News, Sound

We Have Delivered Ourselves from the Tonal

We Have Delivered Ourselves from the Tonal – Of, with, towards, on Julius Eastman

A research, exhibition, performance program, 2-days symposium, and a book produced by SAVVY Contemporary and MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues

We Have Delivered Ourselves from the Tonal – Of, with, towards, on Julius Eastman is an exhibition, and a program of performances, concerts and lectures that deliberate around concepts beyond the predominantly Western musicological format of the tonal or harmonic. The project looks at African American composer, musician and performer Julius Eastman’s work beyond the framework of what is today understood as minimalist music, within a larger, always gross and ever-growing understanding of it—i.e. conceptually and geo-contextually. Together with musicians, visual artists, researchers and archivers we aim to explore a non-linear genealogy of Eastman’s practice and his cultural, political and social weight, and situate his work within a broader rhizomatic relation of musical epistemologies and practices.

For the project, new substantial artworks and musical pieces have been commissioned and will be premiered in Berlin. These include a filmic work and performance by Annika Kahrs; a musical composition and a sculptural work by Hassan Khan; a sound installation by Pungwe (Robert Machiri and Memory Biwa); and an installation of minimalist drawings by Barthélémy Toguo. The exhibition also includes drawings by Malak Helmy, a film by the Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar, Kodwo Eshun), paintings by Paolo Bottarelli and a score by Raven Chacon.

For the opening of the exhibition Pungwe will premiere RegginiggerA play on Eastman’s Wor(l)ds of Divinity.

Programme

Opening

16 March, 8pm, Haus der Berliner Festspiele

An evening rich in intoxicating, post-minimalist sonic textures. Works by Julius Eastman from the 1970s and 1980s, ranging from solo voice to ten violoncellos, 16 electric guitars and ensemble: Prelude to the Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc (1981), Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc (1981), Gay Guerrilla Version for 16 electric guitars by Dustin Hurt (1979/2017), Buddha (1984), Femenine (1974). With Sofia Jernberg, Anton Lukoszevieze, Seth Josel, Apartment House a.o.

INVOCATIONS I

24 March , 4pm–midnight, silent green Kulturquartier

Musicians, collaborators and academics who have been engaged with Eastman’s work and are responsible for much of his legacy such as Dustin Hurt, Annika Kahrs, Petr Kotik, Mary Jane Leach, George E. Lewis and Christine Rusiniak will be delivering lectures and performing new pieces. The Otolith Group and Josh Kun will be looking into the political and social contexts that gave way to Julius Eastman’s “Nigger” series and the weight of his performances. In the evening join us for the world premiere of tainted by Hassan Khan, a 40-minutes piece for seven singers.

INVOCATIONS II

25 March, 11am–7pm, silent green Kulturquartier

Performances and talks on re-rooting and re-routing the history of minimalism, will be enacted by sound and music theoreticians and curators Christine Eyene and Sumanth Gopinat in dialogue with artists and musicians: Malak Helmy with Janine Armin, Sean Griffin and Pungwe. On the role of spirituality in minimalist traditions, and the exercising of rituals framed around sex, sexuality and gender discourses, will be engaged with, through performances by Raven Chacon, Sofia Jernberg, and Elaine Mitchener.

This project will culminate in a Festschrift, to be published in autumn 2018.

A SAVVY Contemporary / Maerzmusik project conceived by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Berno Odo Polzer in dialogue with Antonia Alampi.

Research curators: Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock and Kamila Metwaly

Curatorial assistants: Kelly Krugman and Gwen Mitchell

Project Manager: Lema Sikod

Communications: Anna Jäger and Jörg-Peter Schulze

MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues will take place from 16 to 25 March 2018.

We Have Delivered Ourselves from the Tonal – Of, with, towards, on Julius Eastman
23 March – 6 May 2018
Opening:  23 March, 7pm

SAVVY Contemporary
Plantagenstraße 31
13347 Berlin
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 2-7pm
www.savvy-contemporary.com
www.berlinerfestspiele.de

Image: Julius Eastman at Griffis Sculpture Park, summer 1975. © Chris Rusiniak.