High Concept Labs- Like a Museum MishMash
The open house at the High Concept Lab was like a combination of the museum of science and industry, the MCA, and Constellations. Eclectic, High Concept Labs looks for artists of various disciplines to sponsor and provide a space for them to work while providing support in of achieving an artist designed project goal. High Concept Lab’s most recent open house was an opportunity for recent and current residents to exhibit both finished and works in progress.
As we walked in, we were subjected to an audiovisual collage that reminds me of an even more surrealistic Willie Wonka's chocolate room, with booths and nooks filled with all a plethora of delights consisting of various interactive installations, and throughout the evening were programmed various performances, including musical and dance.
Stimulating Range of Art and Performance
Installations ranged from a sculpted mountain of what appeared to be “flesh” surrounded by small abstract sailboats to computer station with headphones, mouse and keyboard in which audience members could explore a post-apocalyptic virtual environment complete with realistic physical modeling of the sonic space.
In the current culture of modern art, many installations now offer an opportunity for audience participation. The evening's event raised a question for this writer regarding interaction vs. performance: Where is the line? The opening act installation offered numerous bells, shakers, and even a children’s’ vibraphone the audience could play which would then be captured via microphone and manipulated/processed by sound artist Cinchel into his morphing ethereal soundscape. It was interesting to listen for the connections between what went into the microphone and what came back later. Other especially memorable performances included a hip hop inspired violin/percussionist duet, Cirqua Rivera Dance Theatre, and a solo experimental dance performance based on unique and unusual moves.
The total list of participating artists at the HCL 2017 Spring Open House include:
About the Author
Brad Robin composes and conducts music in a multitude of styles for soloists and ensembles ranging from jazz band to contemporary chamber groups and orchestras. Compositions have also included a computer component designed to manipulate and augment naturally occurring environmental sounds, as well as those of acoustic instruments. As a pianist and keyboardist, he composes and performs music for dance, theatre, film and multimedia performance art. In addition to the United States, his music has been performed in Croatia, Mexico and New Zealand. Having completed a PhD in Music Composition from the University of North Texas and Master's degree in music composition at DePaul University, he currently resides in Chicago with his wife Nicole and continues his studies at Northwestern University.
All photos by Tingyu Huang.