Helga Fassonaki K H A L – Artist Talk – 14/11/15

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K H A L is an iteration of 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 are exhibited.

Fassonaki will talk about her work at the Audio Foundation on Saturday 14 November at 2pm


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.


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).

Helga Fassonaki – Artist Talk

The Audio Foundation

Saturday 14 November


Free Entry