Written and Directed by Anat Ben-David
Methusalach: Music by Tom Milsom and Anat Ben-David
Better Scenery: Text by Sean Ashton
Preamble: Based on a text from Zeros and Ones (1997) by Sadie Plant
Art Direction & Costume by Boudicca
Violin: Angharad Davies
Trombone: Hilary Jeffery
Percussion: Serge Vuille
Piano and Keyboard: Tom Milsom
Electronics: Ivan Lapse
Voice: Anat Ben David, Bishi, Anna Dennis, Sharon Gal, Katie Morel-Orchard, Richard Scott
Stanley Picker Gallery celebrates its twentieth anniversary presenting Kairos, a new performance commission by Anat Ben-David and previous Stanley Picker Fellows Boudicca. Inspired by Sadie Plant’s seminal book Zeros and Ones (1997), Kairos brings together professional opera singers, classic and electronic instrumentalists with experimental musicians, extending the possibilities of the voice in music, sound and image.
We live in a peculiar time of accelerating changes. For Plant, this dynamic phenomenon turns us into ‘components of our own imprisonment. To all intents and purposes, we disappeared.’ Following the poetic schema of Zeros and Ones, Ben-David explores the idea of now as experienced through human perception. What does it mean ‘to be in the moment’ is a question leading to the inevitable difficulty of consciously comprehending an event that has just passed.
Music is the closest tool with which our body and mind can quantify the passing of time, and singing or playing an instrument can get us closer to being in the moment. Through a cycle of eleven songs, Kairos makes reference to post-humanist writings, cybernetic theories and technological developments in a futuristic staging where the two central conditions of music – the chronological, measured sound, and the more chaotic element sometimes referred to as ‘noise’ – jointly create the essence of the piece.
A Ph.D graduate from Kingston University, Ben-David has developed a concept she calls ‘OpeRaArt’. Building on her long-time research into the relationship between art, language and music, the artist stages a three-week long open space of rehearsals inside the Stanley Picker Gallery, culminating in a public performance on Saturday 21 January 2017. Part of the performance can be seen below. See a review in The Wire
Dr Anat Ben-David is an artist, performer and collaborative member of the artist-band Chicks On Speed. For Ben-David, ‘The meaning of the work comes out of the interaction between different mediums, involving electronic or digital means that abstract the voice or abstract the image, creating a sense of alienation.’ Her interest lies in the relationship between text, sound and digital image, mediated through improvisation and performance. Ben-David’s shows and collaborations have been presented internationally at Tate Britain, London; the ICA, London; MoMA, New York; Migros Museum, Zurich; Borealis Festival, Bergen; Beursschouwburg, Brussels; MoMAK, Kyoto; Montermeso, Vitoria; Mosak and ZKM, Karlsruhe.
Click here to see the Kairos trailer
Click here to see Ben-David’s 2014 audio-visual installation, MeleCh, at Stanley Picker Gallery