GPOYW-April 30th, 2010: Fearless Leader, in the siuIU (Southern Illinois University Improvisation Unit), playing instruments created by Chris Scamehorn.
Shiang Ho took this digital picture.
The last public show of the siuIU as an octet (that I know of… there’s not exactly a lot of people who’ll be filling in the slots for the coming Autumn) of the Spring 2010 season. The premise involved them not really using any instruments whatsoever of theirs (FL, at most, brought percussion brushes and a bass bow for interacting with what was there): Everything we were going to use was there.
Chris Scamehorn’s M.F.A. exhibition revolved around his sculpting abilities and tendencies for making “functional art” that is meant to be interacted with. So, the setting of the room evoked an undersea aesthetic, with all of the sculptures providing musical qualities. With the exception of Matt, who is himself studying sculpture at present, there wasn’t a single member who had used the specific instruments (or versions of somewhat familiar instruments) before. Amidst this, they created a group improvisation that lasted the starting 21 minutes of the exhibition’s opening.
Here, he’s breaking away from the percussion “groove” (half of the group’s members are primarily percussionists, with the rest of the siuIU having various levels of informal or formal percussion training) to engage one of the ocarina-like instruments on the same initial sandpile that were available (they later spread out more over the room’s area).