SNKR (with Kelly Rauer)

SNKR was a collaborative project with movement and video artist Kelly Rauer, resulting in videos, sounds, performances and hybrid combinations thereof.

SNKR began with a two-minute performance using tap shoes and acoustic feedback through a large resonating metal sheet.

That experiment led to the capturing of improvisational performances for camera in various Portland locations – sounding out spaces with tap shoes, framing found geometries.  The resulting footage was edited for sound as much as image, creating repetitions, stutters, rhythms and glitches.  An accompanying score was created entirely from processed samples of two degraded vinyl LPs.

Further improvisations for camera included a three-camera shoot in Portland’s oldest building using no-input mixer, acoustic feedback, effects pedals and amplified small objects, and movements inside an unused, Soviet-era grain mill in Estonia, with its multiple levels of turquoise machinery.

These videos were incorporated into a 20-minute performance at the Risk/Reward Festival in 2016. Against a large video projection, Rauer created on-stage shapes, moving sound-making objects and speakers, and arranging items in task-based sequences.  At the back of the stage, I created, mixed and processed sounds, including samples, contact microphones, acoustic feedback and a record player.  Near the end, a large-screen television was rolled onstage, displaying a live video feed of my hands.

A Portland Circus on Cage’s Silence (with Linda Austin)

This performance, celebrating the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth, was curated by Mack McFarland at the Pacific NW College of Art.  Dancers, musicians and a poet were stationed in all areas of the building’s large open atrium, along balconies and in far flung corners.  Multiple and varied activities surrounded the mobile audience.

For the score, I selected several pages from Cage’s early composition Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard (1950), dedicated to the artists and designers Josef and Anni Albers.  Chance procedures determined time blocks, repetitions and fragments of the score.  Musicians were tasked with reconfiguring pitch material to fit the repetitions through the manipulation of note values and rests.  A series of 1-minute field recordings, contributed by students and others, were played in a sequence and at volume levels determined by chance procedures.  On an upper level, poet Lisa Radon recited a “writing through” of a Cage text throughout.  Audiences were free to move, viewing the performance from different perspectives or following dancers as they moved to different quadrants throughout the space.

A few challenges: first, how to make an event that is “Cageian” without being Cage.  We wanted to honor the spirit of Cage without simply creating a “cheap imitation”.  While allowing for some personal twists on Cage’s methods, we used indeterminate and chance-derived procedures throughout (thanks!).  Another challenge is also the real benefit of Cage’s primary idea – his dictum to erase the ego, to follow the “operation of nature” and to be interested in what results.  It’s both difficult and rewarding to remove one’s desire from the determination of outcomes, to give up any idea of “the way it should be” and to let the score take over.  As Cage might say, what we don’t know is more interesting than what we do know (or think we know). – from the program notes by Seth Nehil & Linda Austin

Musicians:  Matt Carlson (synthesizer), Patrik Csak (glockenspiel), Jeff Diteman (cello), Jordan Dykstra (viola), Richie Greene (violin), Ben Kates (saxophone), Catherine Lee (oboe), Thomas Thorson (synthesizer) & Reed Wallsmith (saxophone).
Dancers:  Mike Barber, Jin Camou, Anne Furfey, Sally Garrido-Spencer, Keyon Gaskin, Carla Mann, Paige McKinney, Kaj-anne Pepper, Chelsea Petrakis, Kelly Rauer, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles, Emily Stone, Robert Tyree, Taka Yamamoto and Lucy Yim.

Spoken Text:  Lisa Radon

Pacific Northwest College of Art

Portland, OR, Oct. 3, 2012

Children’s Games


Children’s Games was an evening-length performance combining cinematic images with sung and spoken voice, abstract sound, and performative actions.  The piece drew inspiration from the 1560 Breughel painting of the same name, and the 1970 Truffaut film, The Wild Child.

Children’s Games celebrated the associative, fragmentary and irrational aspects of play and explored the traumatic colonizations of wild space.  Onstage, a chorus dressed in the medieval garb of the Breughel painting conduct vocal games and patterns.

Video projections, recorded sound and live voices mingle before giving way to an enigmatic noise band.

Continue reading “Children’s Games”

Bandage a Knife (with Linda Austin Dance)

This dance performance, created and co-directed with Linda Austin, was based on a strategic “forgetting” of Seijun Suzuki’s 1967 cult yakuza film, Branded to Kill.  Themes, images and language emerged in our thinking through , writing through, dancing through the freewheeling surrealism of the film.  Against the back wall, projected fragments of video narrative and noir imagery flashed amidst the dancers.

Choreography, including long “non-sequitur” movement sequences, interspersed with moments of dialogue, abstracted violence and shards of action.  Along both sides of the stage, dancers silently mimicked and responded to movements behind semi-transparent black curtains.  Mounted on the ceiling, a television monitor played a continuous hour-long action by Kaj-Anne Pepper (coming slowly unraveled in an all white “weatherbox”). An ambiguous narrative included slow-motion mock battles, chanted syllables and swung lightbulbs.

Much of my original score can be heard on the album Knives.

Co-written and directed by Linda Austin & Seth Nehil

Choreography:  Linda Austin
Sound and video:  Seth Nehil
Dancers: Anne Furfey, Kaj-Anne Pepper, Linda Austin, Lucy Yim, Bonnie Green, Rebecca Harrison.

Performance Works NW, Portland OR, November, 2009

Flock & Tumble


This performance combined 6-channel recorded sound with 12 live vocalists and 4 video projections.  The performers flashed colored lights and moved through the large warehouse in simple geometrical configurations. Interacting with spatialized recorded textures, they produced clusters of sound with voices and sound-making objects. Encircling, traveling and moving among the audience, the performers used percussive whacking of boards strapped to feet, rustling of large laurel branches and the tonal friction of small bells dragged across the floor.  Patterns were informed by research into the emergent properties seen in schools of fish or swarms of swallows. On the four projections, colorful flashes of images: painted faces screaming, dancing figures, recombining words.

The space between events is charged. We utilize an erotics of distance: a call connects across space and invigorates a shared medium – our atmosphere. In balance, we utilize an erotics of proximity: the “tuning-in” of closeness, the ways of changing and being changed by those who are near.
Distance and proximity interact as a self-organizing form. I am interested in schools of fish, flocks of swallows, swarms of ants. Spatial distance may be confused and con-fused as a map of temporal distance for making music. Our sounds stay near, keeping an always-same but always-changing form, self-maintaining but allowing for rupture at any moment. This is a proximation of form.
Our ears move in the spaces between events. – {from the program notes}

Video Performers: Linda Austin, Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner (Rikki Rothenberg,

Live performers: Elie Charpentier, Eve Connell,Theodore Holdt, Emma Lipp, Sara Mapelli, Mindy McGovern,Peter Musselman,Sandra Preston, Kelly Rauer, Morgan Ritter, Kersti Werdell.

Costume & Makeup: Diana Lang

Movement consultant: Linda K. Johnson

AudioCinema, Portland OR
November 2008