Henry Gwiazda's world, as represented in these three new audiovisual works, couldn't be more uneventful or normal. A lot of everyday stuff happens as characters move through an urban landscape. But the remarkable thing is in the details; every link, join, gap, and connection turns the viewer's attention to the negative space surrounding the action, the silence between events, the rhythm of life, the blank area around these words. There is an inverted, Zen rhythm that makes you notice more; he out-Cages Cage.
These are virtual worlds where humans, light, text and sound conspire to shift your perspective on life and how we live in the world. Gwiazda's contemplative approach produces a new kind of multimedia choreography that is as likely to enlighten as it is to disturb.
Henry Gwiazda is a new media artist/composer whose artistic trajectory has taken him from downtown New York to Fargo, from sampling, sound effects, and immersive technologies to his current work with integrating new media with a focus on sound and movement. Gwiazda's works are regularly screened in festivals and galleries throughout the world including New York, Paris, Madrid, Cairo, Amsterdam, Beijing, Berlin, Naples, Marseilles, Damascus, Athens, Istanbul and many others. He also won First Prize at...
Henry Gwiazda doesn't want to be thought of as a composer anymore; the three animated video works on this recording may put the kibosh on that once and for all. The former guitar-and-sampler guru has gone anything but Hollywood.
These are sparse Zen studies of everydayness: houses on a suburban street, a downtown outdoor restaurant, or a guitarist practicing in the living room. Just enough sound and gesture to catch your attention without rattling your Cage.
"They’re the most trivial little happenings, and somehow Gwiazda makes us start eagerly anticipating them. What he hopes is, that once we turn away from his art and go back to our lives, we’ll take that same attitude to the sensuous details around us. It works for me." [Kyle Gann]
"Perhaps we should focus our attention on the vast majority of time in which we live, those times 'in between' where nothing is going on- those empty spots, while we're waiting for what we believe are the events of our life." [Henry Gwiazda]
Harry Partch (like his friend Anais Nin) considered his life's work to be a letter to the world. His last act was going to be to add the enclosures. He never got around to it. After 20 years of working on the Partch archives, Philip Blackburn has now completed the seven-part Enclosures series as it were on his behalf.
Enclosure 7 is a monumental tribute to the most significant works of this American original and iconoclast. It includes new versions of his late masterworks and never-before-seen footage that bring us closer to the real Harry behind the myth.
The Dreamer That Remains is a documentary produced by Betty Freeman and directed by Stephen Pouliot in 1972. Here is the director's original cut along with his commentary. If you've never seen Partch or his instruments before, this is the place to start.
Delusion of the Fury was his magnum opus; a lifetime of instrument-invention and ideas of ritual theater were poured into this giant work. The 1971 film has been resynched and the soundtrack remastered in 5.1 surround sound.
The CBS LPs of this work came with a Bonus Album of Harry introducing his instruments. Unavailable for years, this recording features this talk along with a slideshow of the instruments.
In 1985 Philip Blackburn climbed the stairs to an attic in Iowa City and started trying to make sense of the boxes piled up there. They contained a composer's life's work: scrapbooks, tapes, photos, letters, scores, and film reels - fragile treasures documenting the Twentieth Century from a most unusual viewpoint; perhaps the world's most original musician: Harry Partch.
The idea was to publish them and reveal Harry to the world on his own terms. Not as the crabby, homeless, self-taught microtonal musical weirdo and instrument maker, but as that most American of all artists; a truly independent thinker. With Enclosure 8 , the work of bringing them to public attention reaches its apotheosis.
The Enclosures series (named for the extras Partch wanted to add to his life-long letter to the world) started appearing in 1995 with a VHS video of four films made in collaboration with the Chicago-based film-maker Madeline Tourtelot. Four CDs, two years and one book later, Enclosure 4 appeared featuring his later films: Delusion of the Fury (his culminating ritual-theater work) and a San Diego Public TV documentary, also on VHS. Now the time has come for these to be issued on DVD, extensively restored, resynched and digitally remastered from the extant original prints. Until...