The Cardew Object: Exhibition in the Skybridge Art & Sound Space

Exhibition Thu 15 Apr 2010 - Mon 10 May 2010 Skybridge Gallery, Eugene Lang College, 65 West 11th Street
Free admission
New School faculty Sarah Montague and Simonetta Moro and their students in the Skybridge Curatorial Project present an exhibition celebrating Cornelius Cardew's work and the events below. The Skybridge Art & Sound Space hosts multi-media exhibitions and curriculum-based projects in the arts, showcasing student projects that make the space a vibrant and exciting laboratory for visual, aural, and critical thinking.

Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981) was a seminal figure of the British avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s. A student of Karl-Heinz Stockhausen and a follower of John Cage, he formed the Scratch Orchestra with Michael Parsons and Howard Skempton in 1969 in London. Based on their experiments, Cardew published the book Scratch Music, now a classic resource for experimental musicians. In the late 1970s, Cardew became increasingly involved in a Marxist-Leninist discourse, eventually rejecting his own compositional work as elitist. Cardew died in an unresolved hit-and-run accident at the age of forty-five, estranged from most of his colleagues and challenged for his political convictions.

The Scratch Orchestra was a collaborative group of musically trained and untrained participants engaged in radical modes of improvisatory and cross-disciplinary art-making. In an effort to liberate performers from the constraints of traditional music notation as well, Cardew developed elaborate forms of graphic notation – all part of an explicit agenda of political consciousness and social action. These larger "ways of organizing," including interpretations of two sections from Cardew's The Great Learning (1968-71), are presented during The New School events in a structured environment that invites creative engagement and collaboration.

Vera List Center Fellow Robert Sember, a member of the sound-art collective Ultra-red and the School of Echoes, leads the accompanying colloquium and workshops in collaboration with faculty members from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Inspired by The Cardew Object at the ICA London (November 2009), these events are organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics as part of its 2009-2010 program theme "Speculating on Change."
    • John Tilbury - On Cardew
Listing includes participants of all three-day events. Visit DAY ONE, DAY TWO, and DAY THREE for more information.

Participants Include
Either/Or, new music ensemble and 2009-2010 Lang College Visiting Artists
Luke Fowler, artist and filmmaker, Glasgow
Danielle Goldman, dancer and faculty member, Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts
Sarah Montague, public radio producer and faculty member, Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts
Simonetta Moro, artist and faculty member, Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts
Evan Rapport, experimental musician and faculty member, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts
Ivan Raykoff, saxophonist, composer, and faculty member, Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts
Robert Sember, artist and 2009-2010 Vera List Center for Art and Politics Fellow
John Tilbury (via recording), pianist, member Scratch orchestra, and author of Cornelius Cardew – A Life Unfinished (2008)

Colloquium with Sound Installation and Film Screening
An Introduction to Cardew
Friday, April 9, 2010
65 West 11th Street (enter at 66 West 12th Street)

Sound samples installation by New School students: 6:00–6:30 p.m.
Introduction by Robert Sember: 6:30–7:00 p.m.
Film screening, followed by discussion: 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Cornelius Cardew's music and ideas – and their significance today as an artistic as well as pedagogical and political project – are introduced by Vera List Center Fellow Robert Sember. This is followed by a screening of Glasgow-based artist Luke Fowler's Pilgrimage from Scattered Points (2006, 45"), a film that explores the internal contradictions and struggles of Cardew's Scratch Orchestra through first person interviews, recent and archival footage, and original recordings.

"Filmmaker Luke Fowler depicts the Scratch Orchestra's composer Cornelius Cardew in action, resonating in a brilliant, impressionistic visual landscape. Sound and image unite to form a hypnotic and freely associating current, which reaches far into the subjective sphere of experimental film." - Hot Docs

Robert Sember and Luke Fowler are then joined by art historian Claire MacDonald and New School faculty members Ivan Raykoff and Evan Rapport in a closing discussion.

Sound samples culled from previous workshops are installed in the lecture hall and ring in the evening's events; pianist John Tilbury (via recording), Cardew's biographer and one of his closest associates, provides a call-to-action. __________________________________________________________________

How Can We Organize Collective Listening?
Saturday, April 10, 2010
12:00–6:00 p.m.
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
Admission: Free, advance reservations recommended at

New School faculty members Evan Rapport and Ivan Raykoff host a public workshop developed in collaboration with Lang College classes New Ears for New Music (Raykoff), Punk & Noise (Rapport), Politics of Improvisation (Danielle Goldman), Image/Text (Simonetta Moro), and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music class Cross-Cultural Improvisation (Rapport). Workshop participants are asked to collect sounds in response to a specific question relating to local and current social or political concerns, then explore procedures for collective listening and organized action following some of Cardew's models. Public participation encouraged – sound tools provided.


Sound Installation
What Did You Hear?
Sunday, April 11, 2010 12:00–6:00 p.m.
The Tank, 354 West 45th Street
Admission: $8

This session is a day-long public installation with collaborative performances and reflection facilitated by responses to the question: What did you hear? Inspired by the sound works produced in workshops held on Saturday, the day concludes with an open discussion of what is involved in constituting a collective of performers, and constituting a collective of listeners. The new-music ensemble Either/Or will also participate.
Organized and produced by the Tank Space for Performing and Visual Arts.