On Thursday evening at the AC [Institute Direct Chapel] (sic), a gallery in Chelsea, I watched, along with a few privileged viewers, the unfolding of Openings by Richard Kostelanetz. In this time of mainstream predominance, it is refreshing to see an informal event in a gallery setting, without any of the expected performance parameters; when the piece started Richard was sitting on the floor near the performer and I didnâ€™t know if he was going to be in the piece or if that was his participation to the performance, which actually did not matter. It was just very relaxed.
I own two books by Richard, signed by him, and they are among my favorites: John Cage and Soho: The Rise and Fall of an Artist Colony. Born in New York, he has written for hundreds of magazines and published over fifty books. He ironically calls himself â€œEarl of Wordshipâ€, but the remarkable fact is that he also creates equally valuable pieces as a composer, filmmaker and holographer.
Openings â€“ inasmuch as I am able to comprehend â€“ is an experiment in performed text, a very oblique reading, where four women, one after the other, improvise with voice and/or musical instruments and choreography; then a male trio, two musicians and a visual artist doing live projections, present a free-form interpretation of his text.
Laura Barger, Holly Crawford, Margaret Lancaster and Paige H. Taggart were all really involved and interesting to watch; through the performances, the meaning of the text was somehow made purposely chaotic and possible hidden or unintelligible, in other words, as far as possible from a television commercial. The trio included flutist Robert Dick playing wild textures with an added vocal microphone and electronic musician Morgan Packard working from his laptop, facing Joshue Ott also with a laptop creating moving shapes in sober hues following the music, projected on the gallery wall.