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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2021

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OCT 2021 Issue
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The Sound of Morning

Kevin Beasley, <em>Your face is/is not enough</em>, 2018. Performance at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial 2018, 14 July 2018. Tate, London, Presented by the Tate Americas Foundation, courtesy of the North American Acquisitions Committee in honour of Bob Rennie, Chair of the Committee 2010–2016, 2017, accessioned 2021. Image courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo: Mark McNulty
Kevin Beasley, Your face is/is not enough, 2018. Performance at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial 2018, 14 July 2018. Tate, London, Presented by the Tate Americas Foundation, courtesy of the North American Acquisitions Committee in honour of Bob Rennie, Chair of the Committee 2010–2016, 2017, accessioned 2021. Image courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo: Mark McNulty

The Sound of Morning
Lower East Side Intersection (Manhattan)
Corner Of Orchard And Rivington, New York, Ny 10002
October 14 – October 16, 2021

Kevin Beasley’s The Sound of Morning combines every aspect of his work to date—sculpture, sound, performance, and site specificity—in one totality. Staged at the crossroads of two Manhattan streets on the Lower East Side, Beasley plays the sounds of movement, object, and site—inserting sculptures made using everyday and industrial materials and objects, and performers—by using contact mics to magnify the faint noises that usually disappear into the white noise of Manhattan, creating a sonic sculpture.

Intersections are often sites where two neighborhoods meet, often with radical juxtapositions of architecture and inhabitants. They can also be places of starkly different uses of buildings, stores, restaurants, and residential buildings, and where contrasts in commercial value occur alongside colliding communities. Working with ten dancers from a variety of dance backgrounds, Beasley, with choreographic director and dancer Paul Hamilton, created a score that enhances and alters everyday gestures and actions. Microphones attached to the performers capture the normally inaudible sounds of their movements as they engage with the site, amplifying them to create an intense sonic experience for the audience.

Beasley created this scene using a process akin to the one he uses to make sculpture: by altering objects and materials to create new entities—ones that carry elements of their former life, but through corporeal shifts offer a new way of seeing and experiencing their materiality, symbolism, use, and history. Similarly, Beasley will adjust the regular actions, gestures, and sounds of the street so that they appear both familiar and foreign as the audience experiences their sonic properties.

In a conversation we had during the process of making this work, Beasley stated that “this feels like a moment to explore the texture of what the city provides, to consider what this space and this architecture does as a backdrop to these ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing the way that the sound and the bodies exist in that space.” Overall, The Sound of Morning considers how life is lived, how everyday behaviors are performed, how we interact with each other together and apart, as anonymous individuals drifting through the city, one mind passing another, one body bumping against another body.

Contributor

Kathy Noble

Kathy Noble is the Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs for Performa.

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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2021

All Issues