Iranian-American sound/performance artist Sholeh Asgary and recording artist/clarinetist David Rothenberg will perform in an evening of new music and improvisation on Friday, November 3 at 7 p.m. in Gallery Bergen at the main campus. Shabah e Baad (Ghost Winds), the performance, is a part of the ongoing exhibition at the gallery, The Cup Flows Over: Art from the Soul of Iran presenting the art of contemporary Iranian artists from Iran and the diaspora. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations can be made at Eventbrite.
In the performance of Shabah e Baad (Ghost Winds), Asgary vocalizes recordings of water bodies transcribed into notation for voice with the help of electronics and synthesizers for notes beyond human capability. The arrangement and layering of the notes create sonic landscapes that cast reflections of silence, dissonance, and possible occasional moments of harmony. Asgary explores illegibility, loss, and mutant transformation through the near-impossible task of performing voice for water. This work is inspired and developed through her ongoing research into indigenous Iranian underground aqueducts known as qanats and the lesser-known ancient practice of wedding them as an exploration of water scarcity, human displacement, and ecological loss within the context of intricate erotics and economies of reciprocity between human bodies and waterways. Asgary’s performance includes variations on her original compositions by Atabak Elyasi. On this version of the piece, Asgary will be joined by David Rothenberg on clarinets and water sounds.
Sholeh Asgary (b. Iran 1982) is an interdisciplinary artist whose works implicate the viewer participant in future mythological excavations, bridging large swathes of time and history through water, light, imaging, voice, and sound. Featured in Art in America’s 2022 “New Talent Issue” and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts triennial exhibition, “Bay Area Now 9,” Asgary’s work has been supported by such institutions as Headlands Center for the Arts, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, and ARoS Kunstmuseum. Asgary is a UCLA Art|Sci Collective member and a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and California College of the Arts.
Musician and philosopher David Rothenberg wrote Why Birds Sing, Bug Music, Survival of the Beautiful and many other books, published in at least eleven languages. He has more than forty recordings out, including One Dark Night I Left My Silent House which came out on ECM, and most recently In the Wake of Memories and Faultlines. He has performed or recorded with Pauline Oliveros, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, Suzanne Vega, Scanner, Elliott Sharp, Umru, Iva Bittová, and the Karnataka College of Percussion. Whale Music is his latest book. Nightingales In Berlin is his latest film. Secret Sounds of Ponds comes out in early 2024. Rothenberg is Distinguished Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
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