“Carbon,” the current exhibition by Charles Lindsay of Rensselaerville and New York City that has swallowed the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) for the coming months, is world-class art, mixed with science and philosophical conjecture, that one needs to immerse oneself into to get. It feels like outer space, utilizing elements of NASA equipment and a completely new form of digital imagery, involving carbon-based methods, glass and metals to produce some of the most striking images seen anywhere in recent decades. And it involved a complete remaking of the CPW galleries into a carpeted, all-black chamber to heighten the various sets of sensory elements that it aims (and succeeds) at playing with.
This Saturday, Lindsay is pulling together a host of collaborators for a single performance of Trout Fishing in Space, an evening of “music, sound art and recordings, appropriated recordings and video as a unique journey that arcs from an individual’s observations and premonitions on Earth to a space mission that travels far beyond our solar system where the duration is too long to return ‘home,’” in a one-time-only, one-hour work at the Kleinert/James Arts Center this Saturday, December 10 starting at 7 p.m.
According to Lindsay, a former environmental photojournalist who was recently the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for Photography and is the first artist-in-residence at the renowned SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), the one-way concept of space travel that he will be exploring in Trout Fishing, and that informs the “Carbon” exhibit at CPW, is based on topics now under serious consideration at NASA and the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
“Trout Fishing In Space represents the debut of an exploration in which the live performance will harness abstraction in the service of storytelling and be a full-spectrum collaboration between the performers that employs the power of aural and visual suggestion to pose existential questions while delivering mind expansion, entertainment and perhaps even dark humor” is how he’s describing what’s being worked up for Saturday night. “The five collaborating performers will weave a story of sound, moving toward an end point where our deepest observations reflect the multidimensional fabric that physicists believe connects everything. Sonically, the entire work will have a defined pulse, while being imbued with fearless improvisation.”
In addition to Lindsay, who is providing the evening’s concept, video content, electric cello, processed field recordings, spoken word and electronics, will be vocalist Thenmozhi Soundararajan, who was featured in Utne Reader as one of the Top 30 Visionaries under 30 of 2003, and in Source Magazine as one of the Top Ten Political Forces in Hip Hop; ECM recording artist David Rothenberg of Cold Spring; Brooklyn-based microsynth pioneer Billy Gomberg; FX experimenter Dan Snazelle of Queens; and video animator and live editor Miguel Jiron of the University of Southern California’s Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts program in Los Angeles.
Everyone involved is visionary, and incredible on his or her own. Bringing the lot of them together with this material (and a wall-to-ceiling immersive screen for live projections in the Kleinert setting) is a rare treat. Talk about getting beyond ourselves, and into a new place far from holiday crowds, seasonal disappointments and the semantics of economics – and imagining leaving this Earth and the sad finitude of mortal life for new beauties, or at least imagining such a journey now.
The Center for Photography at Woodstock is located at 59 Tinker Street in Woodstock; the Kleinert/James Arts Center is at 34 Tinker Street, across from the Woodstock Village Green. For further information and reservations (which may be needed, given the nature of this performance), call (845) 679-9957 or visit www.cpw.org. For more on Lindsay, visit www.charleslindsay.com.