogue, he has always performed his own works as soloist. His earliest pieces were compositions for carillon, voice and electronic drones, and he is perhaps best known for his intensely performed piano works, entitled Strummings. Palestine’s performance style is ritualistic and shamanistic. He surrounds himself and his instruments with magical clothes and stuffed animal divinities, and begins every performance playing crystal glasses filled with cognac. In recent years he has been collaborating with many other performer/musicians around the world including Rhys Chatham, Z’ev, Oren Ambarchi, Perlonex, the late Mika Vaino, Gol, Mondkopf, Grumbling Fur among many others. Since 1999 Charlemagne resides in Brussels, Belgium.
In the poetry of PEN Award-winning beat poet Steve Dalachinsky, as writer Jake Marmer put it, “thought flows like a saxophone melody: alive and unhindered, suggestive rather than descriptive, fragmented, and held together with a musical sort of logic.” Dalachinsky has been writing, reading and publishing poetry for decades, often in the context of music. He has worked with such musicians as William Parker, Susie Ibarra, Matthew Ship, Daniel Carter, Jim O’Rourke and Loren Connors. His main influences are the Beats, Blake, The Odyssey, obsession, socio-political angst, human disappointment, music, and visual art with leanings toward abstraction. He has regularly performed at the Vision Festivals, an annual avant-jazz event. Indeed, he is so closely associated with avant music that one commentator wrote that if you go to an avant-jazz event in New York City and Steve Dalachinsky is not there, “you’re probably at the wrong address.” Dalachinsky’s books include “A Superintendent’s Eyes” (Hozomeen Press 2000 / Unbearable/Autonomedia 2015), his PEN Award Winning book The Final Nite & Other Poems: Complete Notes From A Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006 (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), a compendium of poetry written while watching saxophonist Charles Gayle perform throughout New York City, and “Logos and Language”, co-authored with pianist Matthew Shipp (RogueArt 2008) and Reaching Into The Unknown, a collaboration with French photographer Jacques Bisceglia (RogueArt 2009).
Dawn Kasper (b.1977, Fairfax, Virginia) is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and sound. Her work emerges out of a fascination with existentialism, subjects of vulnerability, desire, and the construction of meaning. Kasper often critiques the corporatized aspects of culture by examining the emotions most commonly manipulated by advertisers and media such as fear, panic, hate, envy, lust, and anxiety. Creating scenes that double as a platform for living sculpture, Kasper performs in a structured yet spontaneous manner using props, costume, comedy, gesture, extreme physicality, repetition, music and monologue. Kasper’s “Nomadic Studio Practice” experiment turned her studio into the work, building on the legacy of Kaprow, Fluxus, and Cage to create a place for durational performance, improvisation, and a permanent blurring of the boundaries between art and life. A version of this work, called “This Could Be Something If I Let It,” was shown in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, which saw Kasper move into the museum for the duration of the exhibition. A new and expanded variation, called “The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars” was included in the 2017 Venice Biennale in Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, which saw Kasper move into the Sala Chini in the Central Pavilion for the 6-month durational performative installation.