Events > 2004

10 Apr. 2004

Art Metronome

Performers
Antony Hegarty, Daniel Barrow, Joel Gibb, Daniel Olson, Marla Hlady, Luis Jacob, and Andrew Zealley
Offsite Location
Harbourfront Theatre Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto, ON

h1.Art Metronome:01: featuring New York’s Antony & the Johnsons and guests!

Art Metropole is proud to announce the first annual Art Metronome, a unique music and audio-art event that brings together ground-breaking musicians, top performance and sound artists, art installations and turntablists. The evening event takes place at the Harbourfront Theatre Centre, 231 Queens Quay West on Saturday, April 10, 2004.

Headlining the event is NYC’s Antony who is presenting a special selection of songs accompanied by Johnsons’ cellist Julia Kent. This is Antony’s first official performance in Toronto.

Also on the bill: projection-artist Daniel Barrow (Winnipeg), The Hidden Cameras (Toronto), performance/sound artist Daniel Olson (Montreal), Toronto performance/sound artist Marla Hlady with The Tristanos (featuring guitar innovator Eric Chenaux), and DJs Luis Jacob and Andrew Zealley (Toronto).

Antony has been turning heads around the globe. His voice has been compared to Nina Simone, Lotte Lenya and Otis Redding. Laurie Anderson says, “When Antony sings it is the most exquisite thing that you will hear in your life.”

The world got a sweet taste of Antony’s exceptional voice last year when he toured with Lou Reed and appeared on Reed’s epic album, The Raven. But in his own right, Antony has been winning over audiences in Europe and the UK. His debut self-titled album, released on David (Current 93) Tibet’s independent imprint, Durtro, launched a tidal wave of critical acclaim. His follow-up EP, I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy, was equally praised. Antony is a featured artist in the Whitney Museum’s 2004 Biennial Exhibition, this April. His forthcoming, second album is I Am A Bird Now.

Olson and Hlady each present special performance pieces developed specially for AM:01. The Hidden Cameras’ Joel Gibb presents a unique, narrative musical experience featuring string ensemble and guitar in collaboration with visual artist Daniel Barrow, creator of the HC’s gorgeous Miracle music video. The evening’s sonic delights are punctuated by DJs luis Jacob (artist, curator, member of the Hidden Cameras and resident DJ at monthly dance event Rhythm Box), and Andrew Zealley (sound artist and feature film composer who brings 4 decades of record collecting to each distinctive mix).

Art Metronome:01 is a fundraiser for Art Metropole, Toronto’s internationally known, non-profit artist run multiples publisher, gallery and on-line store. An event raffle includes opportunities to win one of the following prizes: a numbered edition multiple entitled Nine Lives (1992) by General Idea, deluxe DVD and CD packages from EMI; a Bowie super pack including the remastered Sound & Vision box; deluxe music packages from Outside Music; a Sound Ball multiple by Marla Hlady, and more! Raffle tickets are $5 and may be purchased at Art Metropole or at the event.

Tickets for Art Metronome:01 are $100 (gala), $50, $35 and $25 on sale at the Harbourfront Box Office, (416) 973-4000.

Gala tickets are limited to 24 and include access to a special reception in The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (7 to 8 p.m.), with the performers/artists, the best seats in the house, and a complimentary raffle ticket. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Art Metropole acknowledges the generous sponsorship of The Drake Hotel, The Gladstone Hotel, The Music Gallery, Outside Music and artist Seth Scriver for their support of Art Metronome:01.

h1.An Intimate Account of Art Metronome by Luis Jacob

I was so pleased with Art Metronome last Saturday. It took me quite a long time to come down from the experience! For the sake of our friends who couldn’t make it, I’ll recount the evening in detail to give some impression of how it unfolded.

The gala reception made for a beautiful-looking impression when first walking in. An area of the Power Plant clerestory was cordoned off and decorated with yellow balloons and yellow tablecloths, where guests could mingle with the performers. Andy Paterson (with fish necktie!) and Bill Burns were tending the bar, and volunteers were serving Enoch Gray’s delicious hors d’oeuvres and two-tone AM monogram cookies. And every one of our gala guests received a little programme booklet signed by all of the performing artists — a real treasure!

The programme booklets themselves were little artworks, designed by Seth Scriver in the manner of a musical scorebook. These were handed out to audience members as they walked in the theatre, where they milled around to the sounds of Andrew & yours truly!

The first performer was Marla Hlady and the Tristanos, who were arranged onstage behind a set of six mysterious metallic orbs on microphone stands. The orbs would light up and emit little enigmatic sounds, while the band similarly would play quiet acoustic sounds to accompany the harmonized singing of Eric Cheneaux and Janet MacPherson. I loved the way this group started the evening off in a very delicate and beautiful way.

Then the Hidden Cameras took the stage, with Joel on piano and a string quartet, while Daniel Barrow was set up in a balcony with his projector (and his assistant, Paige!). Daniel began speaking on a mic while projecting on the large screen suspended over the stage, telling a happy-sad story about longing and alienation and curiosity and desire…. backed up by the band playing an instrumental song. Daniel continued his inspired projections (which were truly marvelous) while the band played its music. All the performers managed to blend incredible beauty with the icky-scary-luvly sexiness of Joel’s lyrics and Daniel’s gloryhole and jerkoff drawings. The audience indicated by their applause how clearly impressed they were!

We took an intermission break (again to Andrew’s and my music) while folks got drinks at the bar, checked out our AM merch table and the raffle prize table, and purchased raffle tickets (sold out!). Once back inside, we announced the raffle winners (I wanted one of Marla’s orbs!)

Then Daniel Olson took the stage. He arrived dressed in suit and sunglasses, rather like a faded rock star, and picked up an enigmatic blue plastic box from the floor. He looked into it, and produced a series of sweet tinkle and bell sounds. He manipulated the box to produce sounds, which turned from sweet to irritating and back again. It was amazing to think of the roomful of people focused on the sound emissions from this mysterious toy box.

Finally the star of the evening came onstage, accompanied by Julia on cello. Antony arrived wearing a black suit, with make-up and a long black wig. He sat at the piano, and proceeded to charm us all. He sang the most heart-wrenching songs, then bantered between songs as if the most ordinary gathering of friends were happening. Then he would unleash another extraordinary song, and return to chit-chat with us in his inimitable manner. Truly we were charmed! I was in a great mood, but I had tears welling in my eyes for half the performance! Each song was ensued by enthusiastic clapping from the audience, which seemed to love Antony more and more with each song. Finally he sang his last song, and was greeted with a standing ovation, and people would not stop clapping until he returned onstage. Rather surprised, he gave us one more song and finished the evening. Speaking with people after the show, I must say that it was universally very well received. People spoke of having experienced something very very special.


Antony Hegarty (born 1971) is a singer-songwriter from New York City who’s found great acclaim and a pianist and vocalist. Recording under the name Antony & the Johnsons, Hegarty specializes in a brand of grandstanding, showstopping torchsongs, which showcase his unique voice. Singing in a vibrato-rattled warble, Hegarty’s gender-confusing voice has often been compared to Nina Simone.

Born in Sussex, Hegarty’s family relocated to California when he was 11. Hegarty found refuge in surface-mail copies of Smash Hits that he had shipped in from England. Hegarty had to particular musical heroes, both of whom he would eventually collaborate with: Marc Almond of Soft Cell, and Boy George of Culture Club.

“He was the first person I saw in the world that I thought looked like a reflection of me,” Hegarty said, in a 2005 interview. “I remember getting that first Culture Club record and just staring at the cover, and going ‘wow, that’s me!’ I think that was when I really decided that I was going to be a singer, because it just seemed reasonable that that would be what someone like me would do.”

Hegarty moved to New York in 1990 to attend the experimental Theatre Wing of NYU. Initially performing as part of avant-garde theater shows, he soon would take his voice to the “drag bars” of the city, “trying to play songs so sad they’d make the trannies cry.”

After David Tibet of experimental English institution Current 93 heard demo recordings of Hegarty, he offered to release them on his own Durtro label. In 1998, Hegarty would release the eponymous debut album for Antony & the Johnsons. It was, at the time, a strictly underground release.

In 2001, Hegarty’s music was discovered by music promoter/svengali type Hal Willner. At that stage, Willner was working on Lou Reed’s musical translation of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven. Willner suggested that Hegarty might be a good choice as one of the album’s many guest vocalists, and brought him in for an audition.

“I was told that if he didn’t like what I did in the studio, he might just walk into the back-room, and I’d be asked to leave on the spot,” Hegarty says. “So, y’know, you really wanted him to like you, and it turned out that he really liked what I did, and it came to pass that we became, actually, really good friends, and he’s been a tremendous ambassador for me.”

In January of 2005, Hegarty would release his second album, I Am a Bird Now. Featuring guest appearances by Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Devendra Banhart, and Hegarty’s childhood hero Boy George, the record was a concept album about transgender transformation.

In September of 2005, I Am a Bird Now was awarded the Mercury Music Prize for the best British album of that year, beating out more favored nominees like M.I.A., Coldplay, Maxïmo Park, and Bloc Party. Following its win, the album rocketed up the UK albums chart from #135 to #16 in the space of a week.

In the years following its release, Hegarty’s voice turned up on more and more records; the singer working with Wainwright, CocoRosie, Björk, Hercules and Love Affair, Joan as Policewoman, and composer Nico Muhly.

Muhly worked intimately with Hegarty on the recording of the third Antony & the Johnsons album, 2009’s The Crying Light. Wedding Hegarty’s stark, piano-driven songs to Muhly’s rich orchestrations, the record was the songwriters attempt to author a song-cycle about the Earth as “a dying planet.”

“These songs,” Hegarty explained, “are my attempt to dismantle the wall that separates me from my perception of the world, some of which attribute to ideas of land from my childhood, from hierarchical theologies that would have me believe that, as a human-being, I somehow have a separate destiny, that this world is just a work-station, as opposed to the place that gave birth to me.”

2010 brought the fourth Antony and the Johnsons LP, Swanlights, an album also rich in images of nature, and filled with numerous love-songs. The record came with artwork that lavishly reproduced Hegarty’s own visual art creations made over the period of working on The Crying Light and Swanlights.

Daniel Barrow is a draftsperson who works in video, performance and installation. He is best known for his intricate, live, manual animations on overhead projectors, which deal with themes of fantasy, empathy, isolation and queerness. A graduate of the University of Manitoba in 1995, Barrow began experimenting with overhead projectors after appreciating the lecture style of one of his professors. An important early overhead-projector work was 2002’s The Face of Everything, inspired by the bizarre story of Liberace’s long-time partner. Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry, from 2008, was a breakthrough work; Barrow toured it internationally through 2011. In 2010, Barrow won the Sobey Art Award, and earlier that year he opened Emotional Feelings at Toronto’s Art Gallery of York University. Barrow has performed internationally at venues such as PS1, the Walker Art Center and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Joel Gibb (born 28 January 1977) is a Berlin-based Canadian artist and singer-songwriter who leads the “gay church folk” group The Hidden Cameras. He was born in Kincardine, Ontario.

His first involvement with the music scene was as editor of a fanzine devoted to independent bands, Glamour Guide for Trash. He also hosted a college radio show at CFRE-FM in Mississauga, Ontario. At the same time, he was writing his own songs and, in 2001, he released some of his recordings under the name The Hidden Cameras on his own independent record label EvilEvil, a CD entitled Ecce Homo.

He then gathered together a group of musicians to perform his work, playing everywhere from art galleries to churches to porn theatres to parks. Along the way, the band grew to include up to thirteen members, including a string section, choir and go-go dancers, its audience growing at the same time.

In 2003 the Hidden Cameras were signed to Rough Trade, a well-known British record label who released the band’s next album, The Smell of Our Own the same year. They began to tour North America and Europe extensively. In 2004, the album Mississauga Goddam was released, followed by The arms of his ‘ill’ on the California label Absolutely Kosher Records. The album Awoo came out in 2006 on Rough Trade Records, EvilEvil and Arts & Crafts. All The Hidden Cameras releases to date have been produced by Joel Gibb. In 2007, solo recordings by Gibb were released on the tribute to Arthur Russell compilation EP, Four Songs by Arthur Russell.

Gibb exhibits his artwork in various galleries and has been included in group shows in the past at the Tate Modern, among others. His work comprises drawings and banners, both of which are featured on The Hidden Cameras CDs and records. He also shows the videos he has directed for The Hidden Cameras.

In 2008, Joel Gibb made his acting debut, alongside Jena von Brücker, Mark Ewert, Calvin Johnson, Jen Smith, and Vaginal Davis, as one of the stars of the film The Lollipop Generation, directed by G.B. Jones. The film also features music by The Hidden Cameras.

Gibb contributed to R.E.M.‘s album Collapse Into Now, with backing vocals on the track “It Happened Today”

Gibb currently lives in Berlin.

Born in California to Canadian parents in 1955, Daniel Olson completed degrees in mathematics and architecture before obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1986 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Halifax) and a Master of Fine Arts in 1995 from York University (Toronto). Olson’s work – which includes sculpture, multiples, installation, photography,performance, audio, video and artist’s books – has been exhibited widely, including shows at the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Québec), Galerie Optica (Montréal), and the Canadian Cultural Centre (Paris). Olson has published numerous artist’s books and multiples, most of which have been available at Art Metropole in Toronto, where he is also represented by Birch Libralato. Since 2001 Olson has been living and working in Montreal. Solo exhibitions include Twenty Minutes’ Sleep, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver, 2005); Other Conditions, Modern Fuel (Kingston, 2005); Unknown Seventies Artists, Galerie TPW (Toronto, 2005); and I’m Not There (1955), Goethe Institute (Dublin, 2004). Olson has exhibited in group exhibitions such as Aural Cultures, Walter Philips Gallery (Banff, Alberta, 2005); Frottements: Objets et surfaces sonores, Musee national des beaux arts de Quebec, (Quebec, 2004); In Light (video projections by eight artists), Art Gallery of Ontario, (Toronto, 2004); and Promise, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver,2001).

Marla Hlady is a celebrated sound artist and kinetic sculptor. Her pieces deal with the nature of sound, often materializing it for viewers and reorienting their connection to everyday auditory experiences. Hlady received a BFA from the University of Victoria and an MFA from York University. She began showing in the early 1990s, eventually being included in several national and international group shows, such as 1996′s “Blink” at Toronto’s Power Plant. (In 2001, the same gallery hosted a solo show of her work.) Hlady’s practice developed in scope and ambition through the 2000s; 2008′s Playing Piano was a player piano from the 1920s intricately modified with contemporary machinery. In 2012, Hlady did a number of site-specific projects for her solo show at Hallwalls in Buffalo, New York, and for a residency in Norway. Hlady was nominated for the 2002 Sobey Art Award and her work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada. Hlady lives and works in Toronto.

Luis Jacob was born in Lima, Peru, in 1970. Lives and works in Toronto.

Luis Jacob is a Toronto-based multimedia artist and curator concerned with notions of collectivity, and, increasingly, with acts of looking and meaning-making. Jacob studied semiotics and philosophy at the University of Toronto in the early 1990s, and he soon became immersed in local politics and club culture, as well as the art world, all three coming into play in his first decade of output, which often included experimentation with relational aesthetics. In 2005, Jacob showed Habitat at the Art Gallery of Ontario; this, among other things, piqued the interest of then-visiting Documenta 12 curators Ruth Noack and Roger Buergel, who included him in the 2007 event. Since then, Jacob has shown internationally and with great variety, focusing on found objects (his Album series, for instance, part of which is now owned by the Guggenheim Museum in New York) and the nature of the image. A touring retrospective of his work was hosted by Montreal’s Darling Foundry and Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 2010 and 2011.

Andrew Zealley is a Toronto-based artist whose work expands beyond audio and music methods to inform mixed disciplines and media. His practice has been situated at the shifting nexus of HIV/AIDS, queer identity, and the body since 1990. Zealley s audio installation, Nature: This Is A Recording, is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada. He has recordings published by labels Art Metropole, Fine & Dandy, How To Explain Silence To A Dead Hare, Old Europa Cafe, Public Record/Ultra-red, Tourette Records, and Vague Terrain. Zealley holds an MFA in interdisciplinary studies from OCAD University. He is currently pursuing doctoral research through the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University; Program of Study: Safe and Sound: Art, Queer Listening, and Biopolitics of HIV/AIDS.

Images

9: Marla Hlady and the Tristanos.
10: Marla Hlady and the Tristanos.
11: The Hidden Cameras.
12: The Hidden Cameras.
13: The Hidden Cameras.
14: The Hidden Cameras.
18: Daniel Olson in performance.

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