Amidst
Ursula Scherrer w/ Flo Kaufmann | Through January 30

A Multichannel Video and Sound Installation with Live Performances

In collaboration with swissnex San Francisco, with the support of the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia

Installation Schedule
Opening reception: Thursday, January 21, 8:30 p.m.
Exhibition runs through Saturday, January 30
Gallery hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
FREE AdmissionAmidst

Swiss artists Ursula Scherrer and Flo Kaufmann continue their thematic series of collaborations with "Amidst."

Ursula Scherrer’s five-channel video is projected onto suspended fabric, drawing the viewer into an architecture of images, colors and light: representations of fleeting and indefinable presence, of everything that is “amidst.”  Venetian blinds pouring light and shadows slice the space. A torrential rain shown upside down spreads like fire through the room. The loops of each video channel phase against each other, changing their relationship slowly throughout the course of a day.

Flo Kaufmann creates the sound environment of the installation using homemade instruments and electronic effects. Five speakers placed around and within the structure play their own textured track. Ever-shifting audiovisual alignments occur over time according to one’s position in the space.

As visitors move through the environment, they become an integral element of the installation as they mark the landscape with their bodies, their shadows, their sound.

Performance Schedule

Thursday, January 21, 7:00 p.m.
Shelley Hirsch (US) - voice
Flo Kaufmann (Switzerland) - live electronics
Ursula Scherrer (Switzerland / US) - live video

Saturday, January 23, 8:00 p.m.
Shelley Hirsch (US) - voice
Flo Kaufmann (Switzerland) - live electronics
Ursula Scherrer (Switzerland / US) - live video
Fred Frith (US) - guitar

Performance admissions:
$5 - $15 sliding scale or FREE with membership

Hirsch, Kaufmann, and Scherrer collaboratively manipulate the space. Unintended narratives unfold from various vantage points.

Shelley Hirsch, performing for the third time with Ursula Scherrer, sings and speaks in a voice capable of mercurial transformations: at some times blending in like a chameleon, while at others defining herself as an outside figure: commenting, weaving together the audiovisual constructs thought up by Scherrer, Kaufmann, and the viewers.

Flo Kaufmann samples Hirsch’s live singing, her captured voices becoming a Greek Chorus as he mixes them with the soundtracks he distributes to the different speakers placed in the installation space.

Ursula Scherrer mixes the images live with an antiquated analog video mixer, manipulating the projectors to highlight one area of the installation, darkening another. A handheld projector is used as a spotlight capturing Hirsch on her journey amid "Amidst."

Scherrer, Hirsch, and Kaufmann’s live audiovisual trio will be joined on their second performance (Jan 23) by exceptional guest Fred Frith. The avant garde legend and guitar luminary will add his own blend of sonics to an already potent brew of sound and visions.

About the Artists

Ursula Scherrer is a Swiss video artist living in New York City. Her work has been shown in festivals, galleries and museums internationally. Scherrer has worked with the composers/musicians Shelley Hirsch, Michelle Nagai, Kato Hideki, Flo Kaufmann, Domenico Sciajno, Michael J. Schumacher, Monya Pletsch, among others, in the creation of video and sound installations, live performances and single-channel videos and she has collaborated with choreographer Liz Gerring. Together with Katherine Liberovskaya, Scherrer organizes OptoSonic Tea in New York, a series dedicated to the convergence of live visuals with live sounds. OptoSonic Tea on the Road has toured in Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Spain and Italy. Scherrer’s work has been shown at the New York Video Festival 2004, BAC 36th International Film and Video Festival, Brooklyn Museum of Art, at the Chelsea Art Museum, the d.u.m.b.o art festival 2005 and 2008, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Dissonanze Festival in Rome, Live!iXem 2007 in Palermo, O'artoteca, Milan, 9e Biennale de l'Image en Mouvement, Saint-Gervais Geneve, Tesla, Berlin, Tresor, Stuttgart,  Galerie Rachel Haferkamp, Cologne, Kunstraum im Walcheturm, Zürich, Plug-in, Basel, the Media Test Wall / MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, New Genre Festival 2008, Tulsa OK, Polli Talu Arts Center, Estonia, among others. 

Flo Kaufmann lives and works in Solothurn, Switzerland as "bricoleur universal" sound and electronic engineer. A main topic in his work is converting technological flotsam like typewriters, vacuum cleaners or computers into electronic musical instruments. Dumpster diving and fleamarkets are often the start for new objects and instruments and generate a steady flow of obscure and fresh installations or concerts. Another important theme is mechanical sound recording in all its nuances. From homemade vinyl disc recordings to engraved 500ml beercans.

Shelley Hirsch is "an unorthodox, extraordinary fusion of vocalist, composer, and performance artist " (Anne LeBaron) whose work encompasses story telling pieces, staged performances, compositions, improvisations, collaborations, installations, and radioplays, which have been presented on five continents. Her mostly solo performance pieces include the multimedia "O Little Town of East New York" and "For Jerry" (virtual duets with the late great Jerry Hunt). She is co composer, vocalist, librettist for Polly Cotton - both in duo form with collaborator, composer keyboard player Simon Ho and for their six-member ensemble. Hirsch can be heard on dozens of CDs including her  CDs "The Far In, Far Out Worlds of Shelley Hirsch" (Tzadik) and "Duets" with guitarist Uchihashi Kasuhisa (Innocence Records). Hirsch has performed hundreds of concerts of improvised music with great musicians including Anthony Coleman, Christian Marclay, Aki Onda, Ikue Mori, Toshio Kajiwara,  and Shahzad Ismailly. Hirsch has given  many workshops and masterclasses internationally and was invited guest composer/artist lecturer at Princeton University PhD Composers Colloquiem.  Grants and fellowships include several from NEA and NYFA in music composition, new forms, inter arts and performance art categories, from Mary Flagler Carey Trust in the music for theater and recording categories and from NYSCA 2 in electronic music.

Fred Frith is a composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist at the intersection of rock and new music. Co-founder of the British underground band Henry Cow (1968-78), he moved to New York in the late 1970s and came into contact with many of the musicians with whom he has since been associated, including John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins, and Bob Ostertag. In the 1980s, Fred began to write for dance, film, and theatre, which, in turn, led to his composing for the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, and many other groups, including his own critically acclaimed Guitar Quartet. Best known world-wide as an improvising guitarist, Fred has also performed in a variety of other contexts, playing bass in John Zorn's Naked City, violin in Lars Hollmer's Looping Home Orchestra, and guitar on recordings ranging from The Residents and René Lussier to Brian Eno and Amy Denio. Fred is the subject of Swiss and German filmmakers Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel's award-winning documentary film, Step Across the Border, and he provided the score to another revered documentary, Rivers and Tides, about artist Andy Goldsworthy. Fred Frith is currently Professor of Composition and Head of the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California.

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