Ben Vida

The Graham Foundation

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Reducing the Tempo to Zero is Ben Vida’s new long-form composition for four vocalists and electronics.

Please note, audience members may come and go throughout the near five-hour performance. Guest vocalists include Melina Ausikaitis, Nina Dante and Dan Mohr. Lighting design by Christine Shallenberg.

Informed by Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2, the extended performance length of RtTtZ acts to complicate the listeners’ relationship to memory, absorption and attention. The timeline of this piece takes hours to unfurl, which means some audience members may only experience segments of the overall composition; this eliminates basic structural signifiers (like a strict beginning, middle and end) and leaves room for reconsidering how the developmental arc of a composition can function.

As an example of expanded composition, RtTtZ also takes historic cues from works like Stockhausen’s Sternklang and Le Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House. In much the same way those pieces used staging and site specificity as elemental compositional building blocks, RtTtZ uses direct intervention with the gallery space to oscillate between installation and performance. Not only does this prompt a reinterpretation of agency for the audience (both by encouraging them to experience the piece from a number of different locations as well as having them determine their own length of engagement with the work), but, in terms of audience expectation, context and perspective, it also actively sets up a different kind of experiential proposal.

Ben Vida (b.1975, Dubuque, Iowa) is an artist and composer living in New York. He has been an active member of the international experimental music community for two decades with a long list of collaborators, projects and releases to his credit. In the mid-1990s he co-founded the group Town and Country and has since worked as a solo artist with releases on such labels as PAN, Alku, Shelter Press, Future Audio Graphics and Kranky. Vida has been the recipient of several awards including the ISSUE Project Room Artist-in-Residency Commission; the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Composing with Process Exclusive Works Commission; Unsound Festival New Works Commission, and a Swedish Arts Committee Travel Grant. Recent residencies include EMS Studios, Stockholm; EMPAC, Troy; and the Clocktower, Manhattan. His work has been performed and presented at the Guggenheim, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; The Kitchen, New York; Leap Gallery, Berlin; The Artist’s Institute, New York; the Sydney Opera House; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna; Borderline Festival, Athens, Greece and the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Meltdown Festival in London. Recent solo exhibitions include [Smile on.]…[Pause.]… [Smile off.] at Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York, and Slipping Control (West) at 356 S. Mission Rd, Los Angeles.

Ben Vida first appeared at Lampo in October 2013, presenting the video Tztztztzt Î Í Í… and his electronics work Damaged Particulates.

Presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation; support provided by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant