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Performance artist Sholeh Asgary and jazz clarinetist David Rothenberg to Perform at Gallery Bergen

originally published: 10/16/2023

Performance artist Sholeh Asgary and jazz clarinetist David Rothenberg to Perform at Gallery Bergen

(PARAMUS, NJ) — Iranian American sound/performance artist Sholeh Asgary and ECM recording artist/clarinetist David Rothenberg will perform in an evening of new music and improvisation at Bergen Community College’s Gallery Bergen on Friday, November 3, 2023, beginning at 7:00pm. Ghost Wind is a part of the ongoing exhibition at the gallery, The Cup Flows Over: Art from the Soul of Iran presenting the art of contemporary Iranian artists from Iran and the diaspora. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations can be made  Online.

In Ghost Wind, recordings of water bodies are transcribed into notation for voice, performed by Sholeh Asgary. Consisting mostly of long notes, and with the help of electronics and synthesizers for those notes that are beyond human capability, the arrangement and layering of the notes create a sonic landscape that casts reflections of silence, dissonance, and possible occasional moments of harmony. Asgary explores illegibility, loss, and mutant transformation through the near-impossible task of performing voice for water. This work is inspired and developed through her ongoing research into indigenous Iranian underground aqueducts known as qanats and the lesser-known ancient practice of wedding them as an exploration of water scarcity, human displacement, and ecological loss within the context of intricate erotics and economies of reciprocity between human bodies and waterways. Asgary's performance includes variations on the original composition by Atabak Elyasi.

On this version of the piece, Asgary will be joined by David Rothenberg on clarinets and water sounds.

Sholeh Asgary (b. Iran 1982) is an interdisciplinary artist whose works implicate the viewer participant in future mythological excavations, bridging large swathes of time and history through water, light, imaging, voice, and sound.  Featured in Art in America's 2022 "New Talent Issue,” Asgary’s work has been supported by such institutions as Headlands Center for the Arts, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and ARoS Kunstmuseum. Asgary is a UCLA Art|Sci Collective member and a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and California College of the Arts.

Musician and philosopher David Rothenberg wrote Why Birds Sing, Bug Music, Survival of the Beautiful and many other books, published in at least eleven languages. He has more than forty recordings out, including One Dark Night I Left My Silent House which came out on ECM, and most recently In the Wake of Memories and Faultlines. He has performed or recorded with Pauline Oliveros, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, Suzanne Vega, Scanner, Elliott Sharp, Umru, Iva Bittová, and the Karnataka College of Percussion.  Whale Music is his latest book. Nightingales In Berlin is his latest film. Secret Sounds of Ponds comes out in early 2024. Rothenberg is Distinguished Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The Cup Flows Over: Art from the Soul of IranTwin art exhibitions in the US and Germany celebrate contemporary artists in Iran and the diaspora. Artists include Parastou Forouhar, Sholeh Asgary, Labkhand Olfatmanesh, Shaghayegh Cyrous, Katyoun Bahrami, Narges Poursadeqi, Fanny Pokrandt, Lima Vafadar, Ali Sayah, Mansooreh Baghgaraee, Raven, Anonymous, and Gazelle Samizay.

Curated by Tim Blunk, Director, Gallery Bergen, and Anonymous, Berlin

Exhibition Spaces (US and Germany): Gallery Bergen, Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ: September 21 - November 21, 2023; Opening Reception: Thursday, September 21 at 6:00pm. In Munich, Germany: Glockenbachwerkstatt Community Center with events at the Bellevue di Monaco Cultural Center in Munich, Germany: October 24 - December, 2023

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