April 13: Ten x Ten Retrospective @ Star Lounge

Performances by Allen Moore & Sadie Woods and Melina Ausikaitis & Ambrosia Bartosekulva. Plus DJ Set by BIGGIDZ. 

Stop by Star Lounge on Friday, April 13 to hear and see new collaborations from Chicago artists Melina Ausikaitis, Ambrosia Bartosekulva, Allen Moore, and Sadie Woods. Known for their robust practices in both visual art and music, these performers were brought together through the collaborative project Ten x Ten.

Functioning as both an encore of Ten x Ten 2017 and retrospective of prior iterations, audience are invited to enjoy musical performances from 2017 artist pairs (Allen Moore & Sadie Woods and Melina Ausikaitis & Ambrosia Bartosekulva) while viewing Ten x Ten screen prints from all five iterations.

Ten x Ten, established in 2010, fosters collaboration between visual artists and musicians, explores the collaborative process, and presents artistic concepts and gestures across media. In 2017, ten accomplished artists and three Chicago arts organizations united to present Ten x Ten 2017: Dual Practices, which commissioned and presented new audio and visual artworks.

The free event includes complimentary beer provided by Pipeworks Brewing Company.


In Progress Update: Allen Moore and Sadie Woods

As September 9th quickly approaches, we’re pleased to fit one last artist feature on the blog, this time spotlighting Chicago multimedia artists Allen Moore and Sadie Woods. Both natives of the Chicago area, their Ten x Ten collaboration stood apart from the pack with its clear interest in the intersection of personal narrative and Chicago’s history. Enjoy this talk with two of the city’s eminent audiovisual practitioners.

What inspired you both to pursue a collaboration built upon former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington?

Allen Moore (AM): The intrigue was reaching into the past, comparing and contrasting the socio political climate of the 1980’s with that of the present. I feel that Harold Washington was not only the first Black Mayor of Chicago, but was a progressive leader dedicated to education and grass roots empowerment. I think Sadie and I found it astonishing that the 30th anniversary of his passing will seemingly go by quietly and without any visible ceremony.

Sadie Woods (SW): We discussed several tropes on intersectionality and local Chicago culture over a period of time. Eventually, we came to a discussion of arts and culture, the end of Obama's presidency, and thinking of local figures that represented progressive change for marginalized communities. I also live near Mayor Washington's former Hyde Park home where he lived during his tenure, and walk by the Harold Washington Park often, so his legacy has been on my mind a lot during this process.

Can you describe your individual practices and interests, and how those crystallized in the form of more historical, rather than conceptual, outcome collaboratively?

AM: My painting/sound practice is heavily rooted in place and time. I specifically use creative source material from my childhood, which coincides with Mayor Washington’s tenure. During that time, I struggled with my mother being away from home in the hospital, fighting for her life against a rare life threatening disease. I remember the impact of Harold Washington’s death. The conception, in my opinion, is to question the sociopolitical space between then and now. We seemingly were on a positive and progressive path, but in 2017, we struggle with issue of racial injustice and police violence against POC. I’d like to image what could’ve been different if mayor Washington finished his second term. Was his vision abandoned? What would the political climate be in 2017? That is why the title of our piece “Dream Merchant” seems appropriate. I think the positives of Washington’s tenure can be linked all the way to Obama’s presidency.

SW: Much of my work is rooted in research; it is a process I enjoy. Having historical content informs the concept. It is grounded in a lived experience. I was in grammar school during Mayor Washington's tenure and was impacted when learning of his passing. Through this process, I've also been thinking about the progressive politics he fought for: economic growth, neighborhood development, affordable housing, and democratic school governance. I have also given thought to how much has changed (or not changed) over the past 30 years. This fall commemorates the 30th anniversary of his second term, when he passed away in office.

What About Chicago’s History specifically interests you?

AM: I’m from the village of Robbins, a small black town a few miles south of Chicago.
I was always enamored with city; it’s size and specifically the migration between the city and the suburbs.

SW: It's my hometown! Chicago over everything.

Allen Moore is a Black American visual and experimental sound artist born and raised in the small village of Robbins IL, just south of Chicago. Allen has a Bachelors of Arts from Chicago State University, a Masters in Arts fro Governors State University and a Masters of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University. His work converses with the signifiers of African American culture and popular culture; bringing to view the underlying themes of racial, emotional and socio-economical, conditions.

Chicago native Sadie Woods has held DJ residencies throughout Chicago for over a decade and performed for art institutions and tastemakers alike. Her practice includes sound art and design, deejay performance, exhibition making, and collaborations within communities of difference. She's been a participant of Ecole du Magain’s International Curatorial Program and editor of “Harald Seemann Individual Methodology” project; resident artist of the Hyde Park Art Center Program; Resident Artist at ACRE; Artist-In-Residence at Nichols Tower Homan Square; Sponsored Artist at High Concept Labs; Resident Curator of Chicago Artists Coalition's HATCH Projects; and Collaborator of Independent Curators International Dakar Intensive. Sadie is the recipient of the Bemis Center for the Arts Artist Residency; sound designer for Brujos Web Series; Curator-In-Residence at Art + Public Life Arts Incubator with La Keisha Leek; Resident Curator for Terrain-HATCH Projects; resident DJ at Boleo at The Kimpton Gray Hotel; and Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


In Progress Update: Lou Mallozzi and Joseph Clayton Mills

As we gear up for this year’s Ten x Ten Release, we invite you into the collaborative process between two of Chicago’s foremost multimedia artists, Joseph Clayton Mills and Lou Mallozzi. Tasked with an open exploration of space and location, the pair literally took the matter in their own hands, laboriously rubbing the floors of Experimental Sound Studio to create an audiovisual aesthetic hyper-tactile in process and utterly ethereal in outcome. Enjoy this generous look into Lou and Joseph’s intentions and be sure to see for yourself the true breadth of their work Saturday, September 9th, at Experimental Sound Studio.

How would you describe the themes and underlying ideas you are exploring in your collaboration?

Joseph Clayton Mills (JCM): One is the question of history—the passage of time, the contingencies imposed by a particular location and particular materials that can bear the marks of their interaction with other bodies and other histories. This history of contact between bodies is registered in the traces that are left—dust and detritus, scratches, and scars. In the case of the ESS studio, this is most noticeable in the deeply incised burn marks left behind as a result of its previous life as a metalworking shop, but there are also perhaps less noticeable traces left behind by everyone who has played there, recorded there, or passed through as an audience member. The superimposed rubbings and the sound of their making compress that history into something that can appear to be at once both abstract and absolutely concrete. The rubbings record the surface of floor at a scale of one-to-one, but their superimposition disorients the viewer and frustrates any easy resemblance between original and copy. I think that, in some ways, this mirrors how we often relate to the traces left behind by others or ourselves. We are left with recordings, histories, and stories that register our experiences, the meaning of which we can intuit but not fully capture—signs that can seem both deeply significant and opaque. Our experiences invariably exceed our ability to represent them—to touch them or to hold them—and the persistent, perhaps hopeless need to do so is another theme of the work.

Lou Mallozzi (LM): The interactions of site, time, and body seem to be the basis of the work. There is the historical time of the site; the implied time that I, in particular, have spent there since 2006; the time taken for the process of making that we pursued, which was in direct contact with the floor. Circulating around that is the way so many others have interacted with the site over time, some it documented, most of it ephemeral and irrecoverable. Perhaps some of the melancholy of that irrecoverable time is also encased in the pathos of the activity that generated the work: two men sweeping and then rubbing the floor, on our knees for two hours. Traces and layering -- both sonic and visual -- are the physical manifestation of these interactions. The process of executing the two-hour action of floor sweeping and rubbing and then collapsing it into 13 minutes of multi-track audio and three images from the 39 rubbings is a distillation of sorts, yielding results that are of the original but certainly distinct and somewhat autonomous as well.

How does narrative manifest in this project?

JCM: I think that it functions as a kind of background to the project or as a necessary antecedent to the finished work. Part of what hopefully makes both the screen print and the sound piece compelling is how they each record experiences—whether that’s the history of the space and the lives of those who have passed through it or the sequence of activities that Lou and I performed in making the pieces. Those experiences could conceivably be represented as a sequential narrative or series of narratives, arranged in a linear fashion through time or extended in a kind of grid across the space of the studio floor. Instead, the rubbings and the sound of their making are layered into dense, essentially nonnarrative artifacts that fold space and time back on themselves and present them as a kind of superimposed simultaneity. What might have been straightforward narratives are instead compressed and distilled until they verge on complete abstraction. At the same time, the print and the sound piece each invite the audience to imaginatively unfold them to recapture the human scale of the original experiences. What’s retained and what’s lost in that process of translation is one of the questions that the work hopefully asks.

LM: For me, the collapsing process that I mentioned above is a way to excite a tension between narrative and non-narrative modes. The simple repetitive linearity of our actions, which function like "work" and not simply "art-making," implies a narrative in the sense of a linear sequence that fluctuates over time and carries in it something like what we call a "story," that is, something that puts us self-reflexively in the world. Conversely, since the action is not in itself any kind of story making, it acts like a frame around the narratives inherent in or implied by the site (its histories).

How does collaboration fit into your current practice? Does it vary for visual and audio art?

JCM: Collaboration is central to my work, particularly the musical projects I’ve been involved in. Haptic was specifically conceived as a vehicle for collaboration with different musicians and artists, and I’ve also been involved in numerous duo projects with Marvin Tate, Michael Vallera, Noé Cuéllar, and numerous others. This affinity for collaboration extends to working across genres and in hybrid forms—providing soundtracks to films, creating scores that use text and graphic imagery, and working with dancers and poets to create performances that cross disciplines. The small label that I run, Suppedaneum, focuses on presenting musical scores and their realizations and by its nature is centered on exploring collaboration between composers, musicians, artists, and designers. My visual work also tends to take a collaborative form, although perhaps less explicitly—it often draws on the lives and work of other artists or writers and explores issues of influence, canonicity, and authority. More generally, my work relies on a global community of collaborators and peers who inform and sustain it.

LM: I have a fluid relationship with collaboration in my work, and I don't consider it an inherently superior method of art making. Some of my practice is solo and exclusive, some is work in which I participate and contribute, and some is truly collaborative. Interestingly, the visual work tends to be at the solo end of the spectrum and sonic work tends to be at the collaborative end. I think all of my work is porous to the influence of others, whether present or not at the time of the making. But for me, collaboration specifically means that all participants have equal responsibility throughout the work. So, this project with Joseph is certainly in that realm, as are my improvised music projects and a small number of others, such as some performance work from a few years ago with Alessandro Bosetti. I tend to think of collaboration as something like what's articulated by Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs in The Third Mind, where the personalities of the collaborators meld into a third creative entity in some ways independent of the individuals, if only for a moment.

Lou Mallozzi is a Chicago-based artist known primarily for his work in sound, often with a focus on dismembering and reconstituting language, gesture, and signification. His work includes performances, installations, music works, recordings, and radio works. In addition, he has a visual art practice that includes drawing and other media. In addition to his solo works, Mallozzi often collaborates with artists, filmmakers and musicians. He is on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is co-founder and former executive director of Experimental Sound Studio.

Joseph Clayton Mills is a musician, artist, and writer who lives and works in Chicago. His text-based paintings, assemblages, and sound installations have been exhibited in Chicago, New York, and Europe and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker. He is the author of the short-story collection Zyxt, and in 2012 published Nabokrossvords, a translation of early Russian crosswords by Vladimir Nabokov. He is an active participant in the improvised and experimental music community in Chicago and his recordings have appeared on numerous labels, including Another Timbre, FSS, and Entr’acte. In 2013, in conjunction with Noé Cuéllar, he launched Suppedaneum, a label focused on releasing scores and their realizations.


Ten x Ten Dual Practices Release | Tickets Now Available!

Ten x Ten 2017: Dual Practices Presented by Spudnik Press, Homeroom, and Experimental Sound Studio

Saturday, September 9th

Doors at 6:00 p.m. Music at 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at $15

Experimental Sound Studio 5925 N Ravenswood

Reserve Your Tickets

The fifth and most conceptually broad iteration of Ten x Ten, ‘Ten x Ten 2017: Dual Practices’ brings together 10 notable Chicago artists who have robust practices in both visual art and music. By considering questions about boundaries and location, Ten x Ten 2017 will investigate Chicago neighborhood identities, urban change, and comfort in space and place.

Five artist pairs have been collaborating over several months to each create a two-part work that includes a song or audio piece and an 18” x 18” screen print. The results of these partnerships will be released with a concert and gallery exhibition at Experimental Sound Studio on Saturday, September 9th.The artists will perform excerpts from their collaborations and display their prints as well as other work.
Featured artists pairs for Ten x Ten Dual Practices are:

Melina Ausikaitis / Ambrosia Bartošekulva
Mark Booth / Deidre Huckabay 
Cathy Hsiao / Damon Locks
Lou Mallozzi / Joseph Clayton Mills
Allen Moore / Sadie Woods

Thanks to Cushing Co for providing printing services. Ten x Ten is made possible with generous support from Circle Salon. and Cushing Co.


In-progress Update: Locks & Hsaio

As a continuation of our artist spotlight, we posed the same three questions to collaborative pair Damon Locks and Cathy Hsaio. Interested in how their ideas both merge and diverge, we thought to explore the ideas of subtextual themes, narrative, and how each artist handles their own dual practices.

Throughout the summer, ESS, Spudnik Press, and Homeroom will be documenting and sharing various aspects of Ten x Ten: Dual Practice from the artists’ vantage. For now, enjoy a deep dive into the conceptual terroir of Damon Locks and Cathy Hsaio.

Would you describe the themes and underlying ideas Cathy and you are exploring in your project?

DAMON: We are both addressing our ideas about place and how it relates to our own identities. I am definitely very much an urban guy. I like cities. I enjoy public transportation because it’s the meeting place for most communities.

How does narrative manifest if this project?

D: Well, visually, the CTA train takes center stage in our print but works in conversation with Cathy’s patterning score, which interrupts and compliments.

How does collaboration fit into your broader project? Does it vary for visual and audio art?

D: I think within the two pieces, organically, each took the lead on one piece. I think the audio pieces speak a little more about Cathy’s ideas about place. But each piece benefits from another point of view, which is at the core of collaborating.

 Would you describe the themes and underlying ideas Damon and you are exploring in your project?

CATHY: Damon and I wanted to map together our respective geographies and cultural histories. The main sound concept is to mash up of Damon's analog sampling style with this old Taiwanese folk song by the Tsou tribe. It's a traditional ballad usually for flute and voice that describes the landscape of Ali Mountain (阿里山). I arranged it for Sculpture Orchestra, an improvisation-based work for sculptures, molds and musicians that uses the switch from sculptures to instruments as an analogy for the hybrid, shifting nature of cultural exchange. I asked Damon, Ellery Royston, Adam Bach, Chinting Huang and Adam Vida to perform objects from Jennifer Huang, Kelsey Quinn Harrison, Jeff Prokash, Daniel Baird, Eric Leonardson and myself. It was performed really loosely, with a basic sound skeleton, and the idea came out of the experience itself so that was very gratifying.

How does narrative manifest if this project?

C: I was born in the US but immigrated to Taiwan when I was three, and due to parents living in different countries, moved back and forth between Taiwan and the US over 12 times before I graduated high school in Taichung. Migration between landscapes and languages are big themes in my work.

How does collaboration fit into your broader project? Does it vary for visual and audio art?

C: I love collaborating. For me, audio techniques translate into visual ones and vice versa. I've always been a gesamtkunstwerk-type maker. Damon and I have somewhat different visual styles; he is more figurative and I am more abstract. But working with him, especially in the process of making the Spudnik print, was exciting. It pushed me to think more about legibility in my own work and I see that push coming through in other projects already, so I always learn a lot from working with other artists.

Damon Locks is a Chicago based visual artist, educator, vocalist/musician, and deejay. He attended The Art Institute in Chicago where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. Recently, he has been lending his artistic and/or teaching talents to organizations such as Prisons and Neighborhood Arts Project, Art Reach, the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and at UIC. He is a recent recipient of the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Achievement Award in the Arts and the 2016 MAKER Grant. He also recently completed a music residency at The New Quorum in New Orleans and begins an Artist Studio Residency at the Hyde Park Art Center in April. He has been operating as an Artist Mentor in the Chicago Artist Coalition program FIELD/WORK. Damon has performed internationally throughout Brazil and Japan and at festivals in Sant'Anna Arresi, 2011 & 2013 (Italy), Lisbon, 2009 (Portugal), Saalfelden, 2012 (Austria).

Cathy Hsiao was born in New York City and immigrated to Taiwan at the age of three and back to the US after graduating high school in Taichung, Taiwan. She holds a BA from the University of California Berkeley and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016). She has been awarded the 2016 Emerging Illinois Artists Triennial Juror Prize; the New Artist Society Fellowship, School of the Art Institute (2014 - 2016), amongst others. Her practice is rooted in a hybrid inquiry between material making and conceptual thinking as a way to construct a parallel consonance between inner cultural/emotional landscapes and larger natural and built environments. She references distinct practices from Asian textiles and the history of Western abstraction to craft entirely new vocabularies of migration and translocation. Using her body to reimagine other bodies, using other bodies to reinterpret her own she builds and records indexes of her environment to feel her size. In doing so she is constantly interested in amplifying the sound of sentiments and objects that have no socially recognized language.


In-Progress Update: Ausikaitis & Bartosekulva

Ten xTen 2017: Dual Practices has begun with artists working in pairs to produce new work utilizing the full-service recording, mixing, and mastering studio at ESS and the fine art editioning services at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Throughout the summer we’ll be documenting and sharing each pair’s process. First up: AmbrosiaBartosekulva and Melina Ausikaitis tell us a little bit about their collaboration and process for their track recorded in ESS’s Studio A at the end of April: 

The theme of location was only vaguely addressed by Ambrosia and I from the start. After we started talking, what we found common ground on was a place in time. We traded stories about growing up and our parents. It turned out that we had quite a bit in common. The stories that we tell in the recording were retold and fleshed out after this first meeting. I think the link between the two stories is sensory experiences; smells and materials, etc.  

Our two stories and a loose framework of three stages were all we walked into the studio with. I brought my fake guitar and pedals with me.
–Melina Ausikaitis

I was really inspired by a line in Melina's story to use a story I had with almost the same line as an opening. We both had these very similar experiences, yet our processes are on two very different layers. With sound I wanted to create a space that highlighted the contrast of Melina's very visceral tactility and physicality vs my kind of etheric non-locality. I wanted to integrate the two and have multiple layers in our sound as well, some up close and abrasive and some far away and hard to grasp.

I affected multiple channels of my voice and a drum machine through a series of analog effects, handmade electronics and loops. We practiced a few times and had a structure to our piece, but improvised within that framework.
–Ambrosia Bartosekulva