AT THE HERMITAGE ARTIST RETREAT
The Hermitage Artist Retreat kicks off 2016 with a very special beach event on Friday, January 15. The program features In My Mind & In My Car, a multimedia composition featuring live performance, archival and electronic sounds, and video imagery by MIT composer/performers Evan Ziporyn and Christine Southworth. The performance runs one hour. Arrival is at 5:30 and the program begins at 6:00 pm. As always, visitors are invited to bring their beach chairs and refreshments. Reservations are encouraged, as the program will move into the Palm House in case of inclement weather. In contrast to the beach setting, the Palm House has limited space and can only accommodate approximately 80 persons. Should the program move indoors, the reservation list will be used for admittance. For inclement weather reservations call 941-475-2098, ext. 8.
“What a great way to start the new year,” remarked Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “Evan and Christine have performed on our beach before and always manage to push the limits of what has been done before. They have performed other video pieces outside but this will be their first opportunity for this particular piece, outside AND on a beach. We are all very excited.”
In My Mind & In My Car is a series of short pieces which combine video, composed music, and live improvisation into an abstract but emotionally charged travelogue – ‘a miscellany on the general topic of things we cherish, find interesting, or fear losing,’ according to the composers. It began as two separate sets of pieces which Ziporyn and Southworth worked on adjacently in their shared workspaces, but which gradually merged as the couple discovered they were working with similar materials in complementary ways. Ziporyn began improvising over Southworth’s video soundscapes, and Southworth began creating video images for Ziporyn’s work. “At first we planned to perform them as two distinct sets of pieces, but as soon as we began rehearsing it was clear they belonged together, that there was a synergy in the combination. It felt inevitable and natural.”
Both artists find inspiration and imagery in the found objects of everyday life, in almost forgotten cultural artifacts, and in the beauty of the natural world. This is reflected in the source materials for many of the movements: Morse Norse Love Song pans slowly over unearthed 12th century Viking poetry found inscribed on wooden sticks near Bergen, Norway, while the title piece In My Mind & In My Car was shot entirely from the windshield of a yellow 1979 MGB on Rte. 225 between Bedford and Carlisle, MA. Three of the movements are assembled from short audio fragments from Africa in the 1950s, while Bowl Drones evinces pure, meditative sounds from a set of ceramic bowls purchased over the phone from a listing on Ebay. Other works draw on Balinese music from the 1920s, public domain films of bagpipers and guitarists, and video shot by the composers underwater in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. What binds these together is a shared sensibility of the composers.
Patricia Caswell, Hermitage Co-Founder and Program Director shared this insight: “Evan Ziporyn is a clarinetist and Director of MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Center for Art, Science and Technology. Christine Southworth was an applied math major at MIT. These artists continue a line of inquiry at the Hermitage about the relationship of art and science. Christine, for example, is filming sharks at the Hermitage and building a stringed instrument with a shark jaw. We may soon be able to hear shark music!”
The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. All Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by the Women’s Exchange and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.