Screens and Scores, Corridors

As part of a monthly art happening (among other things) Klanghaus has been really fun. This month’s event was called Screens and Scores.

Curated in collaboration with Victoria Perenyi, this will be an evening of film screenings and live music. We’ve selected several pieces by local video artists and assigned them to composers, who in response will create an original score to be performed live in conjunction with the selected film’s screening. Like every Klanghaus event, this evening is about the collaboration between artists of different mediums and breaking apart traditional curatorial formats in order to create an intimate evening of creative exploration. -fb event description

program

“Corridors” Katarina Countiss

score by Zachary Hazen

featuring Debbie Gold, Kyle Beard, Dani Robison, and Zachary Hazen.

 

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Memorial Service Program Cover

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The morning after my dad died, we gathered around the living room and talked about what needs to be done for the service. I designed this program cover. I drew these plumerias. Something about two of a thing, it makes me think of my special relationship with my dad. It wasn’t his favorite flower, but it’s a beautiful white flower that represents peace.

programcover (pdf)

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Study of Sunset with Wildflowers

I went to Carrizo Plain with some dear friends April 8. We arrived at sunset. We enjoyed the the Wildflower Super Bloom 2017. Here are the results/byproducts of the continuing study.

 

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Franklin Woods Community Hospital Drawings

I flew out to Tennessee to see my father in the hospital. I arrived early Monday morning. I enjoyed spending these days with my dad and his loved ones. I appreciated the nurses and other staff. I brought my markers with me and procured some printer paper. I made drawings and taped them on my dad’s overbed food tray table that was at the foot of his bed.

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Study of Sunset with Wildflowers

I drove from Knoxville to Johnson City. It took about two hours. I had coffee and borrowed Auntie Lisa’s car. As I drove along the highway a little after midnight, I passed many of those box trucks doing their deliveries. The moon was yellow at first and it reminded me of what my aunt said about what my dad looked like so I wouldn’t be surprised. She described his jaundice and water weight. The moon became white in appearance and it would dance in and out of my windshield as I drove towards my father.

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Study of Sunset with Wildflowers

I’ve been doing a lot of these studies with sunset with wildflowers. In this drawing, I was interested in that idea of two perspectives of realities meeting. My dad lay in bed and occasionally his arms would come up like he was leading an orchestra and was about to start directing. Terryl, my dad’s sweetie, said that was from the toxins interacting with his other brain chemicals causing Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder.

At this point, he wasn’t able to get up. The urine bag was connected to a plastic box with a clear front. His urine on display. I looked it up just now and tried to match the color with my memory. It wasn’t a healthy yellow but more like PANTONE 17-1563 TCX Cherry Tomato. It was a pretty color.

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Coladog Startling Butterflies

One of my favorite memories with my dad. We were biking the Appalachian Trail (Appalachia: The Pronunciation Matters) with our dog Cola who came across a bunch of lil blue butterflies and they fluttered all around him.

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Watching for the Green Flash

I was born and raised in Hawaii. Dad would point to the horizon at sunset and tell us to watch for the Green flash. I remember distinctly seeing it just once. When I was maybe 4 or 5 from our pouch in the mountains with a view of the horizon in the distance past the city. When I was about to reveal this drawing to Jenny (my oldest sister) and Terryl, they enthusiastically remembered my dad’s fondness of seeing the green flash or at least looking for it when possible.

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Watauga Lake

My dad loved sailing. He was part of a sailing club and so was his first cousins. He crewed on a boat called Changes In Attitude.

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Kalihi Valley

Verily, with its rank luxuriance of vines and blossoms, its groves of forest trees, its shady nooks and grassy lawns, its crystal brook and its wild and beautiful mountain scenery, with that charming far-off glimpse of the sea, Kalihi is the Valley of Enchantment come again!

Source: Mark Twain in Sacramento Union – #11

The first home I remember with my family. In this beautiful valley, we would take drives through mountain tunnels, hold our breaths and make wishes. Driving by the mountains, there are slivers, random single thread tinsel of waterfalls.

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Plumeria

There was a Plumeria tree by the pool in our apartment building where dad would do laps. He wore one of those tiny speedo swimsuit– uh, swim pieces?– that always made him seem extra devoted to the act of swimming. I had to remind Terryl multiple times what these flowers are called. I guess Dad never talked about them. They are beautiful flowers used to make leis with an unforgettable scent. When I smell a scent at a candle store or in the aromatherapy aisle at Whole Foods, I’m transported to my childhood.

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Bird of Paradise

Terryl reminded me that Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) was/is Dad’s favorite flower. I was working on this during Dad’s last concert. He loved Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

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Ho‘Okena Beach Park

I asked Terryl, “where is your favorite place with dad?” She told the story of the time she and dad went to the Big Island and spotted a pod of Spinner Dolphins and rushed out to swim with them. Terryl loves this drawing. I made this drawing the day my dad breathed his last breath.

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Find the Fountain, audio explorations

playlist-first10

 

To talk about these tracks separately might have helped the curious see the explorations that I have achieved through Adobe Premiere Pro and the simple interface and mechanics of nesting and layering. Alas, I don’t take great notes and tend to get excited and improvise and impulsively copy and paste, making the process obscured by randomness.

With these videos, I’m doing visual and audio explorations. Techniques with visual: turbulence, distort, tint, contrast and brightness, magnify, and blending modes. In most of them, I repeat a one minute video.

Audio explorations: I use field recordings (using a binaural microphone mostly, but there’s a hydrophone–mono that I also use). I worked with performers: David Samas, Dani Robison, Cory Harrison to get some sounds from real instruments in less controlled environments (there’s a bird or two in the tracks). I also play a few. In this playlist, there is a calimba, glass harp, double bass, clarinet, xylophone, and piano. There are tracks with rain, water, and rattle sounds. There’s one track with soft-spoken gibberish and another with singing gibberish.

For the distortion of the tracks. Some sounds are slowed down (never sped up). Some when I slow them down I maintain the pitch. Some of the clips are clipped down to a single note (or phoneme) and others I let go and you hear more of the improvisation of the performers.

Planning, I generally have an idea of what I want to find out. No, sometimes, I just like surprising myself. I recently had a composing lesson that covered cypher notation using numbers (used in gamelan, but other things too, I imagine). It makes sense for me because I’m really unconcerned with pitch at this point and just want to create intervals. Also it’s way easier to read, write, and translate than dots on lines. In some of the tracks, one can hear the four bars of four counts. With three others doing half notes and then whole notes (or whatever, just the idea of different paces).

I found that: it feels more coherent when I use fewer instruments and when I map out how the track will go on paper before opening the app, I’m more ready to decide something is done than slapping on other stuff. I think the star of this playlist is the glass harp. The notes are sustained in such a way that create a limitlessness to it. Unlike percussion that is hit, or wind instruments, the glass harp (with two hands and some water) can be sustained for longer with a same volume. There’s a beating that I find irresistible and organic.

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Two Volumes of Coloring

I was at the The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse and found a sketchbook that is the exact right size for zine pages. I created over 40 drawings for two volumes of a coloring book. I divided them into two books, one titled “This Bequest of Wings” and the other, “The Grass Divides as with a Comb”. Lately I’ve been enjoying making the titles of things from Emily Dickinson poems. They are so lyrical and feel very contemporary still.

For sale (or was) at Dog Eared Books. They are an interesting bookstore because they buy their zines outright, and they only took one of each, so if they are still there, what a treat!

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Making Your Plants Meditate, a Workshop

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How this came about: I was walking around in Oakland and I read a sandwich board sign with a bunch of workshop titles. I thought it said Making Your Plant Meditate. I thought that would be cool and funny. It was Making Your Plant Medicine, but I decided to see if there was interest for the Plant Meditation workshop anyway.

When I went to drop off the zine with the event outline in it, Justin Carder of E.M. WOLFMAN asked me if I wanted to host a workshop and I was like yeah, ok, makes sense. Surrogate Plants Provided By Oakland.Secret

I had this idea that I would invite some people to perform in between exercises pieces 10-15 minutes long. This was my first event like that and I’m grateful for the people who worked with me on this and to Ben Unger for sound engineering the event.

 

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above is a still from the only visual documentation from the event @movementstudy on Instagram: “performed some movement to accompany some sounds at plant meditation workshop hosted by @katcountiss 2day 🌱”

~~event description~~

 

E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore

410 13th St, Oakland, CA 94612

Saturday, March 18th, 2:30-4:30pm

Suggested Donation $5-$10 (proceeds to artists)

Commemorative workbook for sale

 

We are thrilled to host the first Making Your Plants Meditate workshop, featuring live performances by Plant Meditators

 

~~~

 

NEW TO PLANT MEDITATION?

Do plants meditate? Do they want to meditate? Do they want? Plant meditation is a highly speculative field and we will begin to explore through mindfulness and experimentation.

 

~~~

 

OUTLINE OF THE WORKSHOP

A condensed version of the 6-week course, this workshop aims to begin the process of creating a practice between human attendees and plants that expands definitions and liberates paradigms– with a focus on sound and language.

 

Bring your plant. Surrogate plants will also be available.

We start on time, so please arrive 10-15 minutes early.

 

Below is the copy from the zine that can be used for future workshops and you can try it at home!

Relax your:

roots shoots stems leaves stamen anthers ovules fruits flowers seeds nodes stomatas veins buds axils pedicels bracts bracteoles sepals petals perianths tepals corollas hypanthiums nectaries androceiums gynoeciums filaments pistils stigmas pollens styles alates bark branches bulbs cladodes corms cuticles lenticels prickles rhizomes scandents piths stolons tendrils thorns tubers petioles and stipules

 

Draw your companion plant

Draw an imaginary plant

 

Group Exercise: Calming – Focus: thought and disassociation

Goals: Through language ~ creating new thoughts ~ repetition leading to clarity

Action:

  1. List seven words/phrases on the tear-offs.
  2. Tear them off and take one of them and pass the rest to your left
  3. Pick one from the pile you receive and pass to the left
  4. Repeat until you have seven word/phrases
  5. Say them out loud or silently, repeat through a specified time duration (ex. 1 min, 5 min, 10 min).
  6. Mix them up and find the order that resonates with you.
  7. Share

 

Exercise: Listening and Consent – Focus: friendship

Goals: By practicing patience, gentleness and consent, we become better companions. By listening through different devices, our perceptions shift, creating room for new paradigms.

Action:

  1. Focus on the plant. Feel its presence. Can you receive? Does it want to be engaged with you? Let’s practice “no”s. Pretend you received a “no” biev. That’s fine. Look down, bow, and back away slowly.
  2. Focus on the plant. Feel its presence? Proceed to attach a contact microphone (or some other device you would like to use). Observe its textures and sounds.

 

Exercise: B. e .  a . t  . – Focus: Rhythm and Energy

Goals: Using time intervals, we create boundaries like play pens. We are able to explore a kind of controlled carefreeity in this newfound space.

Action:

  1. Listen to some tracks with beats, or no beats.
  2. Feel time passing in these measured intervals.
  3. Imagine using these set times again and again. What would you do?
  4. Write out some times, perhaps use the minutes and seconds that you’ll do something on piece(s) of paper.
  5. Write out something that you’ll do. Shout, whisper, speak, read, play, dance, feel.

 

Exercise: Scales and Scores- Focus: Map to Ritual

Goals: With materials and elements listed, we may dream how they fit together on a page using fresh notation systems/ text/ graphic/ etc.

Action:

  1. Brainstorm some elements: mood, time, spectrum (scale, what do you want to use to create a variety of a thing?), materials, spatial exploration
  2. Create a time duration and consider using a time grid or another way to notate time.
  3. Plot out what you want to happen when.
  4. Try it out. Feel free to write parts for other people in the workshop.

 

Exercise: Observation -Focus: memory

Goals: We experince the world every day. Taking notes allows what we perceive through are senses to marinate as we experience other things. Writing is a way of seasoning how we move through memory.

Action:

  1. What have you been thinking about lately? Take this ten minutes to write it out. Let yourself observe yourself without editing (you can do that later).
  2. (Later) Review what you’ve written and lightlyte what seems worth thinking about some more.

 

Exercise: Create Your Own Experiments – Focus: Process

Goals: Scientists use experiments to develop their understanding of change over time. Allow yourself to wonder about what if. By approaching experiments in a minimalist mindset (aka doing something boring) you might find ideas come to you in that calmness.

Action:

  1. List out contexts for your practice. Consider: materials, action, proof of concept, variables, duration, theme, role models, allies, and a deadline.

 

Video

zinemypm <- read this for the bios of the musicians for the March 18th workshop and thanks again to  E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore in Oakland, CA. The audio has been unedited. The creaking you’ll hear is from the rustic floorboards. Featuring: Dani Robison, c a a s i l k, Dan Gottwald, Cassidy Barnes, and Elana Chavez.

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