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"Simparch and Kevin Drumm: Architecturally Site-Specific Sounds"
2001-09-16 until 2001-10-28
Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
USA United States of America
Experience the music of Kevin Drumm in the environment in which it was composed: a 72-foot barrel vault, constructed from foil-backed ceiling tiles and spanning the gallery.
The massive acoustical chamber is the result of a collaboration between Drumm and the artist-duo Simparch, and its sculptural component consists of a dropped ceiling arched to form a corridor-like room within a room that comfortably accommodates upwards of 80 people.
Simparch is known for its architecturally scaled works that provide wry commentary on conventional building practices. For this particular project, Simparch addresses The Society's unwieldy acoustics to create conditions favorable to the presentation of an audio work by Drumm, who specializes in experimental and electronic music. Simparch's solution was simple but extreme--install a full dropped ceiling replete with recessed lighting and speakers.
Simparch was founded in 1996 as a collective of four artists living in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Its two remaining members, Steve Badgett and Matt Lynch, have relocated to Chicago and Macomb, Illinois respectively. Simparch's earliest projects (Estrada Road Manufactured Home, 1996, and Hell's Trailer, 1996) used salvaged building materials (tarps, lumber, billboards) to parody the disposable and transitory nature of American culture. Their sense of irony has since given way to a functionalist restraint as in Free Basin (2000), a fully functional plywood skatebowl designed for and exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago.
Drumm, a Chicago native, is one of electronic and experimental music's noteworthy talents. He has performed with ensembles of various sizes and has released numerous solo and duet recordings. His sensibility is rooted in an analytic approach to the broader electrified soundscape and is not confined to electronic music as such. His professional career began in Chicago's improvised and experimental music circles as a table-top guitarist. Laying the electric guitar flat on a table top, he treated the instrument as a conduit for registering all manner of touch and the presence of its own internal electrical current. Amplifier buzz, hum and static were the dominant part of his vocabulary. As a result, Drumm is one of the few musicians for whom the addition of a laptop computer to his repertoire of instruments is in fact natural. Hs skill as an improviser has earned him distinction within the field of electronic music. He brings his skills to group settings in a manner not different than any other musician, transcending the divide between electronic and acoustic sounds.