Monday, April 27, 2009

Review: Minicine? presented phantasmagoric evening called Sound & Space Experiments at McNeil St Pumping Station

The baroque innards of the historic McNeil St Pumping Station were explored by some 150 people during David Nelson's presentation of Sound & Space Experiments on Sat night.

New York sonic artist Ikue Mori calmly coaxed organic and synthetic sounds from her laptop in the principal performance. Zeena Parkins, Mori's partner in the duo Phantom Orchard, adeptly played harp. She made it apparent that the best accompaniment to digital images and sounds is the intelligent human performance on a classic instrument.

Indeed, the regional acts which preceded the Phantom Orchard show also laid warm hands atop their digitalia. Generic Air percussionist Peter Fetterman used mallets and bows to bring sounds from pipes, cymbals, a saw and the guts of a piano. He noted, "I had to learn to weld to make a frame for the piano soundboard. So we could transport it to this site." Arc welding or oxyacetylene? "Both." Fetterman performed with electrified violinist Destiny Toro.

Also performing in the labyrinthine spaces of the water works was Jon Mackey, laptop computer explorer, Ian Quiet, a space music and industrial sounds creator, and ambient environmentalists The Occidentalists: Jordan West and Allison Dickson West.

Additional sounds were provided by in-and-outist Chris Alexander.

Nelson and Alexander spent a week designing and assembling 5 mini-stages for the compartmentalized site's minuscule spaces. Each performance area was provided with lighting and complemented by video projections.

On a wall high above Phantom Orchard was a projection that seemed to be an open window on an upstairs apartment. A man's silhouette paused to peer out through curtains being gently blown by a breeze. The figure paced and returned to the window over and over. Twas an eerie image, somehow emblematic of the minicine? night of urban entertainment.

Another film and art show will vastee at the minicine? site at 846 Tex on Fri, May 1. Please see more at

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