[Dec 20] Christina Wheeler’s The Magical Garden: A Project Presentation & Concert

Christina Wheeler’s The Magical Garden is a five-part, multimedia performance/generative installation project, utilizes audio, video, and an LED light installation to present a multi-episodic, fantasy-narrative in an organic setting for all-ages audiences. Within a technological context, a fantastic narrative follows five anthropomorphized creatures trapped in a mythic garden searching for freedom. Multimedia creates the garden’s magic with modern technology, in a performance integrated with generative software that recombines the live material to continue its iteration as an ongoing, generative installation.

Tuesday December 20 2016 @ 7 pm 

Harvestworks 596 Broadway #602 New York NY 10012


Phone: 212-431-1130 Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R to Prince, #6, to Bleecker

The Magical Garden is a five-part, multi-media performance and generative installation project utilizing audio, video, and LED lighting installation in a multi-episodic, fantasy-narrative, organic setting to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages (including children), backgrounds, and cultures. Within the context of cutting-edge technology, a fantastic narrative unfolds, following the quest of five anthropomorphized creatures trapped in a mythical garden searching for ostensible escape and freedom. The multi-media presentation format creates the “magic” of the garden in a modern, technological context that is transportive for all audience members, both in the initial performance, as well as in an installation setting which recombines the performance materials utilizing generative software, so that audiences can continue to experience a new, unique performance of the original materials in real time in the installation space.

The first work-in-progress incarnation of this project was commissioned by Issue Project Room, New York for a concert presentation. This year, I was selected as a 2016 Artist-in-Residence at Harvestworks Media Center, New York. This residency grants studio time with Max/MSP/Jitter designer and programmer Matthew Ostrowski, who is working with me to complete the generative software needed to present the installation component of the project. This software development began during my 2013 Harvestworks Study Fellowship.

With the performance score for Part I completed, the first audio-visual concert presented, and the generative software being constructed, I would next like to iterate the project in its fully intended format, as a multi-media performance that regenerates into an ongoing sound/video/LED light installation afterwards. I would like to design the video and LED light space with a video artist and a light artist, and continue working with Matthew Ostrowski to create the generative software’s integrative functionality with the audio, video, and lights. Aesthetic decisions regarding recombining points in the various media’s linear expression must be determined so that the generative expression functions correctly techically and integratively, relative to the narrative.

I plan to install multiple, non-traditional video display surfaces created from various cloth shapes that would surround the audience, plus a similarly immersive LED light array. I would like to continue to present this performance/installation piece in collaboration with different artists in difference venues around the world, eventually in the organic environment of actual gardens, either outdoors or constructed indoors.

For much of my professional career as an electronic artist, my work has been engaged with the conundrum of the seeming perfection of the linearity of the binary, in combination with the irregularity of human touch and expression, and what happens in the middle space when these two worlds combine, conflate, and collapse together. The seeming randomness of generative art is further compelling for me in the possibilities for structure that can be organized with deliberate composition, and the experience of the infinite that can occur when a program continues to generate seemingly new material that is carefully and deliberately organized. The opportunity to create an elegantly composed, immersive and transportive art experience continues to inspire me to this day.

•       BIOS
Composer, vocalist, multi-instrumental electronic musician, and multi-media artist
Christina Wheeler’s sonic explorations have included forays in a myriad of styles and forms. She blends an amalgam of improvised electronic music from an array sources: processed vocals, vocal loops, hand-triggered sampler, theremin, Q-chord, autoharp, electric mbira, and glass armonica. A graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges and Manhattan School of Music, she has performed and recorded with many artists, including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Chaka Khan, Vernon Reid, John Cale, Laraaji, Abdou Mboup, Priest/HPrizm, Greg Tate, Satch Hoyt, Jamie Lidell, DJ Olive, Marc Ribot, Zeena Parkins, Murcof, John Carter, Fred Hopkins, and Andrea Parkins. Her featured work with David Byrne included international tours and television appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, and PBS’s Sessions at West 54th Street. MTV’s AMP featured her music. She has also performed at New York’s Lincoln Center and Berlin’s Philharmonie. She has collaborated with choreographers Sally Silvers and Jodi Melnick. Recent recording collaborators include Fred P, Benjamin Brunn, Ripperton, and Shinedoe. She is a 2016 Artist in Residency at Harvestworks Media Arts Center, New York, to develop technology for her multi-media performance/generative installation project, The Magical Garden. Now, she is recording an album, Songs of S + D, finishing post-production for another, Tres Es un Número Mágico, and composing new work for the glass armonica. She has presented as a visiting instructor at California State University Long Beach, Bard College Berlin, and NYU Berlin.

Programmer Matthew Ostrowski is a New York City native who has been creating art with electronic and digital media for over twenty years, having worked as a composer, performer and installation artist, exploring work with music, multimedia, video and theater. Using digital tools and formalist techniques to engage with quotidian materials — sonic, physical, and cultural – Ostrowski’s work explores the liminal space between the virtual and phenomenological worlds.

His work ranges from live electronic performance to installations incorporating video, multichannel sound, and computer-controlled objects. Ostrowski has collaborated with a large number of artists in the US and abroad, including David Behrman, John Butcher, Diamanda Galás, Nicolas Collins, Anne LaBerge, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, and many others. He was composer-in-residence for the MacArthur-award winning choreographer Elizabeth Streb, and has designed interactive technologies for performing and fine artists ranging from Laurie Anderson to Martha Rosler. He regularly performs in the duo KRK, with Prague-based contrabassist George Cremaschi, and with R. Luke Dubois in the multimedia duo Fair Use.

Most recently, he has presented Negative Differential Resistance Nº 3, a generative composition for fluorescent lights, at Creative Technology Week in New York City, and Western Electric Nº 1, for robotically-controlled rotary phones, at the IDIO gallery in Brooklyn.

“Her voice floats, her sense of humor respects no boundaries, she owns lots of electronic gadgets, and she’s got potential as a cross-over artist…”—Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
“…Christina Wheeler’s outstanding take on selections from [David Byrne’s] The Forest.”—David Sprague, Billboard
“…Christina Wheeler is…an amalgam of organic and digital music…”—Mike Bruno, New York Metropolis

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