[Dec 16] Composition, notations and score for live audiovisual performance

With Benton-C Bainbridge, Adam Kendall, Katherine Liberovskaya and Andrea Parkins, moderated by Ana Carvalho. A series of four presentations around composition within live audiovisual performance as documentation of the process of development. The event will develop from the presentations towards the discussion of purposes in structuring and organizing the elements (sound and image) and the dialogues between performers, and to describe tension and dynamics.

Composition, notations and score for live audiovisual performance

Sunday, 16th December 2012, 2 to 6pm.

An evening of presentations, by artists, to artists, followed by a discussion and an open session of Q&A., Artists presentation and discussion moderated by: Ana Carvalho

Presented by: Benton-C Bainbridge, Adam Kendall, Katherine Liberovskaya and Andrea Parkins.

Harvestworks – www.harvestworks.org
596 Broadway, #602 | New York, NY 10012 | Phone: 212-431-1130
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleeker

A series of four presentations around composition within live audiovisual performance as documentation of the process of development. The event will develop from the presentations towards the discussion of purposes in structuring and organizing the elements (sound and image) and the dialogues between performers, and to describe tension and dynamics. The process of composing takes form as (an)notation and as scores.

In the presentations and further discussion, the Intermedia features of composition will be highlighted, feeding into the possibilities in live audiovisual performance from several time-based artistic practices it relates to.

These presentations are of interest of artists work within Intermedia, composers (in a broad sense), sound artists, video makers, visualists, VJs, performers, dancers, but not exclusively, and in general to those interested in notations and scores within live audiovisual performance.

The Intermedia contemporary arts described as live audiovisual performance are of an improvisational and collaborative nature: an environment of dialogue in the moment. The expression is ephemeral and requires the presence of both the artist and the audience. The moment is very often registered, allowing a look back into what it was. This event is focused in the documentation of the process of development towards a performance and in composition and scores as an output from this process.

Notations have been used especially in music composition either for the artist to structure her or his own performance, to play collaboratively and to make accessible to others to play. What was perceived as music composition has changed dramatically during the 1950s, moving away from the classic rules of composition towards more intuitive and personal approach (the influence of John Cage’s work is here relevant). The work of several composers show that notations can encompass improvisation, as is the case of several works by Cornelious Cardieu. Notations are also developed from other processes of work as is the case of Phill Niblock.

In other arts, notations have also served a purpose, they have been widely used as a document related to performance since early Fluxus. On the intersection of the arts, some examples cam be highlighted as the notations for music and architecture by Iannis Xenakis.

In the presentations and further discussion, the Intermedia features of composition will be highlighted, feeding into the possibilities in live audiovisual performance from several time-based artistic practices it relates to.

Some introductory topics for discussion

  • Defining needs, intentions and purposes of notations in live audiovisual performance.
  • What connections can be established between ephemeral practices, that allow further knowledge on the possibilities for notation within live audiovisual performance?
  • Name examples that can describe different approaches, from our own experience or from others experience.
  • Presentation and dissemination of notations.
  • Do artists consider the re-enactment and re-performance of their work?
  • Hos can focus on process change and diversify the audiovisual creative landscape?
  • What may be, in the present and in future, the possibility of such documents and will they allow other artists to re-performance?

A copy of the publication, published by Greyscale Press, will be delivered to all attendees to the presentation and discussion.


Benton-C Bainbridge


As a teen making his first super 8 films while studying piano, Benton-C Bainbridge doubted he would ever master keys if he had to wait a week to get his rehearsals back from the lab. Benton-C thus dived head first into realtime electronic cinema, launching a decades-long exploration into ways that audiovisuals can be played like a visual form of music. Along the way, Bainbridge has co-founded live media performance ensembles, co-composing works that were performed dozens of times. Bainbridge will relate his personal history of composing and scoring for A/V Performance, sharing his conclusions and looking forward to next steps for scoring visual media.

Benton-C Bainbridge is a media artist based in The Bronx. Working with custom systems of his own design, Bainbridge creates immersive environments, interactive installations and video performances. Early influences like Expanded Cinema and Nam June Paik’s networked TV performances convinced him that motion pictures could be played, like a visual form of music. Working with other artists, he has composed, scored and performed many suites of a/v songs. He has collaborated with scores of artists around the world, co-founding the A/V Performance Ensembles 77 Hz, The Poool, NNeng, Lord Knows Compost and Stackable Thumb.

Bainbridge has shown in venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, American Museum of the Moving Image, The Kitchen (NYC), EMPAC (Troy, NY), the American Museum of Natural History, SFMoMA (San Francisco), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Dallas Video Festival, Boston Cyberarts Festival, Mercat des les Flors (Barcelona), LUX2006 (Sevilla), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Roma), Sonic Light (Amsterdam), Wien Moderne (Vienna), Inventionen (Berlin), Teatro Colón CETC (Buenos Aires), CELCIT (Managua), International Horticultural Expo (Xi’an, China), Korean Festival (Seoul), Good Vibrations (Australia), and MTV Networks (global).

Currently, Benton-C Bainbridge is salvaging obsolete video tech to make hi-touch media installations. Glowing Pictures (Benton-C Bainbridge and V Owen Bush) is launching the Dubspot Visual Program in early 2013.

Ana Carvalho


The concept for this presentation is grounded on an interest on the practical use of composition and scores as means to register an audiovisual performance that connects the process of making with the memory of the event. 

With a focus on visual communication, Ana Carvalho extends her interests across areas of knowledge, feeding a strong curiosity about everything. Central areas of research are identity (collective and individual) and memory construction.

Her contribute to live audiovisual performance, as a group of intermedia practices, has a very strong collaborative component, visible in projects that combine theory with practice, curatorial actions with the creation of new contexts. Since 2004 she has been performing under several personae, experimenting and improvising with technology and everyday life objects and subjects. Since 2005 she has been co-editor of VJ Theory, a community interested in publishing (online, print and digital format) theory in development that informs and is informed by practice.

Ana Carvalho teaches at the Instituto Superior da Maia, in Portugal, and develops research on documentation for live audiovisual performance.

Adam Kendall


Adam Kendall has explored video notation techniques that might facilitate visual composition comparable in detail and scope to music composition.  He’s documented what he believes are common criteria that universal video notation needs to address, and he’s developed personal approaches for his own compositions for live and studio-based performative video.  Stemming from his artistic approach and his use of midi-keyboards as video instruments, Kendall’s personal technique involves repurposing existing notations — Adapting music notation, and using actual written language for its underlying rhythms, gestures and phrasing (not the literal meaning of the words).  Kendall’s presentation will include what he believes are core issues for developing viable universal notation, his own notation, and excerpts of pieces in which he’s used his techniques.

Adam Kendall is a videoist and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. He treats video as a medium capable of detailed, structured composition and dynamic, improvisational performances. Adam regularly performs and screens pieces solo and in various collaborations, including the multimedia project Toys’ Opera, and has presented or performed at SEAMUS 2011 (Miami, FL), ICMC 2010 (Stony Brook, NY), Contour Editions (Online), and New York City venues Galapagos, (le) Poisson Rouge, The Firehouse Space, and Diapason Gallery. He is a 2012 Harvestworks Artist-in-Residence, and other 2012 projects include working with the new-music ensembles Le Train Bleu (NYC) and Fuse (DC). He has organized a/v performance series and workshops, including {R}ake, and is a software developer who incorporates his own programming in his work.

Katherine Liberovskaya


Liberovskaya will talk about several of her personal collaborative A/V projects with composers and sound artists. She will explain how most of these – some one-time only performances, others on-going projects since many years – can be related to the musical genre of structured improvisation both from the point of view of sound and of visuals. She will address the notation or other strategies she and her collaborators have used to tentatively fix certain intersections of video and audio around loose structures during performances.

Katherine Liberovskaya is a video/media artist based in Montreal and NewYork. Involved in experimental video since the 80s, she has produced numerous videos, video installations and performances shown at various events and venues around the world. Since 2001 her work predominantly focuses on collaborations with composers and sound artists notably in live video+sound performance where her live visuals seek to create improvisatory “music” for the eyes. Frequent collaborators include Phill Niblock, Al Margolis/If,Bwana, Zanana, Kristin Norderval, Hitoshi Kojo, David Watson, David First and o.blaat (Keiko Uenishi). Recent projects have involved: Shelley Hirsch, Chantal Dumas, Leslie Ross, Richard Garet and Dorit Chrysler. Concurrently she curates and organizes the Screen Compositions evenings at Experimental Intermedia, NYC, since 2005 and the OptoSonic Tea live A/V series with Ursula Scherrer at Diapason, NYC, since 2006.

Andrea Parkins


Parkins considers her work to be intermedia by implication, as she consciously enacts audible events in relationship to physical impetus/gesture; strives to make visible the connection of architecture/acoustical environment to sonic resolution; and uses sound-generating objects as remnants of autobiographical archive and/or clues to speculative narrative. There is also a visual relationship between the objects/instruments that she employs and their potential to “sound” (whether or not they actually do this).

What kinds of scores might emerge for works constructed via the above concepts, processes and materials? And how have they functioned in the context of intermedia collaboration (most recently with choreographers and video artists)? Parkins’ presentation will address what is necessarily a relational engagement: a lively discussion leading to the sharing of sketchbooks — writing, audio recordings, images – and many iterations of live performance scenarios, editing sessions, presenting varying solutions that are all aspects of  “work-in-progress.” The end result is the score  — often text-based and color-coded, with a few notated pitches sprinkled throughout, plus room for structured improvisation:  a document of process and a personal performance guide, an artifact more than it is a map for re-enaction.

Andrea Parkins is a NYC-based composer, sound artist, and performer who engages with interactive electronics as both material and process, and is known for her uniquely gestural/textural approach on her electric accordion and customized live-sound processing. Parkins’ audio works have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Kitchen, Experimental Intermedia; the 1st International Sound Art Festival, Mexico City; Cyberfest in St. Petersburg; and NEXT in Bratislava.  Her work has been published by Important Records, Atavistic, and Creative Sources; and has received support from American Composers Forum, NYSCA, Meet The Composer, the French American Cultural Exchange, Harvestworks, and the Frei und Hanseastadt Hamburg Kulturbehoerde.

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