Helga Fassonaki – K H A L (5/11/15 – 28/11/15)

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An iteration of Khal, an ongoing project begun by Helga Fassonaki in Tabriz.

Fassonaki sent sixteen sculptural scores abroad for sixteen female artists to interpret and perform publicly in response to a ban on female solo performances in Iran. The original scores and recorded interpretations by the participating artists will be exhibited.

Four of the original score recipients will be performing Fassonaki’s scores live at the Audio Foundation on 5 November:

Kathleen Kim – performing ‘Punk Standards’

Angeline Chirnside – performing ‘Hypocrisy’

Purple Pilgrims – performing ‘Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum’

Rachel Shearer with Beth Ducklingmonster – performing ‘8 Pillars’



While residing in Tabriz, Iran for a month in 2014, Helga Fassonaki made 16 sculptural ‘scores’, which were sent abroad for 16 female artists to interpret. In order for these scores to be performed in a legal fashion, they had to be unleashed from the laws that rule post-revolutionary Iran, laws that forbid women from singing in public because of ‘the seductive quality of the female voice’. Sending these scores out into the world to be performed was an attempt to bring attention to this law whilst also acting as a gentle protest in the form of a disguised language traveling freely and unbound by governing law.

The scores, their performances and reinterpretations are collectively entitled ‘Khal’. Different iterations of Khal are being presented in galleries in the US and New Zealand in 2015 where the scores and their interpretations by the recipients of the scores are being displayed, heard, and reinterpreted – presenting the idea of a ‘living score’ as an archive open to edits, renewal and dialogue. As the series unfolds from one event to another, Fassonaki seeks to create a composition of voices and actions. Like the idea of Khal – a derogatory term in Farsi for Iranian Pop music that was sent to Iran by Iranian US immigrants in the form of homemade mixed tapes so that Iranian residents could listen to their country’s own pop stars.

The original recipients of Fassonaki’s scores include Kali Z Fasteau (NYC, NY), Kelly Jayne Jones (London, UK), Heather Leigh (Glasgow, Scotland), Jenny Gräf (Copenhagen, Denmark), Zaïmph (Brooklyn, NY), Chiara Giovando (Los Angeles, CA), Shana Palmer (Baltimore, MD), Purple Pilgrims (North Island, NZ), Rachael Melanson (London, UK), Christina Carter (Austin, Texas), Gabie Strong (Los Angeles, CA), Ashley Paul (London, UK), Angeline Chirnside (Auckland, NZ), Matana Roberts (NYC, NY), Rachel Shearer with Beth Ducklingmonster (Auckland, NZ), and Kathleen Kim (Los Angeles, CA).

Additional participating artists thus far include Suki Dewey, Fariba Safai, Nazanin Daneshvar, Yasi Alipour, Laura Sofia, Julia Santoli, Stainer Black- Five (Jo Burzynska), Mela (Helen Greenfield), Misfit Mod (Sarah Kelleher), French Concession (Ella), and Instant Fantasy (Gemma Syme).


 Helga Fassonaki, born in Los Angeles, based in New York City, creates and curates sound and visual installations, group situations, films, and performances that utilize and question temporality, power structures, subcultures and the human body as a sculptor of sound in space.

Floating between worlds of sound and visual art, Fassonaki borrows from one to set up the rhythms and pulses that inform the other. She is involved in a long-term collaboration with New Zealander Andrew Scott as the free-psych duo Metal Rouge. Their Three for Malachi Ritscher album was included in the Public Collector’s exhibit in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and Experimental Sound Studio’s Audible gallery in Chicago. She also heads her own brand of noise in her solo project yek koo, exploring the body as a vehicle for the movement of sound. She is co-founder and director of Emerald Cocoon, a record label founded in 2008 devoted to releasing music from the ’empty quarter’ – an area where the aesthetics of punk meet the philosophies of free jazz. Forging new performance dialogue with her Radio Concept Tour (2014-present), Fassonaki explores the relationship between an improvising body, microphone and air movement transmitted through radio waves. Her recent project Khal, investigates the idea of a ‘living score’ by initiating a passage of visual scores, actions, and conversations between participating artists and the public. Iterations of Khal were recently exhibited at Glasshouse (Brooklyn, NY), LACA (Los Angeles, CA), and currently showing as part of Book of Scores at Disjecta (Portland, OR) and at The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery (Christchurch, NZ). Future iterations will manifest at Audacious Festival 2015 (Christchurch, NZ), Audio Foundation Gallery (Auckland, NZ), and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (Auckland, NZ).



Exhibition Opening – 5 November, 5:30pm

Performances – 5 November, 7pm

Artist Talk – 14 November, 2pm

Runs until Saturday 28 November 2015

Special thanks to CNZ

Audio Foundation
4 Poynton Terrace (Sub-basement Parisian Tie Factory), Auckland Central



Khal is also being exhibited at Nga Taonga Sound and Vision from the 18 November – 11 December.



Participating and Featured Artists

Kathleen Kim is an experimental composer and musician whose current and past projects include LA Fog, SheKhan and Lady Noise. She has a background in classical, jazz and improvisational theories and has studied with Yusef Lateef, Jim Nadel and Inna Nedorezov. She has performed with her collaborative projects in a wide range of art contexts and music venues including: The Whitney Museum, LACMA, The Redcat, LACE, Mak Center for the Arts, and Art LA Contemporary.

Rachel Shearer is a sound artist/sound designer based in Auckland, New Zealand. She investigates sound as a medium through sound installations that aim to build spatial presence based entirely on the vibrations of acoustic forms, through sound composition, live performance and sound design/music for moving image and performance. Active as an experimental musician since the late 1980’s, Rachel has released material with labels Xpressway (NZ), Flying Nun (NZ), and under the solo moniker “Lovely Midget” with Ecstatic Peace (US), Corpus Hermeticum (NZ) and Family Vineyard (US) among others.  www.rachelshearer.com

Beth Ducklingmonster is the dunt loop under a hive of low lying electronics. Beats, lights, vocals, good manners. She also plays in The Futurians and The Maltese Falcons. Blatantly and happily ignoring the restrictions of medium she works out of bounds in sound, ink, video, broken electronics, and whatever else takes her fancy. She grew up under the grapefruit tree in Onehunga, New Zealand. www.ducklingmonster.tumblr.com

 Purple Pilgrims is the esoteric, outsider, dream-pop project of sisters Clementine and Valentine Nixon. Formed in 2012 (or perhaps since the womb) with a major interest in the medium of live performance, Purple Pilgrims have toured extensively taking their fuzzed out, blissed out, ambient, electric-folk throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. The ex-Christchurch, ex-Hong Kong based duo, currently dwell in the complete idyllic seclusion of the Coromandel native forest. Their debut full-length LP was released earlier this year. www.purplepilgrims.net

Angeline Chirnside has created loud noises and awkward silences in lots of bands in lots of places since the turn of the century. Some better known arrangements include  It Hurts, Currer Bells and Jane Austen. She currently plays with Hunter Moon in their band Meg and Mog. Angeline is a bluestocking, bookworm and wordsworth, and publishes total fictions regularly in New Zealand’s  Brief journal. She also self publishes utterly ephemeral zines with titles like Geo, Troubles and Electric Speech. www.bluestockingsvioletpages.blogspot.co.nz

Gabie Strong is a California artist and designer exploring spatial constructions of degeneration, drone and decay as a means to improvise new arrangements of selfreflexive meaning. Strong uses sound performance, radio broadcasting, sculpture, photography and video as a medium for experimentation. Her work has been presented in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2014 biennial exhibition, Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts, Summercamp’s ProjectProject, Knowledges at Mount Wilson Observatory, Pitzer Art Galleries, Torrance Art Museum, University Art Gallery UC Irvine, and LAXArt. Strong has performed at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Human Resources, SASSAS, LACE, High Desert Test Sites, LACMA, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, and the 2012 Whitney Biennial. She has presented solo exhibitions at Angels Gate Cultural Center, Autonomie, and PØST, in addition to broadcasting “Crystalline Morphologies” on KCHUNG Radio and KCHUNG TV. Strong received her BA in Art from UCLA in 1993, her Master of Architecture from SCI-Arc in 2006, and her MFA in Art from UC Irvine in 2008. She is 2010 UCIRA Desert Studies/UCIRA collaborative research grant and 2011 CCI ARC award recipient.

Kelly Jayne Jones is a Manchester based artist who works with sound in performance, improvisation and composition. The sources are varying, often hidden or camouflaged, such as field recordings combined in a deliberate juxtaposed collage of sounds from objects such as ritualistic tools, plants, rocks, found sounds, cassettes and flute. KJJ’s duo project with Pascal Nichols part wild horses mane on both sides (pwhmobs) recently toured a multi-channel sound installationperformance piece called Conduit of the bottomless submundane. KJJ has performed across Europe and has been commissioned for works at dOCUMENTA13, Tate Modern, ICA London (with pwhmobs and Haris Epaminonda) and CCA Glasgow (solo), Trieze Gallery Paris (solo), Borealis Festival & Kunsthalle Bergen Norway (pwh mobs). www.kellyjaynejones.tumblr.com

Shana Palmer is an artist, curator, musician and performer. Her experience of growing up in a remote area of the Arizona desert has influenced Shana’s practice both sonically and visually. Her works explore the mythical, uninhabitable and liminal spaces, blurring the lines between narrative and symbolic structures. Shana’s practice of performance, video, installation and painting has lead to solo exhibitions and performances both nationally and internationally. Palmer’s work has performed and screened at venues such as Kling O Bang Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland, MUU Gallery, Helsinki, Finland, D’Amelio Terras Gallery in New York and the High Zero Festival in Baltimore, MD. She received her MFA in Imaging and Digital Arts in 2014 and is currently preparing for exhibitions at Terrault Contemporary (Baltimore) and the Fuse Factory in Columbus, Ohio. Shana Palmer currently lives and works in Baltimore. www.shanapalmer.com

Matana Roberts works in many performance/sound mediums including improvisation, dance, poetry, and theater. She aims to expose the mystical roots and the intuitive spirit raising traditions of American creative expression in her music. Her innovative work has forged new conceptual approaches to considering narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures. Past member of the BRC: Black Rock Coalition and the AACM: Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Holds two degrees in music performance. Based in New York City. www.matanaroberts.com

Heather Leigh has performed and released music since the 1990s as a solo artist and with a wide range of uncompromising collaborators from Jandek to Robbie Yeats of The Dead C and has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Her playing is as physical as it is phantom, combining spontaneous compositions with a feel for the full interaction of flesh with hallucinatory power sources. She’s played/performed/released music with Ash Castles On The Ghost Coast, Charalambides, Scorces (a duo with Christina Carter), the Dream/Aktion Unit (a group with Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano and Matt Heyner), Taurpis Tula, Jailbreak (a duo with Chris Corsano), Jandek, and many others. www.wishimage.com

Jenny Gräf is a sound, video and performance artist who explores peripheral places and states through composition, improvisation and participatory works. In Gräf’s art she invokes immersion and rupture to explore changing perceptions of diegesis and space, formal choices rooted in a deep interest in social roles and behaviors. Largely known for her experimentation in live improvised sound performances using tactile, non-conventional instruments. Gräf’s work includes long-term collaborative sound projects designed for women with Alzheimer’s in order to expand understanding of memory and identity through sound. She performs and exhibits sound installations throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Her recordings are on labels such as 5rc, At avistic, Hanson, Utech, and Troubleman. www.jennygrafsheppard.com

Zaïmph is the solo project of artist, musician and performer Marcia Bassett. Zaïmph’s recordings and performances shimmer with a dense, dissonant and often unsettling electronic aura, shot through with flashes of meditative beauty. In addition to her work with Zaïmph, Bassett collaborates with a wide spectrum of musicians including Samara Lubelski, Barry Weisblat, Andrew Lafkas, Jenny Graf and Helga Fassonaki. www.zaimph.org

 Chiara Giovando is an artist and curator. Based in experimental music practices her work includes installation, performance and film. Giovando works with sound as a material, creating sculptural instances of sound that activate and disrupt psychoacoustic perception. Her films include, Proud Flesh (2008), This Love (2010), Archaic Smile (2011). She was curator of the Sound Structures series in San Francisco, a series of concerts of historical and new indeterminate scores and actions held form 1998 – 2001. She was co-director of  High Zero Festival, Baltimore MD, and co-founder of the hand cut lathe catalog Endlessseries. In 2013 she curated the exhibition Hammer with out a Master: Henning Christiansen’s Archive, which culminated in a sculptural publication called Flux Box, 2013. She founded the sound art residency  Thousand Points of Light, in 2014. In 2015 she will curate an annual program dedicated to sound at  Disjecta, portland OR, and her score Adaptation of Edges 1969, will be performed by The Calder Quarttet at the LA Philharmonic concert hall. Her recordings can be found on Ehse Records.

 Rachael Melanson is a sound and visual artist from the UK. She also performs and collaborates as Rosen, an ambient electronic soundscape project sampling channeled detritus, and produces an ad hoc radio show called Sonic Postcards which airs on AFM at the Audio Foundation, New Zealand. www.rachaelmelanson.tumblr.com

 Fariba Safai is an Iranian-American artist whose works spans multiple disciplines from installation, performance art to collage, painting and social sculpture. She is continually motivated by the belief of shared humanities and in its will to persevere, and the power of art for evolutionary change. Dealing with Issues of women’s rights, race, and the Middle East. In her performances her costumes and words are often of her own creations. In 2004, she began a  soup cart project collaborating with artist Ashley Smith where they wheeled a large cart of homemade soup through San Francisco offering cups of free soup on Black Friday. In 2009 she performed her poem  I Smile in front of the UN, in honor of global human rights day and the 6-month anniversary of Iranian elections . www.faribasafai.com

 Christina Carter, born in the bayou city of Houston, Texas where she co-founded the group Charalambides in 1991. Ever since then, she has deeply mined her own vein of sound-as-music with voice, guitar (both electric and acoustic), piano, and keys. In addition to performing extensively in the US, UK and Europe as a solo artist, Christina has played and recorded in various groups and duos with Black Forest/Black Sea, Maria Chavez (as Weird Cookie), Loren Connors, Chris Corsano, Dredd Foole, Sandy Ewen, Paul Flaherty, Gown (as The Bastard Wing), Shawn David McMillen, and Thurston Moore. She is also a permanent member of Scorces (with vocalist/pedal steel player Heather Leigh Murray). www.manybreaths.com

Ashley Paul is an American performer and composer based in London. She uses an array of instruments including saxophone, clarinet, voice, guitar, bells and percussion, mixing disparate elements to create a colorful palate of sound that works its way into her intuitive songs; free forming, introverted melodies. This blend manifests beautiful and simple musical forms against acoustic experimentation. Ashley has performed or recorded with Phill Niblock, Rashad Becker, Nik Colk Void, Loren Connors, Heatsick, Aki Onda, C. Spencer Yeh, Anthony Coleman, Bass Clef, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris, Seijiro Murayama, Greg Kelley, Bill Nace and Eli Keszler appearing on such labels as Important, PAN, ESP-DISK’ and Tzadik. www.ashleypaul.net

Kali Z Fasteau is a composer and multi-Instrumentalist. She played piano, cello, flute and voice since early childhood in Paris and New York. She studied the music of Asia, Africa, 20th Century Europe and Jazz, and then traveled for fourteen years, living in sixteen countries on four continents. Kali Z. led her ensemble playing her original compositions at New York’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center and Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art in Paris, The Museum Theatre in Madras, India, The Boston Center for the Arts, Pisa Festival, Guelph Festival, Vision Festival, Kerava Festival, Livorno Festival, Harare International Arts Festival, Uncool Festival and hundreds of other noted venues and festivals worldwide. She has recorded 20 albums as a leader. www.KALIMUSE.com.

Suki Dewey

Two sentences

From 0 to 67 slowly unmethodically at warp speed, an inconsistent consistent life passionate about issues of fairness that touch us all, a non dancer a non artist in constant rehearsal of a life spent on creating nothing but experience and memory. Sent from the woods