Project Scream is the Center for Integrated Media and viralnet-v4.net’s third curatorial sound project. This project follows our past two sound initiatives: the Lament Project and Imagining Tellus # 28: Heard in LA.
Curators Carmina Escobar, Fy, and Tom Leeser invited a variety of performance, electronic, acoustic, noise, text and visual artists to contemplate the meaning of the word scream and to create a sonic or written interpretation derived from their own personal artistic practice.
Project Scream grew from our interest in producing an online sound archive that could respond to these precarious times by transforming the sound of anger and frustration into a form of wisdom and compassion. An example of this artistic transformation is the wrathful Buddhist deity Hayagriva, who is depicted in Tibetan thangka painting as using sound in a ferocious form to achieve an enlightened state.
Even though there are many conventional uses of screaming that can be referenced, we encouraged the artists to invent new interpretations of the form, and to include a diverse and wide variety of approaches. There were no stylistic preconditions or rules that the artists needed to follow in creating their work.
Cassandra’s Scream – Ana Iwataki
I leave my seat to avoid you – Erin Demastes
The big brown bat – Laura Steenberge
Program Notes + Bios
Cali Bellow’s “Introducing Ben Banana (feat. Erika Bell)” draws upon screams as both collective events and powerful—if temporary—acts of catharsis. The screams heard in the piece are lifted from A) fans at The Beatles’ legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and B) a live interview with composer Laurie Anderson (conducted by Debbie Millman for Design Matters) in which Anderson asks her audience to scream with her as a moment of collective release.
The piece was conceived as a miniature concept album centered around fictional pop icon, Ben Banana. Levinson creates a scenario in which themes of fandom, idolization, power, trauma, and healing are interrogated. It takes on the form of a radio play, emphasizing an inherent kitsch affect and amplifying that to increase the horror. Nicole, portrayed by Erika Bell, must heal from lingering relationship-related trauma when closure is no longer an option. The scream represents not an alarm, but a necessary call to the present.
Ben Levinson is a writer and musician living in Los Angeles. He writes album reviews for Tiny Mix Tapes, co-edits Soap Ear (an online journal about experimental music in LA), performs as Cali Bellow, and organizes shows with friends.
Marisa Demarco blends worn handmade electronics with voice, and her work centers on visual themes. She’s traveled to stages around the U.S. and beyond. She founded Gatas y Vatas music and art festival in 2010, and Milch de la Máquina, a performance art troupe. She’s a member of experimental ensemble the Death Convention Singers. Her compositional work has been featured in the John Donald Robb Composer’s Symposium. She studies experimental art and technology at the University of New Mexico.
Erin Demastes is a Los Angeles-based multimedia artist, composer, and performer whose research lies at the intersection of art and science. She uses repurposed technology and everyday objects to explore sonic phenomena related to acoustics, resonance, electricity, and magnetism. Her fixed media work usually consists of assembled sculptures made from hacked electronics and things that should probably be in the trash. Erin also specializes in improvised music, and her current work involves performing on synthesizers, laptops, toys, found objects, and homemade instruments and electronics. She fosters a sense of play, experimentation, and discovery in both her performances and installations. Erin received an M.F.A. in Experimental Sound Practices and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts in 2018 and a B.M. in jazz studies and piano performance from Loyola University New Orleans in 2011. Before coming to Los Angeles, Erin worked as a jazz and classical pianist, composer, and arranger for 10 years in the New Orleans area.
Screaming is the first thing we do when we are born, is a powerful reaction to different stimuli, is the most honest physical response to the world and the affectation of each other. Is a live force.
Experimental Vocalist Carmina Escobar (1981) is an improviser, sound and intermedia artist from Mexico City. Her practice focuses on sound, voice, body, and their interrelations to physical, social, present and memory spaces. Her work includes pieces of installation, performance, multimedia, as well as collaborative and interdisciplinary works. She has explored the capabilities of her voice to investigate radical ideas about the voice/body. She has presented her work at various festivals, biennials, experimental spaces, museums, galleries, concert halls, and theaters of the Mexico, Europe, Cuba, and USA, as: PST: LA / LA 2018 (LA), Cuban Art Factory 2017(HAV), CTM Festival 2017(BE), World Dada Fair 2017(SF), Current LA Water 2016(LA), RedCat(LA), New Music Festival 2015 (CZ), MATA Festival 2018(NY), among others. Artist in residence in Montalvo(SF), STEIM(AMS), Binaural(PT), OMI(NY), Fonoteca Nacional(MX), Echo Park Film Center (LA), and most recently The MacDowell Colony (NH). Carmina has received the Endowment of the Arts in Mexico on three occasions, the USArtist International Award with the project Estamos Ensemble, the Master Scholarship of NALAC, among others. She is co-director and vocalist of the contemporary and experimental music mexican ensemble [LIMINAR]. Currently based in LA.
It was late at night and I was parked in my car on Union Ave in LA listening to sounds. RecordPlay. Stop. RecordPlay. Stop. In a complete chance of synchronicity, a voice emerged —
2- atomic imagery, rotating molecules, instantaneous particles dancing, vanishing.
3- solar winds scorching the returning comets tail.
4- elephants mating in a secret grove.
5- airborne carriers of transparent seedlings…..
Later research of these lines led me to the original work: Pauline Oliveros’ Thirteen Changes for Malcolm Goldstein.
The tape I began recording on then became part of a game called The Orange Tape Game that I made in a class collaboration at CalArts where we recorded sounds by drawing from a deck of card instructions. That tape was then made into this piece.
Over a series of months I listened to the tape discovering disjunct and confounding, curiously spooky, joyful and endearing remnants, ghosts and fragmentations of moments recorded within my final semester at CalArts. Voices, screams, hisses, clicks, confessions, songs all make their way as the banal boiling of dissonance under the surface of daily life. I have become interested in exploring the violin as a sound object, a tool for sonic animation and combining these disparate sonic elements to form a reimagining of Thirteen Changes. Orange. Tape. Scream.
Fy is a trans-disciplinary sound artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. They have been producer, composer, performer, violinist, engineer, educator and mentor venturing relatively deep within diverse sonic, creative and technical contexts. Fy received their MFA in Performance/Composition and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts.)
I grew up in NYC, but moved away to Boston for college. Over the years when I returned for holidays, the overwhelming noise and intensity of the streets and subway got to me.
This was almost a point of shame. I felt as if my ears had weakened. The energy, the grind, constant commotion – had become screams of the city. Had I lost my identity as a New Yorker? The city use to feel warm and inviting, I took pride in facing it head on.
Field recording the city has allowed me to reconnect with the it, and allowed me control over how I listen to the city.
This work, composed entirely of these field recordings, explores my relation to New York in four sections: a haunting, the internal, everything at once, and reality. The final section is in homage to John Cage, and was recorded outside his old apartment on 18th st. and 6th Avenue.
Upon fully relocating back to NYC- it has taken sometime, but the screams are becoming their beautiful selves again.
Ian Battenfield Headley (b. 1989) is a New York City based electroacoustic composer who weaves instruments, field recordings, and electronics into dense layers of acousmatic sound. His music has been described as, exploring the ”beautiful dichotomies between organic and processed sounds that imitate each other,” (Weird Ear Records), and “strikingly visceral, three-dimensional…” (New Music Box). His works have premiered with Musicworks Magazine, MUSICACOUSTICA Beijing, and the Deep Listening Conference.
Ana Iwataki (b. 1989 in Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles)is a curator, writer, and translator. She has curated exhibitions independently, in collaboration with Marion Vasseur Raluy, and as co-director of Shanaynay, Paris. Recent exhibitions were held at Balice Hertling, Paris; 67 Steps, Los Angeles; Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles; LAMOA DS#3 at Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles; Bel Air, Essen, Germany; and le Doc, Paris, France. With Vasseur Raluy, an anthology of their Art Viewer Screen program was published by Hololoholo Books in April 2018. She received her BA in Art History from Pitzer College, Claremont, CA (2011) and MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Sorbonne, Paris, France (2014).
A sonic reflection that considers our connection to the planet and all its inhabitants.
The piece amplifies the current rupture in the human and the nonhuman kinship.
It resolves by screaming for the restoration of our bond to the terrestrial space.
electronics and synthesizer: Kyle Leeser
euphonium: Matt Barbier
field recording, editing, processing and mixing: Tom Leeser
Digital media artist, curator, writer and educator, Tom Leeser founded the Provisional Collective in 2012 to explore the relationship between art, life and media in a technological age. Since then the Provisional Collective has collaborated with numerous artists and has employed a diverse range of projects resulting in online publications, seminars, public art works, videos, installations, sound-based works and socially engaged initiatives.
The Provisional Collective’s intent is to form temporary collaborations through experimental and networked based projects that can occur in public media spaces, alternative cultural and educational institutions and in our everyday landscapes. As a multidisciplinary practice, the Collective has engaged in topics such as climate change, arts education within a globalized context, cultural memory and speculative futures. With backgrounds in technology, photography, film, video and sound, the impulse of the Collective is to expand our understanding and experience of social and physical space through a critical process of immersion and participation.
Laura Steenberge is a performer and composer in Los Angeles who researches language, mythology, and ritual. She is interested in nonsense and the boundaries of knowledge, and is influenced by folk music, psycholinguistics, acoustics and medieval Byzantine chant. A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and public speaker, Steenberge uses voice, viola da gamba, contrabass, piano, paper, objects, images and movement to create traditional concert pieces, site-specific works and performance lectures. She teaches experimental sound practices at CalArts.
Micaela Tobin is a soprano, sound artist, and teacher based in Los Angeles, CA who specializes in experimental voice and contemporary opera, composing under the moniker “White Boy Scream.” Within this project Micaela dissects her operatic and extended vocal techniques through the use of electronics as a means of reclaiming the “diva.” She has performed extensively throughout the western United States, most notably as a guest with hip-hop experimentalists clipping. during their 2017 tour in support of The Flaming Lips. Micaela’s most recent release, “Remains” (Crystalline Morphologies) was listed as one of the top 10 Noise/Industrial Albums of 2018 by The Wire Magazine. Micaela is currently a voice instructor in the VoiceArts department at CalArts.
Parch Es is a media artist from Mexico City currently based in Los Angeles. His work draws from a wide range of disciplines – from painting, performance, and poetry to social relations to virtual reality – to build assemblages: a word that means both ‘collage’ and ‘network’. His objective is to disrupt the human, linear experience of time in order to explore the alien subjectivities that may emerge from nonlinear relations to time.
Tim Tsang is a (performer) (performer). Constantly engaged in infinite play as an accumulative performance strategy, Tsang scripts friendly spaces (theoretical, physical) that invite uncertainty and perplexity. Often through over-identification and over-exposure toward the social, these spaces act as repositories for [critical thinking, contemplation, and escapism] in the context of [event, game, and concert].
Los Angeles based artist duo Beck+Col use humor and chaos to examine the crisis brought upon by human exceptionalism. We create alternate universes populated with monsters using costume-based performance and video. Through play, we place oppressive social norms into the realm of absurdity. The monsters explore these cruel and ridiculous behaviors through abstract vocalizations and exaggerated action. They are whimsical, exceptionally brutal phantasmagorical figures that personify the sophisticated violence of late stage capitalism.
The absence of explicit language is central to our work. The monsters communicate exclusively in subtext to create an uncodified political space for the viewer. We give the spectator room to think through what they are seeing by privileging action over any discussion or explanation. Screaming is a natural way for the monsters to communicate as it matches the violence and chaos of the visual work. beckandcol.com
Carolyn Chen | This is a scream.
Yoko Ono | SOPRANO & WISH TREE at MoMA, Summer 2010
Carrick Bell | Pretend your thoughts are like plants (3)
Gregory Whitehead Institute for Screamscaoe Studies