Tuesday, May 12, 2009

sonic fabric at cannes

from dazeddigital.com:

DD: How did the idea for the suit come about?
Pierre AndrĂ© Senizergues: "With my role as executive producer, I knew I couldn’t walk down the red carpet at the premiere of The 11th Hour at the Cannes Film Festival in a tuxedo that wasn’t environmentally friendly. When I found this amazing material that had audiotape weaved into the fabric to give it a glossy finish, I thought it would make the perfect tuxedo for this occasion. It was an existing fabric that no one was using. I found a tailor in Koreatown in Los Angeles who made tuxedos for Brad Pitt and we lined the inside of the tuxedo with recycled Etnies t-shirts."

no one was using it? merci, mais au contraire...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

jon fishman's "musical suit"

jon fishman, phish percussionist, always wears a black mu-mu style dress with an orange donut pattern on it when he plays on stage. once many years ago (late 1990's?) i got to talking with jon about a project i was about to start working on in which i would use cassette tape to weave a kind of fabric. jon was immediately interested, and offered to donate his personal collection of tapes to the cause. i suggested making something for him out of this material literally woven from his favorite music. a version of his traditional ritual garment imbued with sound seemed logical, especially
since i'd long been intrigued by orange donuts and had been using them in my work for years to represent the notion of "sound made visible". it wasn't until after jon had given me his box of 300 tapes - a wide range of rare gems, including original jimi hendrix jam sessions, prince recorded live during an impromptu concert in a small club in london, john coltrane, sun ra, led zeppelin, bob marley - that i decided to make a sound collage from samples of every single tape in the box rather than use the originals to weave with. i spent a week listening to the tapes, using my old-style analog 4-track recorder to create a layered collage of samples. i then recorded this composition - crammed full of jon's inspirations - onto large spools of tape salvaged from the audiobook industry. the tape was then woven into fabric, then silkscreened with orange donuts, then sewn into a dress.

a prop maker/sound engineer friend made tape head gloves that jon could use on stage to "play" the dress - by rubbing a tape head over its surface, it would emit a garbled, swooshing sound, not unlike a DJ scratching on a record.

in 2004 jon fishman performed on stage during a phish show in las vegas using the dress as a musical instrument. jon fishmans's "musical suit" is now on display as part of the "return to function" exhibition at the madison museum of contemporary art.