2 Musical Performances by Marc Burns and Collaborators
Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017
Brown Bag Lunch Performance, 12-12:30pm
Evening Performance, 7-8pm
Artspace will host two experimental music performances by artist Marc Burns on the day of the 58th Presidential Inauguration, Friday, January 20, 2017. Each performance is timed to overlap with a specific Inaugural Day event. The noon performance, STRIKE, will begin at the moment the first word of the Inaugural Speech is uttered. The 7pm evening performance, BALL, will take place during the black-tie Inaugural Balls. These works are free and open to the public and are intended for those who might rather watch hell freeze over than celebrate with the Pretender.
STRIKE offers clamor and uproar as a soundtrack for the new administration. The performance will incorporate a live stream of the Inaugural Address, playing from two flat screen televisions, facing one another on stage. At the moment the speech begins, musicians Carlton Burns (bass, electronics), Emma Burris (vocals) and Marc Burns (Rapmaster keyboard), will add to the noise. The address will be partially and intermittently heard, but filtered through the instrumental accompaniment, in Burns’ words, “alleviating the audience from their patriotic duty of listening to this hideous narrative.”
All Performances are free and open to the public. Cafe tables in the gallery will allow attendees to bring lunch while they listen. Cookies and hot cider will be served.
BALL will begin at 7pm and commemorate the evening’s transition into a governmental social affair. Televisions will be removed from the stage and the tone of the music will shift from a counter-Trump aesthetic to a search for new collective determinism. Margaux Hayes (vocals), Richard McGee lll (saxophone), Zach Rowden (bass), Louis Guarino Jr. (trumpet) and a Chorus of voices will join Burris, Carlton Burns (this time on cello), and Burns. For the first set of BALL, Burns will instruct the Chorus to read aloud from an unorthodox schematic score, compiled from the numbers 0-9 instead of traditional musical notes on a scale. The Chorus will chant these numbers and shape their speed, volume, and articulation via the following progression: MARCH, DANCE, REQUIEM, DANCE,MARCH. Here again, Burns departs from traditional music notation, replacing music nomenclature with found language legible to all. With the instruction to MARCH as the end point, the piece is intended to leave the audience energized and prepared for collective mobilization.
For the second set of BALL, Burns will allow his musicians to freely improvise, using his 0-9 schematic score as a rough guide, similar tofree improvisation in jazz. Burns’ intention for this set is to allowthe bodies playing in the room to find personal escape in and of themselves. Audience members are invited to drift into their own alternative realities filled with music—perhaps finding a dreamscape or head space that has nothing to do with WashingtonD.C., the mediatized events, the crowds, or thoughts of what’s to come.
Both performances are based rhythmically on a 4-page score that Burns composed from five sculptures, currently on display in the Crown Street Window at Artspace. Visitors may view these scores during the time of the performance and follow along. The performances point to the profound interconnectedness between improvisation, responsibility, and the exercise of free-will.