24th SUBTROPICS Returns to Miami Beach
The 24th edition of Subtropics, the globally recognized experimental biennial of music and sound art, aims to ignite the lost art of listening with a summer festival featuring live concerts, sound art installations, workshops and films. Co-hosted by ArtCenter/South Florida, this year's series will feature live performances from July 6-22 by internationally recognized artists including: Olivia Block, John Driscoll, Richard Garet, Barbara Held, Gustavo Matamoros, Abbey Rader and Jack Wright, plus Miguel Alvarez Fernandez and Victor Aguado Machuca from AMEE (the Association of Electroacoustic Music of Spain). The series of performances will once again culminate with the Subtropics Marathon concert on Saturday evening, July 22 (a non-stop session of multiple artists, 5 p.m. to midnight).
Performances presented during Subtropics XXIV are site-specific experiences, and the act of listening is the common thread throughout. Programming for the festival focuses on three forms: sound art (installations), experimental music (idea/concept based), and free musics (completely improvisational).
"Our experiences today are smothered by technology, dampening our senses in a vacuum and creating a sense of disconnection. We are at a crossroads and need to ignite the lost art of listening," said Gustavo Matamoros. "Sound art and experimental music are excellent tools that help us expand our listening palate. At our performances and sound art installations, these experiences can help audiences amplify their awareness, nurturing these kinds of listening skills that are so crucial now more than ever." View the complete schedule of events and locations at subtropics.org/XXIV). All events are free, but space is limited and the concert locations are intimate venues (the public is encouraged to arrive early). Most events and performances take place at the ArtCenter/South Florida's Audiotheque, in studio 201.
Sound Art Installations: Opening Reception July 5, 7-10 p.m.
Listen by Gustavo Matamoros, and Microcosmos by Alba Triana
Subtropics XXIV kicks off on July 5 with the opening reception for two sound art installations: Listen (by the festival's Founder and Artistic Director, Gustavo Matamoros), and Microcosmos (by Alba Triana). Located in ArtCenter's main gallery, Listen is a one-of-a-kind sonic immersion experience that includes sound pieces adapted specifically to the space. The gallery will be darkened, allowing visitors to focus on active listening, the underlying theme of the festival. Microcosmos is a vibrational sculpture that explores the resonance of a cymbal as it goes through different levels of excitation and is installed in studio 209. The opening reception for this exhibition is free and open to the public, July 5th from 7-10 p.m. at 924 Lincoln Road (this exhibition will continue through Sept. 3). "We are proud to continue serving as a haven for this important art form," said Maria del Valle, the Executive Director of ArtCenter/South Florida. "ArtCenter is known for advancing the artistic space for innovation." adds Maria del Valle.
HONORING THE LIFE AND WORK OF CHARLES RECHER:
The festival will also celebrate the life and work of the late Miami Beach visual projection artist Charles Recher, with an evening dedicated to his films: Charles Recher: Miami Ciné Dadaist, A Mini Film-Retrospective/Perspective on July 6 at 9:00 p.m. at Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Avenue. He was renowned as a beloved architect of Miami's early arts scene and created installations for Art Basel.
THIS YEAR'S LINEUP OF PERFORMANCES:
At Audiotheque, located in studio 201 at ArtCenter/South Florida (924 Lincoln Road)
Olivia Block (Saturday, July 8 at 9:00 p.m.) constructs cinematic experiences with sound. She will perform Dissolution B, an immersive cinematic work presented in the dark without a screen or images. Block mixes layers of prepared sounds through a quadraphonic speaker, creating ephemeral sound mixtures from shortwave radio, municipal broadcasts, fragments from found microcassette tapes and organ tones.
Gustavo Matamoros (Wednesday, July 12 at 9:00 p.m.) Matamoros will present 20160326.OUAT-DT.WUMT, an homage to David Tudor written for four channels of sound. The work premiered at Wesleyan College in 2016, and explores the psychology and shared timbral relationships of contrasting sounds from recordings of urban areas and the natural settings of the Florida Everglades.
Abbey Rader (Thursday, July 13 at 9:00 p.m.) is a Free Jazz drummer, Buddhist practitioner and martial artist who lives in South Florida and has been a prominent voice in Jazz since the 1960s. He will perform on a drum set augmented by wooden percussion instruments, large cymbals and gongs. Rader's presentation will be purely improvisational and of the moment.
John Driscoll (Friday, July 14 at 9:00 p.m.) Renown for working with rotating robotic loudspeakers and architectural spaces, he will present three original compositions on custom-built electronics he created. Speaking in Tongues features an orchestra of small ultrasonic loudspeaker instruments controlled with foil reflectors, Ebers & Mole, utilizes home-built electronics with tuned vibrating instruments, and Listening Out Loud (American Version), combines live electronics with bowed crosscut saws, blown goosenecks, amplified live pits and found text.
Jack Wright (Saturday, July 15 at 9:00 p.m.)
A saxophonist who has performed exclusively as a Free improviser since 1979, will perform a solo without any previous music ideas prepared in advance.
Through his process of not knowing what to do and his rich history of touring North America with many musical partners and influences, his musical vocabulary is vast. Be prepared to hear everything the saxophone can do.
Richard Garet (Thursday, July 20 at 9:00 p.m.) Works with noise resulting from interactions with electromagnetic waves, treated tape and audiocassettes. His new Sonic Construction for 4 Channels: The Other Side is representative of his practice of taking sonic materials and sounds and activating them into physical space. His model is the background noise that surrounds him, seeking to invert background noise from unconscious status to active presence.
Barbara Held (Friday, July 21 at 9:00 p.m.) a flutist, composer and sound artist will present multimedia work for flute and electronics. Self-Portrait, written by Alvin Lucier for Held in 1990, utilizes a beam of light that is moved by the artist's breath while concealing and revealing her body. Yasunao Tone's Lyrictron, also written for Held, incorporates a computer program that generates text in response to Held's playing. Pausa, a collaboration with Benton C. Bainbridge pairs acoustic and electronic sound with real-time image processing, resulting in sound and image conducting each other.
Listening Club: Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art in Spain
(Wednesday, July 19 at 9:00 p.m.) Spanish sound artists and theoreticians Miguel Alvarez-Fernandez and Victor Aguado Machuca (plus Ferrer-Molina via Skype) will present an overview of the historical evolution and the current status of electroacoustic music and sound art in Spain. From the pioneering figures of Juan Garcia Castillejo and Jose Val del Omar to the youngest generations, the works of different creators in tape music, soundscape, sound installation, performance, live electronics and sound poetry will be heard.
Presented with the support of Accion Cultural Espanola. vimeo.com/218615508
Subtropics Annual Marathon
(Saturday, July 22 from 5:00 p.m. until it's over). A festival-favorite, this annual evening-length marathon of works by mostly Miami-based experimental musicians, artists and filmmakers. The audience is invited to come and go freely throughout the course of the evening. Scheduled to perform are: Victor Aguado Machuca, Miguel Alvarez-Fernandez, Robert Blatt, Edward Bobb, Federico Bonacossa, Richard Brookens, John Henry Dale, Dan Dickinson, Carlos Dominguez, Frank Falestra, Ferrer-Molina, Richard Garet, Jorge Gomez Abrante, Stuart King, Jose Ignacio Hernandez Sanchez, Randy Nutt, Emi Minami, Julio Roloff and Kerry Ware.
WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS:
Christoph Cox: Seminar on Experimental Music, Sound Art and Philosophy
(Saturday, July 8 at ArtCenter Downtown, 1035 North Miami Avenue #300, two sessions at 1.5 hours each, check subtropics.org for details and times) Through a set of mini-lectures, discussions and listening exercises, Christoph Cox explores philosophical issues in sound art and experimental music.
Jennie Gottschalk: Workshop on Imagination and Listening
(Sunday, July 9 at Audiotheque, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.) An introductory talk discussing how sound reaches the imagination and the ears, looking at examples from various mediums and historical periods.
Christoph Cox & Jennie Gottschalk: Panel Discussion
(Sunday, July 9 at 8:00 p.m. at Audiotheque) Christoph Cox and Jennie Gottschalk will engage in a discussion regarding a range of concerns within experimental music and sound art.
Jack Wright: Free Musics Workshop
(Sunday, July 16, ArtCenter Downtown, 2-4 p.m.) Wright will discuss his performance from the night before in the light of his recently published book, The Free Musics, elucidating what it is like to be in the midst of the actual experience of improvising which "can be both terrifying and exhilarating."
Partners that made Subtropics XXIV possible this year include: Asociacion de Musica Electroacustica y Arte Sonoro de España (AMEE), Miami Beach Cinematheque, Filmmakers Showcase, and Obsolete Media Miami (OMM). The festival also thanks Judy Robertson, Marilyn Gottlieb-Roberts, and the estate of Charles Recher.
THE HISTORY OF SUBTROPICS:
South Florida Composers Alliance (SFCA, also known as "isaw+subtropics"), is the leading proponent of experimental music and sound art in the Southeastern United States. SFCA has served for decades as the nourishing platform for many projects that promote and present new music and sound art experiences. Gustavo Matamoros studied music theory and composition at the University of Miami, gravitating toward sound art. He created the Subtropics festival in 1989, and is recognized as "one of America's most important sound artists." His work, presented internationally, is "among the most innovative work using sound as a medium created anywhere." His installations and field soundscapes have been created with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA, New American Radio, the Knight Foundation, Culture Builds Florida, Art in Public Buildings, the City of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County, at museums, galleries and public spaces in Europe and the Americas.
"Early on as a young student, I met and worked with one of the world's most famous sound artists who was living here in Miami - Russell Frehling. Working as his assistant eventually led me to start curating sound art events locally," said Matamoros. "This led me to discover my own pathway as an artist, which is all about creating the community landscape for artists, carving out a space for sound art to flourish.
Sound is magic because it is invisible, and anything that is invisible is magic," adds Matamoros. "A sound is the creation of auditory evidence that something has happened. Our life experiences are encoded in the sounds that we all listen to."
Matamoros also runs Audiotheque year-round at ArtCenter/South Florida's studio 201, an acoustically intimate space ideal for experiencing live electro-acoustic and experimental music in a multichannel context that hosts concerts and listening events for the public. Audiotheque also serves as a sound art studio for developing artist residencies and collaborations.
ABOUT ARTCENTER/SOUTH FLORIDA
Established in 1984, ArtCenter/South Florida is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization that advances the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture to an audience of approximately 80,000 people per year. ArtCenter/South Florida creates opportunities for experimentation and encourages the critical exchange of ideas through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach. The residency programs include a Studio Residency Program, an International Exchange Program, a PRINTshop Residency Program, a Fellowship Program, and ARTSail Residency & Research Program. In 2016, ArtCenter/South Florida launched a live/work studio space and an educational platform for critical dialogue. Exhibitions and programs at ArtCenter/South Florida are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; and the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. ArtCenter/South Florida is located in 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach and 1035 N. Miami Ave. Downtown Miami. For more information, visit www.artcentersf.org