Alison O’Daniel “Room Tone”

Knockdown Center

poster for Alison O’Daniel “Room Tone”
[Image: Alison O’Daniel "The Tuba Thieves" (still), (2013-2016) HD video. Courtesy the artist.]

This event has ended.

Art in General presents Room Tone by Alison O’Daniel as part of its New Commissions program, which centers on developing and exhibiting new and challenging work by artists at a pivotal point in their practice. This project will take place at The Knockdown Center and it is Art in General’s first partnership with the Maspeth-based institution. The exhibition title refers to the moment on a film set when crew and actors pause in order for the sound mixer and boom operator to record room tone, the subtle location-specific sound present in every space. Weaving narrative between film segments and object-making, O’Daniel will create a layered and immersive installation. Based on collaborations with three contemporary composers, Steve Roden, Christine Sun Kim, and Ethan Frederick Greene, O’Daniel builds a visual, aural, and haptic vocabulary through varying levels of access to information such as color, sound, and storyline.

The exhibition will include new elements from O’Daniel’s long-term film project The Tuba Thieves, made in the wake of a recent rash of tuba robberies in Southern California schools. The film draws together fictional recreations of actual events surrounding the students, band directors, and school communities who must reconcile with missing sound following the thefts. This narrative is interrupted and shaped by the reverberations of two historic concerts: the 1952 premiere of John Cage’s 4’33” at the Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, NY and a 1979 punk concert hosted by Bruce Conner at The Deaf Club in San Francisco, as well as other referential interludes. Reversing the typical process wherein a composer responds to filmic imagery, here O’Daniel builds visual sequences based on listening. The screenplay is made in response to commissioned musical scores by the three composers who were given initial prompts by the artist, including drawings by Sophie Tauber Arp and a Zamboni driver’s looping path as a map for minimal music. These materials that served as starting points for developing the film score also initiated the sculptural components within the exhibition installation.

O’Daniel’s engagement with different mediums is a type of call-and-response, building upon and transforming the specific language of one onto another. Experimental and documentary film collapse and coincide with sculpture and installation, in a collaborative process that highlights the inevitable loss or re-creation of information as it passes through various channels. The presentation purposefully disables audience members’ normative perception of events and materials in order to present new modes of listening and seeing. Emphasizing subjects’ relationship to silence or unavailable sonic elements, Room Tone draws on O’Daniel’s own experience as a hard-of-hearing artist. The project’s form of exploded storytelling results in a performative arc that is less reliant on traditional script structure and more on physical choreography and collaboration. The audience is guided through narrative holes, unknowns, and missing parts in order to engage in a process of deep listening that aims to extend far beyond the aural realm.

Alison O’Daniel was born in Miami, FL and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. In 2010, she received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She holds a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and a Post Graduate diploma of Fine Art from Goldsmith’s College, London. She most recently presented Centennial Marching Band Forwards, Backwards, Pause, Silent, a collaborative performance with the Compton-based Centennial High School Marching Band at Art Los Angeles Contemporary (2016). She has been featured in solo exhibitions at Samuel Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles (2013) and the Centre d’Art Contemporain Passerelle, Brest (2015). O’Daniel’s feature-length film Night Sky premiered at the Anthology Film Archive in conjunction with Performa 11 as part of the Walking Forward-Running Past show at Art in General, and has been presented with live musical or Sign Language accompaniment at venues including The Aspen Museum of Art, MOCAD (Detroit), NYU, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and High Desert Test Sites. Writing on O’Daniel’s work has appeared in Artforum, The L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, and ArtReview. O’Daniel has received grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Art Matters, the Franklin Furnace Fund, and the California Community Foundation.
Founded in 1981, Art in General is a nonprofit organization that assists artists with the production and presentation of new work. It changes in response to the needs of artists and informs and engages the public about their work. Art in General currently supports the production of new work by local and international artists through its New Commissions Program and its International Collaborations program with numerous arts organizations around the world. It also produces an annual symposium titled What Now? on critical and timely issues in artistic and curatorial practice.

Performances: The Deaf Club featuring Future Punx, Wall, and ASL storytellers. Thursday, April 28, 7:30-11pm



from March 26, 2016 to May 08, 2016
Gallery hours: Thursdays-Fridays: 5-9pm, Saturdays-Sundays: 2-6pm.

Opening Reception on 2016-03-25 from 18:30 to 20:30

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