NOW CURATING: YOMI
s t r e e t a r t i s t
Antonia Z Brown is artist-in-residence at Mascher Space Co-op, one of the best places to go in Philadelphia for exciting experimental dance. Her work has been performed on all three U.S. coasts, and has been described by reviewers as “full-bodied, virtuosic and ‘space-eating.’” Here, she shares one aspect of her practice with Curate This.
-Julius Ferraro, co-founder
I often start my dance rehearsals with a sensory movement practice. Using certain images and metaphors, I like to bring a new group of dancers together in a shared experience where they can find connection to their own individual creativity as we wake up our bodies and minds together. This practice gives me a through-line from one project to the next, and is also flexible enough as a research lab for delving into each new project’s theme. In the most recent version of this practice, developed in rehearsal for my recent Fringe show Body of Water, the main focus was to connect to water imagery and the watery flows of movement already happening inside the body.
I invite you to join in this practice to experience what goes through the mind of a dancer. My choreography often requires a lot of fine tuning imagination and the connection between body and mind, and I hope you enjoy seeing what that feels like.
Think of it as a guided meditation.
Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Begin either standing or lying on your back, with your eyes closed. This is for all bodies. You can move, be moved, or be (relatively) still depending on what feels good to you.
Nadia Botello is a sound artist, experimental composer, sound designer (and former synchronized swimmer!) based in Philadelphia. She is an advocate for women in electronic music (see: the illustrated history of women in electronic music at filiamusica.com), teaches children deep listening and the science of sound, and has composed, performed, and installed numerous works in LA, Philadelphia, and New York. If this weren’t enough, she is a loyal and present friend with a playful and courageous spirit. Learn more about her at www.nadiabotello.com.
– Alisha Adams, curator
I’ve been involved in the electronic music and sound communities for well over a decade. I started going to raves (and producing them) as a very young teenager, learned how to audio engineer at sixteen, tour managed and did event production, went to Sweden and wrote/recorded an analog synth improv record at twenty-one, got into sound design when I lived in Los Angeles for a number of years, learned how to build synthesizers, found myself collaboratively scoring experimental opera and dance, found a reason to begin performing live, made my way into the art world “proper,” and much more.
Despite all this time and experience, I often hesitated to identify as a “sound artist,” “experimental composer,” or “sound designer” until one pivotal evening in Los Angeles when I saw Suzanne Ciani give a retrospective and Q&A on her work and career as a composer and sound designer. She was a pioneer of modular synthesis and commercial sound design, and is considered one of the “godmothers” of new age electronic music. Listening to her that night made me realize that I was on a similar path, and it was incredibly empowering to see a woman engaging and succeeding in traditionally male-dominated areas of work. After that night, I sought to learn as much about the history of women in electronic music as I could. Because even though I had been creating it for years, I had a very limited idea about the vast influence many women had on the medium (and the tools to produce it!). Suzanne—and the stories of these women—gave me the confidence to claim these identities, pursue a sound-based creative practice full-time, and (most importantly) to make my own way.
Over the last six months or so, I’ve been trying to connect the various women working in and around electronic music (broadly defined) across Philadelphia. As a creative community, Philadelphia can often feel compartmentalized; the academics are hanging with other academics, DJs are out with their crews, DIY artists are clustered in basements and warehouses, “fine artists” are showing in galleries, etc. There’s certainly a bit of cross-over, but why not traverse these worlds a little more? Philadelphia is home to some talented and wonderful women studying, performing, and engaging in electronic music practices. Connecting with each other (and the greater community at large) is something I’d really like to encourage. I believe there’s power in presence, visibility, and the sharing of knowledge and resources. We have so much to learn from each other.
Below are a few resources that I consider “jumping off” points to delve into a more comprehensive (but still incomplete) history of women in electronic music. Important for anyone who listens to, enjoys, or is curious about electronic music . . . but especially for women (and young girls) to know—our paths and creative practices are strengthened because of them. These are some of the women who came before. Let’s honor their influence.
Read (books): Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound by Tara Rodgers // The Feminine Musique: Multimedia and Women Today and “On Writing for Multimedia” by Sabrina Peña Young // Women Composers And Music Technology in the United States: Crossing the Line by Elizabeth Hinkle-turner // Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice by Pauline Oliveros
Read (online): More articles & resources on women in electronic music
Photo by Mike Jackson, alrightmike.com