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Music for 'Migration of Gestures'

by adoptahighway

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I was asked to create a long form composition to accompany the video collaboration between UW-Milwaukee faculty and artists Maria Gillespie, Nirmal Raja and Portia Cobb for a gallery installation for the exhibition "Migrating Gestures" taking place at the UWM Union Art Gallery from January 25th to March 5th 2021.

Due to the restrictions put in place on who, how, and when people could go to the gallery to experience the installation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to release the music on this platform in an attempt to share my contribution to this very inspired and powerful collaborative piece with folks who were not able to experience the installation in its final form and fully realized expression.

This recording is free/pay-what-you-wish. The piece is 23 minutes long and I hope listeners can read about the collaborative project below and perhaps imagine the installation, or even find your own experience and/or expression of gesture in the work you're hearing. Any way in which you approach this music, I hope you enjoy and I sincerely thank you for spending time with it. I of course thank Maria, Nirmal and Portia for being wonderful collaborators and creative voices, and to the UWM Union Art Gallery for facilitating the space to install this work.

The following was the information printed on the gallery placard:

Migration of Gestures
Media Installation and Still Life: Portia Cobb, Maria Gillespie, Nirmal Raja
Music Composition and Performance: Barry Paul Clark
Video Montage Editing: Christal Wagner

Migration of Gestures is an interdisciplinary collaboration between artists Maria Gillespie, Nirmal Raja and Portia Cobb. This work experiments with gestures as embodied inscriptions embedded in their discrete practices. Through a cyclical process of a daily call and response, the artists created one-minute works. They contemplated and activated these movements and mark-makings as migrations among and across each of their mediums. The intersections between the artists and their works reveal their hand in shaping a visual lexicon born from their singular practices. The result is a visual conversation among artists separated by the pandemic, revealing connections across their forms. Each call and response illuminates a shared influence making its presence in each work, independent but not isolated.

Composer Barry Paul Clark created the music by watching, performing, and recording his response to the visual and movement gestures of Cobb, Gillespie and Raja. Clark utilized both analog and synthesized instruments in improvised performance and audio sampling, as well as drone composition and random sequence generation.

The installation also includes an object archive as a document of this exchange. Scholar Brian Massumi frames an object as “an abstraction from its becoming”. One can view the video installation as documenting the process of becoming and the objects as abstractions of what has passed and what is yet to come.


released March 5, 2021


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adoptahighway Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Classically trained experimental electronic musician Barry Paul Clark (bassist in Field Report, Tontine Ensemble, Lady Cannon, Argopelter, Tony Catania Trio, RETROREFLECTOR, Oak You + more)

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