This improvised sound and dance performance is organized in conjunction with the site-specific installation, Relative Fields in a Garden (2018). The first collaboration between portraitist Heidi Howard and her mother, pioneering interactive sound sculptor Liz Phillips, the work comprises a year-long commission for the Queens Museum’s Large Wall series for women-identified artists. Relative Fields in Motion will extend Howard and Phillips’ exploration of the politics of relation and simultaneity found in the domestic sphere of the garden, and further activate their work’s synaesthetic interplay of sound, image, and movement.
Directed by Howard, the performance combines saxophone by her father, virtuoso composer and performer Earl Howard with movement by dancer Cynthia Koppe, in an expanded sound installation by Phillips including ultrasonic sensor lines. As Koppe explores the brushing, dripping, slapping and layering of Howard’s painted actions, her gestures will be processed through Phillips’ installation to modulate, resonate, and sustain sounds, creating a live-responsive mix with the field recordings of bees, leaves, birds, trains and water that loop through the twenty speaker objects in the hundred-foot-long soundscape.
Howard’s saxophone improvisation will draw from real-time observations of the varying arrangement, as well as his intimate knowledge of the source recordings from his and Phillips’ Sunnyside, Queens garden. His live response will bring further form to this range of coincidental interactions produced among each artist’s investigation and the audience’s experience, merging the context of a private, urban garden with that of an interior public space, in one dynamic and interactive event.
Cynthia Koppe is a New York based dancer. Born in Singapore, she holds a BA from Cornell University in Sociology and Dance. She has worked with Liz Santoro and Pierre Godard since 2008 and continues to work with their Paris-based company, Le Principe d’Incertitude. Cynthia was a member of Shen Wei Dance Arts from 2009-2016, helping to originate roles as well as performing repertory. She has also worked with Ellis Wood, Bill Young, Ryan McNamara, Sam Roeck, Adam Weinert and Christopher Williams, and was a reperformer in Marina Abramovic’s 2010 MoMA Retrospective. In addition to dancing, Cynthia teaches embodied movement through Pilates and Yoga.
Heidi Howard (b.1986, New York, NY) has exhibited her work at Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY (2017, 2016, 2015), Gaa Gallery, Provincetown, MA and Cologne, Germany (2018, 2017), The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ (2017), James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY (2016) and many more. She has been an artist in residence at Palazzo Monti (2018), Byrdcliffe (2014) and the Vermont Studio Center (2011). She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from Columbia University. She lives and works in Queens, New York.
Liz Phillips (b. 1951, Jersey City, NJ) studied at Bennington College and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986. She has been making interactive sound installations for over four decades at venues such as Harvestworks on Governors Island, NY (2017); Creative Time (1981,2001); Lincoln Center, New York, NY (2002, 2001); the Jewish Museum, New York, NY (2002); Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria (1991, 1988); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (1988, 1985); and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (1978) and many more.
Earl Howard (b. 1951, Los Angeles, CA) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, saxophonist, synthesizer player and multi-instrumentalist. Howard is one of the pioneers of what is called “new” music. He has received numerous awards including, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2011), a grant from Harvard’s the Fromm Foundation, a Regents Fellowship at University of California, San Diego, and three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships. In 2004, his first sound installation was commissioned for the Tiffany Collection at the Queens Museum of Art. Howard has also produced soundtracks for video artists including Nam June Paik and Mary Lucier.
Relative Fields in Motion is made possible, in part, by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Support for Relative Fields in a Garden, 2018 is provided by Agnes Gund. The Large Wall series at Queens Museum is supported by The Ferriday Fund Charitable Trust. Relative Fields in a Garden was commissioned in conjunction with the exhibition, Queens International 2018: Volumes (October 7, 2018 – February 24, 2019). QI 2018 is made possible in part by support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Chai Trust. Exhibitions at the Queens Museum receive significant support from Ford Foundation. Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Lambent Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.
Image: Cynthia Koppe in front of Heidi Howard and Liz Phillips, Relative Fields in a Garden, 2018. Acrylic paint, ceramic, bamboo, birch veneer, mirror film, metal chairs, Serge analog synthesizer, sound transducers, light sensors and multichannel looping audio players. Courtesy the artists. Photo by Heidi Howard.
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