Thursday February 23, 2006

Subtropics Experimental Music and Sound Arts Festival

Subtropics opened tonight. Ordinarily, you’d have recieved advanced warning, so appologies on that front [1]. This yearly music festival represents the true cutting edge of avant-garde music, and it’s amazing that Miami has been able to support it all these years. (‘Nuff respect to Gustavo Matamoros for keeping this thing going long before the MPAC money started coming in.) Sufice it to say that for anyone interested in sound art, Subtropics should be the highlight of the year. Opening night was a blast:

The evening started with Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire performed by Ben Manley.

Hypersonic Test: Florida is Gustavo’s first collaboration with video artist Charles Recher since Cars and Fish. 9 performers equiped with backpack power generators, armband video ipods, and chest-mounted unidirectional sound modules walked around the room, selectively delivering snippets of south florida flavor.

Sometimes, the performers confronted each other. Yowzer! (Note the ipod video.)

David Dunn walked the whole thing home with an audiovisual presentation that pulled together chaos theory, strange attractors, bats, bugs, and small invertebrate creatures that live in standing water. Unlike in past performances of his I’ve seen, David was miked up at his computer, and set up each piece with an explanation of what the sounds were.

His art deals as much with faithfully capturing the acoustic experience of natural phenomena as with creating an artistic “work,” so his presenation had a Discovery Channel edge to it. David does not shy away from intervention when it is necessary to the piece, though – a 40 second recording of bats had to be slowed down (to reduce the pitch) to be audible, alienating it from its original time-reference, but not violating its relationship to reality.

Also got a chance to pop over to the MoCA Annex for the opening of . . . —- not AGAIN?! Sorry, the MoCA has no mention of the opening tonight at their annex anywhere on their website. They sent out a card, which I have somewhere, and I’ll post the information here as soon as I get it. Meanwhile, [Kathleen to the rescue] Luminosity, an exhibit by Natalia Benedetti. It’s a groovy skydiving video installation. There’s also an exhibition of the usual suspects from the MoCA’s permanent collection, which apparently they were upset about only being able to show for a few months every other Summer (their piece by Nam June Paik is included, of course).

But so anyway, here is the schedule for the rest of Subtropics. If you like your music weird, go.

[1] Nobody tells me nothing. I found out because of the Dorsch marketing machine, which cranked out a press release on the morning of the event.

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  1. MM    Fri Feb 24, 09:37 AM #  

    The Herald did a full page article in yesterday’s Tropical Life. I was surprised.

  2. alesh    Fri Feb 24, 10:13 AM #  

    Sure enough!

    It’s ‘cause of the MPAC relationship. They sent a photographer out, too.

  3. Brook    Fri Feb 24, 10:21 AM #  

    Sorry for the late e-mail blast – But Sub-tropics have thier own marketing Machine, I was just assisting. I had mentioned the up-coming festival in my prior e-blast on Feb 10th – it was towards the bottom but most people don’t read that far down. The Hyper-sonic Test was great, and you can experiance it again on Thursday on Lincoln Road.

  4. alesh    Fri Feb 24, 02:22 PM #  

    Very true, Brook: I don’t read below the fold. Plus I should have been on the Subtropics e-mail list (signup on their home page).

    Thanks to Dosrch Gallery for hosting the festival the last few years.

  5. mkh    Sat Feb 25, 09:20 PM #  

    Every year when Sub-Tropics comes around I seem to be buried in work or sick as hell, and 2006 is no exception. It’s beginning to piss me off, because this is much more to my taste than most of what South Florida has to offer.