Sound artist John Davis patches together a smart stack of oscillators to generate original tracks to three peculiar 16mm artifacts: A pair of anomalous educationals on Electromagnetism precedes the world premiere of Craig Baldwin's double-projection Nth Dimension. Allison Holt and Jim Haynes' Signal Mountain is another world premiere, the astute edit of their recent SFMOMA performance. A delicious selection of 3D pieces includes Lillian Schwartz, Slavko Vorkapich, and Kerry Laitala's latest.
IN/S is the duo of John Davis and Collin McKelvey. Utilizing 15 tracks of reel to reel and cassette tape loops running through a quadraphonic PA, the performance included field recordings and electronic music samples to create an immersive sonic environment. The duo recently released a record and artist book focusing on the liminal spaces within the SFMOMA building.
San Francisco based artist Paul Clipson's heavily in-camera edited Super 8mm films utilize multiple exposures, densely layering images into unexpected collages that to bring to light subconscious optical obsessions. For this program he will show a suite of 8 short films, each with music by a different artist, as well as a live performance with music by filmmaker/sound artist John Davis. John's sound performance is an arrangement that utilizes an eight-channel tape loop system incorporating field recordings and processed electronic music.
For four days, which are concurrent with the Printed Matter Art Book Fair (Thursday January 31st-Sunday February 3rd) Public Fiction was transformed by artist/musicians Robert Barber and Chris Duncan into a sound sculpture that functioned as a platform for sound makers from the Los Angeles and Bay Areas to perform in, on and/or interact with. Lineup included Lucky Dragons (LA), Collin Mckelvey (Oakland), Paul Clipson (SF), Matthewdavid/DIVA (LA), Suzy Poling (LA), Anthony Iamurri (SF), White Rainbow (LA/PDX), Anenon (LA), Preggers/Dean Spunt (LA), Robert Crouch (LA), John Davis (Oakland), Infinite Body (LA), Tana Sprague (Oakland), Brendan Fowler (LA), Rene Hell (LA), Chris Duncan (Oakland), Sneaky Snake (LA), Mary Pearson (LA), Zachary James Watkins (Oakland), Secret Circuit (LA), Laura Steenberge (Oakland), Danny Paul Grody (SF), Randy Randall (LA), THE SUN (Oakland), The Urxed (LA).
The first program of 2013 featured two experimental film works by John Davis paired with sound performances from Joshua Churchill. The first set was to hand processed and solarized black and white Super 8 footage which Josh and John had performed live together before, while the second peice was a dual projection Super 8 and 16mm work that utilized an analyst film projector the duo had placed a contact microphone onto to create an audible connection to the film speed manipulations and the sound performance.
Read a great preview of the show by Amanda Roscoe Mayo at KQED ARTS, and a brief review of the show by Adam Grossberg for OAKLAND NORTH. Video documentation HERE.
Utilizing magnetic 1/4" tape loops of various filed recordings alongside live analogue video synthesis, Davis and McKelvey created a textured and immersive sound environment to capture the spirit of thier book which contains a 7" record of treated field recordings made at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Episteme is a perfect bound full color book of photography and video stills, including a 7″ vinyl record of processed phonography. Included is an introduction by Jess Brier, Associate Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and an interview of the artists by Maggie Haas. This collaborative project interprets workplace interiors within SFMOMA. As the museum nears its expansion and complete physical transformation, all traces of habitation and day-to-day occupation will be obliterated. As such, the project aims to capture those traces through poetic response, highlighting fragments of workspace environments, human labor and the passage of time.
Read the interview of Collin and John by Maggie Haas at the LITTLE PAPER PLANES BLOG and a review of the book by the SF ART ENTHUSIAST.
The SFAC Galleries' has commissioned new installations from three dynamic, young regional artists for our new exhibition, Visible Horizons. Andrew Chapman, Chris Duncan and Rhonda Holberton, acting as both curators and artists, will be presenting three perspectives on the idea of the horizon, drawing attention to the roles access, visibility, and myth have on relationships between landscape, architecture, and the human body. In our daily lives the true horizon is largely obscured by natural and human-created objects; this augmented intersection of earth and sky is called the visible horizon. While the horizon can be understood as a site of unification, it also divides all visible directions into two categories: those that intersect the Earth's surface, and those that do not. Chapman's layered multimedia installation, Duncan's interactive aural landscape and Holberton's camera obscura will offer visitors a chance to challenge their literal and conceptual notion of where and what the horizon is and how we interact with it on a daily basis.
On Friday, August 24th, Live video/sound performances by John Davis, Collin McKelvey (Orbless), and Derek Gedalecia (Headboggle). The live performances are preceded by "Close to Cosmos," a video line-up of international makers curated by Chris Hughes, one of the most knowledgeable video art aficionados around and founder of Video Art Collector site. The program will feature work by Claire Evans, Ronnie Bass, Kim Collmer, Ohad Meromi, Aleksandra Mir, Larissa Sansour, and Maria Antelman.
The art included captures the energetic, radical, and creative Oakland zeitgeist. The show is organized as an unofficial satellite of Documenta 13, taking place from June 9-September 18 in Kassel, Germany. Oakland seems to be perfectly positioned to speak to the questions that Documenta's curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev posed for this year's exhibition.
Artists: Zarouhie Abdalian, David Wilson, Dean Smith, Randy Colosky, Daniel Healey, Kelly Lynn Jones, Matthew Draving, Emma Spertus, Gabrielle Teschner, Steuart Pittman, Carrie Hott, Chris Fraser, Hillary Wiedemann, John Zurier, Duane Deterville, Desiree Holman, Bessma Khalaf, RKDB, Anne Walsh, Chris Kubik, Anthony Discenza, Favianna Rodriguez, Zach Houston, Regina Clarkinia, Brontez Purnell, Terri Bowden, Tracey Snelling, Eesuu Orindide, Chris Vargas, Greg Youmans, Adenike Amin, Ali Dadgar, Cherie Chavez, Ryan Chard Smith, Tooth, John Davis, Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes, Sasha Kelley, Veronica De Jesus, Laura Zuspan, Aurie Ramirez, Liz Walsh, Suzy Poling, Cybele Lyle, Packard Jennings, Frederick Alvarado and Martha Chong.
Read the ARTCARDS REVIEW by Aaron Harbour
APPARENT MOTION celebrates the art of projection, the cinematic exhibition apparatus exposed as a primal light and sound machine, an invention without a future, ripe for rediscovery. Evening includes performances by Gerritt Wittmer and Paul Knowles: Myth of Persistence (2012); Kerry Laitala: The Color Red Bleeds Blue (2011–12) with live score by John Davis; Greg Pope: Cipher Screen (2010–12) with live score by John Hegre.
Equipment used: 2-16mm projectors, Chromacinekaleidoscope, Hand-Made soundtrack & collage collaborative soundtrack utilizing modular synthesizer and electronics by John Davis. This work is anHomage to Jordan Belson & Paul Sharits.
The first in our Psychedelia series, tonight's show resonates with the switched-on groove of the analog synthesizer subculture. Headlining is John Davis' live-track to Ira Cohen's legendary Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda. PLUS We welcome back to the Bay Area Ms. Lori Varga, who cleverly demonstrates 9 "modified" oddities from her mini-synth collection, inviting audience into hands-on experience! David Cox shows off both the impossibly funky Optigan and also its iteration as an iPhone app! Concluding the evening is Matthew Bate's What the Future Sounded Like, a half-hr. BBC doc on the early synth scene in '60s England, with clips of Roxy Music-era Brian Eno, Hawkwind, and Dr. Who. Come early for Bob Moog clips, early Soviet Theremin, Raymond Scott initiatives, Negativland Boopers, and bio-feedback bliss!
Some good documentation HERE and HERE.
Polychromatic light waves caress the corneas and travel via the occipital lobes through corpuscular connections…. Spectrums of undulating, spinning refractions of forms move through space… the Chromocinekaleidoscope creates light sculptures tangible and tasty…One becomes immersed in momentary molecules of elusive color, staining the wall palate to divide slivers of space into charged shards of time. The threshold of awareness melts into the fabric of luminous energy, which radiates from the lens through reflective mirrors as the apparatus through which one spies becomes the vehicle for re-compositions to scatter through" space, colliding with the screen/eye/mind. Laitala manipulates the splintered, celluloid imagery in real time pulling the ephemeral image like taffy through the space and bringing out shimmering refractions of lustrous luminance. Reverberations of a trickle of cloud sounds patter the tympanum in time with the rhythm of the light.
An intimate evening of live projected film and music performance featuring new works by Paul Clipson as well as the collaborative duo of Madison Brookshire and composer Tashi Wada. Ben Bracken performs isolated frequency movements to hand processed and colored Super 8 film by John Davis.
*Above images from the performance include two stills from Kerry Laitala's film perfromance "The Color Red Bleeds Blue" (courtesy Diane Jones).
This collection of films by Bay Area filmmakers celebrates color and demonstrate a rich diversity of narrative, documentary, experimental and home movie styles. Accompanying some of these new films will be live soundtracks from the filmmakers and special guests. Filmmakers include Brecht Andersch, B. Berzins, Paul Clipson, John Davis, Jim Granato, Nicole Minor, Danny Plotnick, Thad Povey, Doug Schultz, Anjali Sundaram, Phoebe Tooke and more! Come join us for an evening filled with both a vivid look back at personal memories well-preserved and a 21st century way of life through antiquated strips of celluloid. (Jim Granato)
The highlight of the evening was in the basement of Fivepoints, where artists/musicians Joshua Churchill and John Davis presented live experimental music set against a hand-solarized Super 8 film. Through small slots in the ceiling, light poured in from the main floor gallery, creating a series of light streaks that worked both in concert and contrast with the images from the film and heightened the overall presentation. Even though the space was quite crowded, I found myself completely immersed in the visuals and sounds of the piece. - CatSynth.com
Super excited to have had the chance to collaborate with Evan and John for the video AND to contribute footage for their European tour with JEFRE CANTU-LEDESMA - Some amazing documentation HERE.
On ancient star maps of magnificent color quality, experimental animator Lawrence Jordan takes the viewer out of this world into a world of cosmic imagination. COSMIC ALCHEMY is thematically and visually consistent with Jordan's earlier shorts and yet, set to an evocative score by John Davis, the filmmaker has crossed into an unfamiliar and richly rewarding territory of metaphoric complexity. For the handful of folks unfamiliar with Jordan's work, COSMIC ALCHEMY will leave you desperately wanting more. For the rest, already quite familiar with his brilliance, this film will install a fresh appreciation for Jordan's justifiable position among experimental cinema's ascended masters. - Fandor
As part of an ongoing social art project, the Oberlhit Young Artits Association of Chisinau, Moldova continues its POSTBOX MAGAZINE with the latest issue #5. Included is a DVD entitiled HAUNTING THE ARCHIVES curated by Stefan Rusu, featuring the film MARK YOU MAKE BELIEVE MY DEAR YES.
An interdisciplinary experimental publication founded on the principle of sharing critical discourse inside an expanding system, the magazine encourages communication between artists, writers, musicians, architects, sociologists, historians, economists, etc. Not just a printed publication, a real time event generator aimed at fostering significant change in society.
Original music for the 2010 film by Lawrence Jordan, a thirty minute animation exploring the fleeting nature of time and our essential relationship with cosmic forces of the universe. The soundtrack was originally released as the 2009 Digitalis Ltd. cassette "Vines Go Roaming." Lawrence and I are currently collaborating on his upcoming animated film which will include a new original soundtrack. Look for a DVD release of "Cosmic Alchemy" in the first part of 2011!
A voyage in the celestial realm, out beyond consciousness, steered by a master of mystical transformation. Wondrous visions are charted on star maps from the Harmonia Macrocosmica to a spellbinding drone track by John Davis. BFI London Film Festival.
Hand solarized film used to accompany live improvised music by John and Maxwell (This version has more footage and a collaborative soundtrack vs. the black box version which is shorter and has music unaccompanied by John). Hand silkscreened cover art by Chris Thorson.
A document of a live set from the On Land Festival in San Francisco, September, 2009. Home Solarized Super 8 film shot by Davis in the placid green places of Northern California. The duo's lush soundtrack is bowed, scraped and plucked out on koto, electric guitar and other electronic detritus. - Root Strata Press Release.
Achingly gorgeous film/audio pairing of John Davis’ lush super 8 footage to Maxwell and John’s koto/guitar/electronic channelings, as recorded/screened at the “On Land” festival... - Mimaroglu
This new DVD from the Root Strata camp features "Hand processed & solarized" super-8 film by John Davis, set to musical accompaniment from a duo of Davis with Maxwell August Croy. This audio-visual project was projected live to improvised sounds at last year's On Land Music Festival at the Swedish American Hall, San Francisco, and is replicated here as a seventeen minute flow of abstract, analogue sound sculpting and scratchy old film. In terms of visual imagery, Davis begins by homing in on close-ups of small details from the natural world, paying particular attention to dew drops collecting on cobwebs or leaves. In its earliest stages, the music tends not to be nearly so bucolic as the imagery, beginning with a fearsome, raw blast of oscillator buzz before simmering itself down into a more composed and tranquil soundscape that yields ample low-end presence and a general demeanour of haziness. This all nicely settles into harmony with the gauzy, vintage film stock. Loaded with a striking sense of faux-nostalgia, the film is at its richest when capturing the interplay between golden, evening sunlight and long grasses, or lakeside foliage. The whole experience feels like a day-trip for the senses, a notion only reinforced by the piece's final sequence, as captured from the window of a train - at this point it's as if you're coming home. The music has a powerful presence in its own right, calling upon electric guitar and electronics - all processed into nebular, drifting shapes - but when attached to Davis' flow of light-saturated visuals the overall effect takes on a life of its own, spilling warmth from every frame. - Boomkat
A beautiful document from last year's On Land festival, the Root Strata curated gathering of artists and sound artists and musicians. This particular set featured gorgeous home solarized super-8 film shot by John Davis throughout Northern California, while Davis and Maxwell Croy, one half of the duo that runs Root Strata, created their own complimentary soundtrack, a soft hazy dronescape of bowed strings, layered vibrations and hushed, barely-there melodies. The images are really quite evocative, all washed out and softly distorted, like home movies, they have that sort of faded memory feeling, images of a lost time, and the solarizing process only further enhances that element, the slow shifting landscapes peppered with solar flares, deep red glows, the colors super saturated, flowers become miniature suns, fields of grass look like stained glass, or fields of green stars, all manner of foliage becomes more about texture and color, just softly swaying stretches of hazy burnt out shades of soft white, deep yellow, warm browns... And the music perfect suits the images, tranquil and impressionistic, long tones underpin soft shards of melody, like a muted raga, the buzz blurred and smoothed out into gauzy streaks of sound, a koto gives the music a distinctly Eastern vibe, the tones like swells on a sonic sea, meditative and mesmerizing. - Aquarius Records
A recent moving image, sound and spoken word collaboration from 2010 with poet Peter Streckfus, commissioned as part of the Rabbit Light Movies online project. The video utilizes original sound and found footage that accompanies Peter reading his poem Idiot Bigmouth Leads us to A Gathering of Birds. The film was included in the 2010 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. Peter Streckfus lives and teaches in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and his book The Cuckoo is available from Yale University Press.
This mobile exhibition project featured the film MARK YOU MAKE BELIEVE MY DEAR, YES, and a series of photographs which were the result of two trips as an artist-in-residence to the KSA:K Center for Contemporary Art in Chisinau, Moldova.
The Drifting Identity Station project was initiated to monitor and preserve data related to the evolving state of identity in a given context, this iteration, the context of Moldova. Visual art projects and written contributions comment on the evolution of the social engineering project and “Moldavian” identity in its current state. At the same time, artists assume the posture of researchers that collect samples from the field in order to preserve residual traces that re-articulate the post-socialist condition in Moldovan society now 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Eastern Block. This project was realized and curated by Stefan Rusu.
This piece is based on a poem by Scott V. from Oakland. Scott and I have been friends and collaborators for a long time. I saw him perform this piece live and people were laughing, confused, and depressed all at once. It was amazing. After collaborating on a long-form experimental video, we decided why not keep the momentum going and turn the poem into a video.
All the video was shot in 2005 over 2 nights at the actual coffee shop near Scott’s old work (the story is based on fact). I tried to edit it in the coming days. Days turned into years as I would step away from the edit to gain perspective, but whenever I would return to it, I couldn’t come up with a good edit or sound. Luckily John Davis gave me hours worth of his audio experiments to use in a radio program I made, and I found audio from him that worked perfectly. Later after I moved to New York, Nadia Awad came to Eyebeam as an intern and pulled a rabbit out of her hat on the edit. She’s got the magic touch! More time went by and Liz Filardi added her amazing titles.
The people who worked on this are all very talented and I hope you find our little 3 minute story at least half as sad, funny, and human as I did when I first heard it. - Steve Lambert
Scott V. from Oakland text, Steve Lambert and Scott V. from Oakland visuals, Nadia Awad editing, John Davis sound, Liz Filardi titles.