12 JANUARY 2009

Live sets by: Alexandra Dementieva (live video) and Michael Attias (saxophone) ; Aki Onda (slide projection) and Alan Licht (guitar)

Invited respondent/moderator: Amanda McDonald Crowley

Organized by Katherine Liberovskaya and Ursula Scherrer


OptoSonic Tea is a regular series of meetings dedicated to the convergence of live visuals with live sound which focuses on the visual component. These presentation-and-discussion meetings aim to explore different forms of live visuals (live video, live film, live slide projection and their variations and combinations) and the different ways they can come into interaction with live audio. Each evening features two different live visual artists or groups of artists who each perform a set with the live sound artists of their

The presentations are followed by an informal discussion about the artists’ practices over a cup of green tea. A third artist, from previous generations of visualists or related fields, is invited specifically to participate in this  discussion so as to create a dialogue between current and past practices and provide different perspectives on the present and the future.


About the artists:

Alexandra Dementieva is a multi-media artist based in Brussels. Her main interest is application of social psychology and perception in multimedia interactive installations. She manages to create installations in which numerous cultural forms of expression, such as dance, music, film, environments and performance are being given a
meaningful place. She links the “open” work of art to the freedom of the spectator to assemble his or her own images. In her work there is no trace of one way traffic – not from the art work to the spectator, nor in making the art work as the frozen form of one or the other hunch or reflection.  Her video work integrates different elements,
including behavioral psychology and developing narrative through a point of view of subjective camera.

Michaël Attias has been active in New York City as saxophonist, composer, and improvisor since 1994. Upcoming CD releases include Volume 5 of Paul Motian On Broadway for Winter&Winter, Sean Conly’s Re:Action for Clean Feed, John Hebert’s Byzantine Monkey for Firehouse 12, as well as the debut CD of Attias’ Quintet Twines of
Colesion, recorded live in Portugal in June 08. Both this album, and the second of Attias’ trio Renku will be released on Clean Feed in 2009. He will be performing a live electronic score to Robert Woodruff’s stage adaptation of Notes From Underground at Yale Repertory Theatre in Spring 2009.

Aki Onda is an electronic musician, composer, and photographer. Onda was born in Japan and currently resides in New York. He is particularly known for his Cassette Memories project – works compiled from a “sound diary” of field-recordings collected by Onda over a span of two decades. Onda’s musical instrument of choice is the
cassette Walkman. Not only does he capture field recordings with the Walkman, he also physically manipulates multiple Walkmans with electronics in his performances. In another of his projects, Cinemage, Onda produces slide projections of still photo images set to live guitar improvisation. Onda has collaborated with artists such
as Michael Snow, Ken Jacobs, Alan Licht, Loren Connors, Oren Ambarchi, Noël Akchoté, Jac Berrocal, Linda Sharrock, and Shelley Hirsch.

Over the past two decades, guitarist Alan Licht has worked with a veritable who’s who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends (Rashied Ali, Derek Bailey) and electronica wizards (Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke) to turntable masters (DJ Spooky, Christian Marclay) and veteran Downtown New York composers (John Zorn, Rhys Chatham). He has released five albums of compositions for tape and solo guitar, and his sound and video installations have been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. With Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, he founded Text of Light, an ongoing ensemble which performs freely improvised concerts alongside screenings of classic avant garde cinema. Licht was curator at the famed New York experimental music venue Tonic from 2000 until its closing in 2007, and has written extensively about the arts for the WIRE, Modern Painters, Art Review, Film Coment, Sight & Sound, Premiere, Purple, Village Voice, New York Sun, Time Out New York, and other publications. His book Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Media, the first extensive survey of the genre in English, was published by Rizzoli in fall 2007.

Amanda McDonald Crowley is Executive Director of Eyebeam in New York http://www.eyebeam.org. She is a cultural worker, curator and facilitator who specialises in creating new media and contemporary art events and programs that encourage cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and exchange. Amanda was executive producer for
ISEA2004, the International Symposium for Electronic Arts 2004, held in Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland, and on a cruiser ferry in the Baltic sea. She was Associate Director, Adelaide Festival 2002 and in this position was also Chair of the working group that curated the exhibition and symposium ‘conVerge: where art and science meet’.
From 1995 to 2000 she was Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) where she made significant links with science and industry by developing a range of residencies for artists in settings such as science organizations, contemporary art spaces and virtual residencies online; developing cross-disciplinary
masterclasses for artists and curators; as well as beginning to establish links with media artists and organizations in Asia. She previously worked with a range of arts organizations in Australia including the Australia Council for the Arts (the federal government’s arts funding and advisory body), Arts Training Australia (conducting research for a multimedia education and training strategy), and Electronic Media Arts Australia (incorporating the Australian Video Festival). She has done residencies in Berlin,
Germany (1994/5), at Sarai in Delhi, India (2002/3), and Banff Center, Canada (2002), regularly speaks at international conferences and festivals, occasionally writes for journals such as Artlink, RealTime and the Sarai Reader, and lurks on a lot of media, technology and culture related email lists.