Transient Project Residency
Transient is a collaboration project with ArtsATL and curated by Michael Kauffman to support musicians and composers who place a particular emphasis on the narratives presented between and behind songs.
AIR Serenbe and ArtsATL are excited to announce their collaborative effort to host a series of residencies at AIR Serenbe. The project residencies, Transient, will support musicians and composers who place a particular emphasis on the narratives presented between and behind songs. “At AIR Serenbe we are always looking for dynamic ways to showcase the process stories behind finished works,” says AIR Serenbe executive director Brandon Hinman. “We are focused on how the threads of process in a particular form — in this case, music — show up in the final manifestation of a piece. In line with our ongoing investment in artists who are using story as and through performance — from song to spoken word, from lyricism to lecture — we are pleased to announce the Transient Project Residency with ArtsATL as a timely and innovative addition to our program.”
The residencies will provide time and space for rest, research, reflection and work. In addition, the organizations will present a performance and conversation at AIR Serenbe or in metro Atlanta, as well as intimate video portraits of each visiting artist, to be published on ArtsATL. “ArtsATL is thrilled to release this new series of content in collaboration with AIR Serenbe,” says ArtsATL executive editor Laura Relyea. “By providing insight into these composer’s different creative processes, we hope to inspire and arouse conversation about the creative processes that lead to contemporary music works.”
To help bring this project into being, ArtsATL and AIR Serenbe recruited the aid of Michael Kaufmann, a cultural entrepreneur from Indianapolis with a rich background in city-building and artist management. His work, which operates at the intersection of cultural, economic and community development, works to empower others to create experiences of surprising beauty. Kaufmann has worked as a film archivist for the New York Public Library, a project manager for Indiana Humanities, and worked for over a decade as label manager for Asthmatic Kitty Records (Sufjan Stevens, Helado Negro, Julianna Barwick, My Brightest Diamond). Currently, Kaufmann works for the Health and Hospital Corporation as the vice president of Civic Investment, having spent the last six years supporting art and design, ecology and equitable livability initiatives for Eskenazi Health. He continues to manage musical artists including Son Lux, Hanna Benn and Oliver Blank. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to support the launch of the Transient Project Residency. It was important to me that we curated a diverse group of artists who are exploring their craft both in theory and practice. The group is not only diverse in background and musical style, but also in each of their unique ways of composing,” says Kaufmann. “I am confident this experience will not only enrich the residents, but also provide a musical legacy for the community of Serenbe and greater Atlanta area.”
MEET THE 2017 TRANSIENT ARTISTS
Rafiq Bhatia & Nina Moffitt
In residence may 1 - may 17, 2017
The music of composer, guitarist, and producer RAFIQ BHATIA seeks to reconcile meticulously sculpted sound art with risk-imbued improvisation, communicating earnest emotional intensity through labyrinthine sonic complexity. His early explorations, documented on two critically-acclaimed recordings – Strata and Yes It Will – have been described by the New York Times as “transcending real sound in real time with the unexpected,” and by the Washington Post as “approximat[ing] life in the information age…profuse, immersive and immense.”
In 2014, Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang joined founder Ryan Lott as members of Son Lux, expanding the former solo project into a trio. They have since been heralded as "the world's most lethal band" by NPR, and described as "thrilling... an ideal synthesis of contemporary forms" by the Wall Street Journal. In the past two years, Son Lux have written, recorded, and released an LP, Bones, and have given over 250 performances in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Bhatia has collaborated with singular, creative musicians across disciplines, including Olga Bell, Sam Dew, Dave Douglas, Billy Hart, Heems, Helado Negro, Vijay Iyer, Glenn Kotche, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Moses Sumney, David Virelles, and members of the chamber ensembles Alarm Will Sound, ICE, and JACK, among others. You can hear him on recordings featuring pop revisionists Lorde and Sufjan Stevens, and on the soundtracks to the films The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Air, and Afflicted.
NINA MOFFITT is an interpreter, an oral historian, and a vocalist. Her singing prioritizes emotional honesty and a desire to expand the role and boundaries of the voice as an instrument. Her style, repertoire and songwriting are informed by a vast web of influences, from Sarah Vaughan and Joni Mitchell to Mahalia Jackson and Stevie Wonder - all evidenced by incisive lyrical interpretation, soulful phrasing, and dramatic timbral shifts.
Named after Nina Simone, and the daughter of a pianist-composer, Nina's roots in sound took hold early in life. By the age of 12, she was leading her church congregation under her father's musical direction, and singing became her key vehicle for self expression. At Oberlin College, she earned her B.A. (with honors) in cultural anthropology, but spent equal time slipping into jazz classes, performing with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble, and studying classical technique at the Conservatory.
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Nina lives and performs there with her alternative R&B project TUTU and The Will Mason Ensemble, an avant-spectral jazz septet. She also collaborates with guitarist/composer Rafiq Bhatia and occasionally sings backup vocals with alt-pop outfit Son Lux.
Nina is currently working on new music that explores the manipulation of her voice in an experimental choir-like role.
OLIVER BLANK & ASHA JIMENEZ
IN RESIDENCE MAY 8 - JUNE 11, 2017
OLIVER BLANK is an English artist and designer. His artwork is about intimacy and affection in public, and his design projects focus on the prevention of suffering.
Coaxing his audience out of the quotidian, Oliver’s artwork induces unforgettable experiences that instill a shared romance and sense of community. Past installations include composing orchestral music for long forgotten buildings and hosting a phone-line that collects messages for lost loves and forgotten friendships. Oliver’s artwork has appeared across the world in countries including Japan, Mexico, Spain, Finland, and the USA, and venues including Tate Gallery, London's Design Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Oliver is the co-founder of Outside, a humanitarian design agency. He loves making things: civic things for nonprofits, cloud-based things for developing countries, thoughtful things for museums, useful things for communities in crisis. Previously Oliver was a design lead at Google Life Sciences and Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, and in the past he made things with Lego, Nokia, HP, Marvel Comics, and many others.
Oliver has collaborated with various NGOs and nonprofit organisations including IRC, UNICEF, UNHCR, Mercy Corps, and War Child. In 2015 Oliver led the design of Translation Cards: a tool enabling field workers and refugees to communicate more effectively. The app received an award for innovation from the United Nations.
In 2016, Oliver convened a team of designers one day after the US election. Four days later they launched RageDonate: a site that allows people to channel their rage into giving.
Canadian-Venezuelan artist ASHA JIMENEZ enjoys using the natural world as her muse, seeking to inspire people to reflect on our connection with the Earth. By combining visual, physical and experiential practices with her engineering background, Asha transforms the mundane into the extraordinary and in doing so reveals the terrestrial as cosmic.
Asha is enamored with the beauty of the Dominican Republic, and her documentary The Weight of Gold (2016) juxtaposes the idyllic locales of the island with haunting visuals of the loss and destruction caused by the mining industry. Her forthcoming installation, The Last Conservatory, is a multi-sensory experience that invites the audience to lie down on a bed of earth, which emanates passages of poetry and prose concerning nature collected from across the globe. By forcing the audience to physically connect with the natural world, Asha intends to reveal nature’s incredible therapeutic capacity.
Integrating her skills in engineering, Asha uses technology as a means to transcend the expected functions of everyday objects. In her recent collaboration with Oliver Blank, The Lady and the Stone (2017), the duo welcome audience members into an enchanted phone booth at an old hotel to share a cathartic experience and cast away a burden.
Having lived in Venezuela, Canada and the United States, Asha is a nomad by nature and is inspired by alternative living.
A. Jimenez bio courtesy of ArtsATL Laura Relyea
ROBERTO LANGE (HELADO NEGRO)
IN RESIDENCE JULY 4 - JULY 13, 2017
One of experimental electronic producer ROBERTO LANGE's numerous monikers, Helado Negro is a collaborative project associated with Asthmatic Kitty Records that made its album debut in 2009 with Awe Owe. Born in South Florida in 1980 of Ecuadorian heritage, Lange made his recording debut in the early 2000s, when he released music under a few different monikers, most notably ROM (a collaboration with drummer Matt Crum), Epstein, and Boom & Birds. The eponymous album ROM (2005) on Wimm Recordings is a compilation of Lange's collaborations with Crum dating back to 2000. He was most prolific as Epstein, releasing the full-length albums Puñal (2004), Gente Sin Pueblo (2005), Canto de Hermanos (2007), and Otros (2008); the former two on the label Botanica del Jibaro, the latter two on Arepaz. As Boom & Birds, he released the album Camino de Manos Chuecas (2005) on Arepaz.
After moving to Brooklyn, New York, in 2006, Lange began a fruitful collaboration with Guillermo Scott Herren, earning co-production credits on the Prefuse 73 releases The Class of 73 Bells (2007) and Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian (2009) on Warp Records, plus the Savath + Savalas album La Llama (2009) on Stones Throw. In the wake of these high-profile releases in collaboration with Herren, Lange made his album debut as Helado Negro with Awe Owe (2009) on Asthmatic Kitty. A highly collaborative effort, Awe Owe featured input from Herren, former ROMcollaborator Crum (also of Feathers), Jon Philpot (the frontman of Bear in Heaven), and numerous others. By contrast, Lange recorded Helado Negro's second album, 2011's Canta Lechuza ("Owl Singing") after holing up in a cabin in Connecticut. In 2012, Lange collaborated with Julianna Barwick as OMBRE, releasing the album Believe You Me. Invisible Life, which featured Lange singing in English as well as Spanish, arrived in early 2013.
Helado Negro returned in 2014 with Double Youth, a nostalgic, home-recorded set of songs that took inspiration from a poster he had owned since childhood and rediscovered while cleaning out a closet. In 2015, collaborators including Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier and Wilco's Mikael Jorgensenhelped bring songs from Helado Negro's Island Universe Story cassette series to St. Paul, Minnesota's Ordway Concert Hall as Island Universe Story: Selected Works. The following year, all three volumes of Island Universe Story -- which were released between 2012 and 2014 -- were issued as a compilation by Asthmatic Kitty. Helado Negro's next album was preceded by a pair of singles, 2015's "Young, Latin & Proud" and "It's My Brown Skin," reflecting the themes of Latin pride and cultural awareness found on the rest of Private Energy. Informed by '70s Latin soul and dub, the album appeared in October 2016.
IN RESIDENCE SEPTEMBER 14 - OCTOBER 15, 2017
A composer, vocalist, and genre-spanning collaborator, HANNA BENN has been creating music for over a decade. Her multi-disciplinary approach has incorporated dance, opera, and theatre — submerging boundaries and discovering new sonic landscapes in the process.
With origins rooted in gospel and choral music, Benn began exploring music as both an intimate and collective experience at an early age. Her influences soon included Stravinsky, English pastoral music, R&B, Alice Coltrane, and Olivier Messiaen.
Benn studied composition and voice at Cornish College of the Arts and has been composing ever since. While in Seattle, she co-founded an experimental pop band called Pollens. She has worked with CMF Festival Orchestra, Saint Helen's String Quartet, Seattle Chamber Players, St Marks Cathedral Choir, Opus 7, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
She wrote and recorded work on Son Lux's "Bones" album and toured with Boots (who has produced Beyoncé, FKA Twigs, and Run the Jewels). Her commissioned work and compositions have been performed across the country, from a five-hour immersive opera and dance performance in collaboration with Alice Gosti and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra to a composition celebrating Black American composers with Davida Ingram and the North Chamber Orchestra. She recently completed a residency at Central State in Indianapolis where she wrote much of her new album.
Benn's voice carries with it the crispness of cathedral tones — the sensuality of her sacred sonic corpus mixes with a clarity that rushes ambiguity out through the stained glass windows. She is able to take clearly delineated genres, deconstruct them, and then unify them in her work — creating pieces that are simultaneously accessible and profound, elevated and organic, sacred and common.