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 didn’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 “Earl of Wordship”, but the remarkable fact is that he also creates equally valuable pieces as a composer, filmmaker and holographer.

Openings – inasmuch as I am able to comprehend – 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.

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