Real-time film performances chapter 1
Music for Kenneth Anger is the first chapter in a trilogy of performances dedicated to the American avant-garde cinema.
The performance was held at Milan’s LOFT 21 on February 26th 2011 and hosted by the Inlandempire Project.
During the performance the movie “Inaguration of the Pleasure Dome” was screened.
Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer; February 3, 1927) is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor and author of two controversial Hollywood Babylon books. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the “Magick Lantern Cycle”, and form the basis of Anger’s reputation as one of the most influential independent filmmakers in cinema history. His films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult, and have been described as containing “elements of erotica, documentary, psychodrama, and spectacle.” Anger himself has been described as “one of America’s first openly gay filmmakers, and certainly the first whose work addressed homosexuality in an undisguised, self-implicating manner”, and his “role in rendering gay culture visible within American cinema, commercial or otherwise, is impossible to overestimate”, with several being released prior to the legalisation of homosexuality in the United States. He has also focused upon occult themes in many of his films, being fascinated by the notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley, and is a follower of Crowley’s religion, Thelema.
Born to a middle-class family in Santa Monica, California, Anger would later claim to have been a child actor who appeared in the film A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935); the accuracy of this claim has come under dispute. He began making short films when he was ten years old, although his first film to gain any recognition, the homoerotic Fireworks (1947), would only be produced a decade later. The controversial nature of the work led to him being put on trial on obscenity charges, but he was acquitted. A friendship and working relationship began subsequently with pioneering sexologist Alfred Kinsey. Moving to Europe, Anger produced a number of other shorts inspired by the artistic avant-garde scene on the continent, such as Rabbit’s Moon (released 1970) and Eaux d’Artifice (1953).
Returning to the United States in 1953, he set about working on several new projects, including the films Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), Scorpio Rising (1964), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), and the gossip book Hollywood Babylon (1965). Getting to know several notable countercultural figures of the time, including Tennessee Williams, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithfull and Anton LaVey, Anger involved them in his subsequent Thelemite-themed works, Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969) and Lucifer Rising (1972). Following his failure to produce a sequel to Lucifer Rising, Anger retired from filmmaking in the early 1980s, instead publishing the book Hollywood Babylon II (1982). At the dawn of the 21st century he once more returned to filmmaking, producing shorts for various film festivals and events.
Anger has described filmmakers such as Auguste and Louis Lumière, Georges Méliès, and Maya Deren as influences, and has been cited as an important influence on later film directors like Martin Scorsese, David Lynch
and John Waters. He has also been described as having “a profound impact on the work of many other filmmakers and artists, as well as on music video as an emergent art form using dream sequence, dance, fantasy, and narrative.
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
Anger created two other versions of this film in 1966 and the late 1970s. According to Anger, the film takes the name “pleasure dome” from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s atmospheric poem Kubla Khan. Anger was inspired to make the film after attending a Halloween party called “Come as your Madness.”
Early prints of the film had sequences that were meant to be projected on three different screens. Anger subsequently re-edited the film to layer the images. The film – primarily the 2nd and 3rd revisions – was often shown in American universities and art galleries during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The film reflects Anger’s deep interest in Thelema, the philosophy of Aleister Crowley and his followers, as indicated by Cameron’s role as “The Scarlet Woman” (an honorific Crowley bestowed on certain of his important magical partners).
The film uses some footage of the Hell sequence from the 1911 Italian silent film L’Inferno. Near the end, scenes from Anger’s earlier film Puce Moment are interpolated into the layered images and faces.
- Samson de Brier as Shiva, Osiris, Nero, Cagliostro, and Aleister Crowley (credited as “The Great Beast 666”)
- Marjorie Cameron as The Scarlet Woman and Kali
- Joan Whitney as Aphrodite
- Katy Kadell as Isis
- Renate Druks as Lilith
- Anaïs Nin as Astarte
- Curtis Harrington as Cesare the sleepwalker
- Kenneth Anger as Hecate
- Paul Mathison as Pan
- Peter Loome as Ganymede
Milan celebrates the american composer
Setp. 5th 2012, happy birthday Mr Cage!
Yesterday the prestigious Triennale Design Museum of Milan hosted us for a whole John Cage day and evening of lectures and performances (see previous post). A massive crowd attended
My contribute was an interpretation of Variations VI (1966)
Many thanks to
Triennale staff and everybody who attended (especially my students)
Lectures and performances in Milan
5 Settembre 2012
Triennale di Milano
Viale Alemagna, 6, 20121. Milano.
17.00 – 18.00 Guida all’Ascolto “Empty Words”- Elio Marchesini
18.00 – 18.45 Dialogo tra Inkyung Hwang, autrice del “Lungo treno di John Cage” e Michele Porzio, autore della “Metafisica del Silenzio, John Cage”
18.45 – 19.30 Concerto per pianoforte preparato, Christian Schmitz
20.00 – 22.00 Concerto e Performances a cura di HurlaJanus Ensemble, elettronica a cura di Giorgio Sancristoforo (AGON).
· Imaginary Landscape IV (1951)
· Sonata for Clarinet (1933)
· Telephones and Birds (Buskers) (1977)
· Suite For Toy Piano (1948)
· Variations VI (1966)
· The Wonderful Widow Of Eighteen Springs (1942)
· Dream (1948)
· Composed Improvisation For Snare Drum Alone (1987)
· Living Room Music (1940)
· 4’33” (1952)
Electronics and the Basel Symphony Orchestra Percussionists. A new work with the composer Francesco Paradiso.
MAY 4th, 2012 BASEL, SWITZERLAND
Again I’ve been invited to collaborate with the Composer Francesco Maria Paradiso, this time is a piece for percussions and fixed electronic media called “Taran Tam!”
I’ve worked with Francesco creating for him electronic sounds with Max/MSP and the Buchla Synthesizer. The composition will be performed by the Basel Symphony Orchestra Percussionists.
The premiere will be held at the prestigious Dreispitzhalle in Basel (CH)
PERCUSSION & BYTES
Das sprengt sämtliche Horizonte: In einem spektakulären Konzerthappening begibt sich ein 14köpfiges Schlagzeugensemble auf eine Passage entlang bedeutender Stationen der neueren Musikgeschichte, unterstützt von handverlesenen Gästen und Live-Elektronik.
Werke von Edgar Varèse, Anthony Pateras, Luigi Nono, Francesco Maria Paradiso, Keitaro Takahashi, Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, Achim Christian Bornhöft, Pietro Luca Congedo, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis und Alex Buess.
Schlagzeuger des Sinfonieorchesters Basel und Gäste
Domenico Melchiorre, Konzeption und künstlerische Leitung
In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Haus für elektronische Künste, dem Elektronischen Studio der Hochschule für Musik Basel und der Christoph Merian Stiftung
FREITAG, 4. MAI 2012
20.00 Uhr – ca. 24.00 Uhr
Türöffnung: 19.00 Uhr
Dreispitzhalle Basel, Helsinki-Strasse 5, Münchenstein
– energies collisions transformations-
Ionisation – Edgar Varèse (1883-1965)
for twelve percussionists and piano, (1931)
Refractions – Anthony Pateras (*1979)
for percussion sextet, (2009)
Con Luigi Dallapiccola – Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
for six percussionists and electronics, (1979)
„Taran Tàm!“ – Francesco Maria Paradiso (*1960)
for twelve percussionists and digital soundfile, (2012) world premiere
– 30 Minuten Pause –
– in time and space –
Bricolage – Keitaro Takahashi (*1986)
for six percussionists and live electronics, (2012) world premiere
Igitur Semper – Jacopo Baboni Schilingi (*1971)
for solo trombone, percussiontrio and live electronics, (2011)
Infrarot – Vision Impossible – Achim Christian Bornhöft (*1966)
für 4 Schlagzeuger und Stereotonband, (1999)
Clinamen – Pietro Luca Congedo (*1977)
for 6 percussionists, mechanical drum, automata, and live electronics, (2012) world premiere
Imaginary Landscape No.5 – John Cage (1912-1992)
for any 42 phonograph records, (1952)
– 30 Minuten Pause –
– out of order I out of border –
Orient Occident – Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
for tape, (1957)
Mind Machine – Alex Buess (*1954)
für Schlagzeugtrio, Tonband und Live-Elektronik, (1990/91) world premiere
Visit M° Francesco Paradiso here
A shortwave radio scans through North-African, Chinese, Russian, French, English and German channels, the output is then forwarded to the Buchla.
Inside the synthesizer a white noise is processed with three narrow bandwidth band pass filters connected in serial configuration so to obtain quasi-sinusoids sounds. Both the sources are further transformed by a balanced modulator, a frequency shifter and the four Low Pass Gate (Vactrol Amplifiers/Filters); the whole sound system is stochastically controlled by the Source of Uncertainty 266e module.
Unexpected Word Space: the theater of sound
My latest work was a collaboration with the Italian composer Francesco Paradiso. Together with Massimo Marchi at AGON and the actress Adele Pellegatta, we have created a very singular performance of words and sounds based on a Finnegans Wake extract.
Of course there is a link between this work and that of Berio/Eco in the famous Thema, Omaggio a Joyce. We’ve honored it creating an 1950s electronica soundscape that well represented the paradigm of the RAI Studio era, but we headed on a different use of language. We didn’t chopped words, we used them taking care of their semantic value.
Adele Pellegatta read a chapter of Finnegans, while a 9 channels PA system is filled with delays and live electronics constantly moving in space and interacting with the voice. As a matter of fact each electronic event is controlled by the voice. The text itself is music, it has a vast number of onomatopeic sounds trough all the lyrics. Located across a river with an incredible number of words (or segments of words) that refer to rivers’ names, it is very clear that Finnegans Wake has an aquatic soundscape. For this reason the synthesis section and the delays were all imagined as “pictures” of water, or allegories to better say.
Unexpected Word Space by Francesco Paradiso
Excerpt from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake
Concept and direction by Francesco Paradiso
Voice: Adele Pellegatta
Programming, sound design, live electronics: Giorgio Sancristoforo
Sound direction: Massimo Marchi
An AGON production
Source of Uncertainty celebrates the Buchla 200e and DIY modular synthesis.
Centering around two free New York City concerts, on June 28th and July 7th, the series is a collaborative initiative of New York-based curatorial organizations, Harvestworks and ((audience)), and takes place as part of the River to River festival. The first event will feature a modular synth fair and we will be interviewing Buchla musicians for a program on Art on Air. See bios, exhibitors, links below.
Thurs June 28th // South Street Seaport // 210 Front Street NYC
Control Voltage Faire 3-8pm
Buchla Recital ft Alessandro Cortini, Carlos Giffoni, Mark Verbos 8-10
Late concert ft Xeno & Oaklander and Loud Objects
Sat July 7 // Schimmel Arts Center // 3 Spruce Street NYC
Richard Lainhart tape piece
Morton Subotnick premiers “Energy Shapes”
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