Summer 2014

Summer 2014

REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Apotomē (still), 2013. Super 16mm film transferred to HD, sound, 23:05 minutes.

June 27, 2014

Allora & Calzadilla: Apotomē
June 27–August 24, 2014

Cuauhtémoc Medina: “History Repeats Itself…Otherwise, It Wouldn’t Be History”
Lecture: June 24, 7:30pm

Wayne Koestenbaum and Bruce Hainley: Reading Hotel Theory
Reading: July 9, 7:30pm 

18 +
Performance: August 23, 8:30pm

631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Hours: Tuesdays–Sundays noon–6pm 
or until intermission; admission free

Allora & Calzadilla: Apotomē
Opening: June 27; artist talk 6pm, performance 8pm
June 29 performance: 4:30pm

REDCAT hosts the first Los Angeles presentation by Jennifer Allora (b. 1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971, Cuba). Collaborating since 1995, the artists are known for their experimental and interdisciplinary practice. The exhibition features one of their most recent video works, Apotomē (2013), and a new commissioned performance where the artists continue their investigation into the emerging fields of biosemiotics and biomusicology.

In March 1798, two elephants, affectionately named Hans and Parkie, arrived at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris as spoils of war. That same year, on May 29, a concert was performed in the Jardin de Plantes for the elephants. This experiment was organized not by scientists but rather by musicians, pondering if human music might elicit a reaction in non-human life forms. Allora & Calzadilla’s Apotomē departs from this historic attempt of interspecies communication set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. 

Apotomē is centered on the bone remains of the two elephants, currently stored in the Zooteque, a vast subterranean storage facility housing thousands of animal specimens. In parallel research, the artists came across vocalist Tim Storms, who has extraordinary vocal gifts allowing him to reach notes as low as G-7 (0.189Hz)—a remarkable eight octaves below the lowest G on a piano. The subsonic notes sung are so low that only animals as large as elephants are able to hear them. 

In Apotomē, Tim Storms, in his unique vocal range, sings songs from that original concert to the elephants’ remains. Songs include “Iphigénie en Tauride” (1779) by Christoph Willibald Gluck; “O ma tendre musette” by Pierre Alexandre Monsigny; and the Revolutionary anthem “Ça ira,” among others.

The title Apotomē is an archaic Greek word referring to an arithmetical division of musical sound, an interval of a semitone in the Pythagorean scale slightly greater than half. This arithmetical musical ratio isn’t lacking in exactitude; on the contrary, it’s quite precise. It’s an excess of human sensation. The normal voice cannot produce it, nor can the ear detect it. Apotomē is an irrational remainder or residue, literally meaning, “what is cut off.”

For this REDCAT exhibition, the artists present a new performance in which an orchestra plays the entire 1798 concert to the public. Complementary to the video, this live performance event further explores the intervals between human and non-human, signifier and signified, expression and meaning and their unruly remains. The performance is a collaboration between the artists and wildUp, an experimental chamber ensemble based in Los Angeles.

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla have had solo shows at the world’s most important museums—including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Stedeliijk Museum in Amsterdam—and have taken part in leading international festivals such as Documenta in Kassel, the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial in New York, and the biennials of Gwangju, Sydney, São Paulo, Sharjah, Istanbul and Lyon. In 2011 they represented the United States of America at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

Funded in part with generous support from Bonhams and with additional support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Pasadena Art Alliance. Special thanks to kurimanzutto gallery, Mexico City.

Cuauhtémoc Medina: “History Repeats Itself…Otherwise, It Wouldn’t Be History”
Cuauhtémoc Medina, art critic and chief curator of Mexico City’s Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) will analyze the popularity of historical reenactment as a tool to approach the absolute primacy of the notion of “experience” in the formation of subjectivity in contemporary culture. He will borrow concepts from Karl Marx and Gilles Deleuze to contextualize art works by Jeremy Deller, Fernando Bryce and filmmaker and writer Olivier Debroise, considering the “experience of the historical.”

This lecture is part of a series of public programs leading to upcoming project Palabras Ajenas at REDCAT, a proposal that revisits Argentine artist León Ferrari’s 1965 landmark piece of the same name. The research and curatorial line of this project includes a series of lectures and presentations that contextualize Ferrari’s work historically and further investigate his processes and working methodology and related topics and issues.

Wayne Koestenbaum and Bruce Hainley: Reading Hotel Theory
In Hotel Theory (2007), Koestenbaum looks to shed light on “everyday consciousness … [through the] metaphor of hotel room,” in a series of ruminations that trace hotel condition as a “state of undressed being, without presuppositions.”

Two books under one cover and printed in two parallel columns, Hotel Theory appears on the left, in eight dossiers, alongside the 18 chapters of Hotel Women. In Hotel Women, Liberace and Lana Turner undress, oil each other’s back, lie by the pool, making desultory conversations and avoid using the articles “a,” “an,” and “the.” Maybe “hotels are happier than people,” Lana suggests, yet neither of them prefer buildings to people as “[they’re] not yet willing to relinquish personhood.” 

If the residents of Hotel Women have checked into a language of generalities that lacks articles, the guests at the other establishment are preoccupied with abstractions, reflecting on the hotel conditions of “not-being-at-home.” Perhaps somewhere in between the two worlds intertwine while running alongside each other. 

At REDCAT, writers Wayne Koestenbaum and Bruce Hainley present passages from the book and try out different possibilities of reading the two parallel columns. 

This reading is part of a series of public programs leading up to the exhibition Hotel Theory considering the performance and staging of critical theory in contemporary art.  The exhibition takes place at REDCAT in October 2015 and is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award.

18 +
Formed in Los Angeles in 2011, the duo have self-released three mixtapes of original and appropriated material. Their live performances bring together music and video in what can be described as a soundtrack of post-internet life.


Summer 2014 at REDCAT
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REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater
June 27, 2014

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