String Things: German artist Helmut Lemke performs tonight

A collaborative improv sound performance, plus a poem by Andrew Patterson


Helmut Lemke performs tonight - HTTP://WWW.SOUND-ART.DE/
  • Helmut Lemke performs tonight

Tonight, UK-based, German sound and performance artist Helmut Lemke presents "Long Strings 'n' Short Encounters" at The Bus Stop Theatre (8pm), a collaborative, improvisational concert experience with Paul Cram (sax/ clarinet), Brandon Auger (modular synth), Lukas Pearse (bass) and Andrew Patterson (reading). It will be his only performance in Halifax. 

As one of the the Ballast artists at the White Rabbit Arts Festival last weekend, Lemke performed stringed sound experiences solo, and with drummer/artist Lindsay Dobbin (Gift from God), the culmination of his three-week residency. There, he also met Halifax poet Patterson, who will read excerpts from modern language poet Ron Silliman's Sunset Debris. 

Patterson attempts to describe Lemke's installations and performances during White Rabbit: "Helmut is really into installation work, building contraptions out of drum kits and fishing rods, with little motors to make them run," he says, "At White Rabbit, he did a performance with Lindsay where they were in the ocean, with contact mics, and Helmut was playing a reel of fishing line that was out in the water. There was a guy with a solar panel on his back powering the amps, which were in a wheelbarrow, and moved as the tide went out. It was essentially a mobile performance of playing the tide line. Hard to describe. He also put fishing line across a pond and played the strings. I think tonight he's playing the room. It's pretty out-there stuff."

Lemke also hosted workshops at White Rabbit, which entailed listening as shared experience: "We'd get up early in the morning and all draw what we heard," explains Patterson, "Helmut is really interested in the interactions of language." Naturally, as a poet, Patterson shares these interests. "I stopped seeing a boundary between composition and improv. Any performance has a set of parameters, but they're different for improv, which is something I'm learning."

In the wake of White Rabbit, Patterson has been writing semi-collaborative poetry with Chicago-based artist Anna Wolfe-Pauly, in the spirit of Shiomi Mieko's "Spatial Poem No. 2" circa 1966. The project is a simultaneous listening and writing experience. For the last four days, at 5:00pm in Halifax (3:00pm in Chicago), both Patterson and Wolfe-Pauly write about exactly what they're hearing at that time. They then have 24 hours to send the poems to each other. Below, Patterson shares one of his poems from this series, written during Saturday's power outage. 

Check out the Facebook event for more information about tonight's performance. 

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Nova Scotia ... 5:00pm // August 22nd . 2015


swishing of pants
and moisture parting

in step

Ever a siren
barely, off somewhere.

It's suddenly after-work-or-before-work-ending
and everyone has keys
or small bits of change

and children
announce the days to come.

What the crosswalk
does to the sound
cars in motion

(and one, two, three) gear
sets freely
strung along the close

- Did the power go out everywhere?
- Oh . . . I didn't notice. It hardly made a sound.

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