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New Humans

PERFORMANCE: 06-11-2008
LOCATION: Lingotto Fiere, Torino

New Humans, un collettivo fondato da Mika Tajima e Howie Chen, esplora l’intersecarsi di suono, installazione e performance all’interno del contesto della pratica artistica di Tajima. Gli elementi alla base dei progetti di Tajima vanno da sculture in primo piano a strutture di sfondo, evidenziando i segni, le strutture funzionali, il loro stato in continua transizione e produzione. Sfidando le aspettative del pubblico rispetto all’idea di scultura come presenza statica, Taijma combina installazioni multimediali con elementi performativi seriali dei New Humans che includono musica noise compressa in una composizione minimale. Un cambiamento costante di collaboratori da diverse discipline contribuisce ad un inflessibile strato di texture visuali e musicali, che creano un dialogo discordante.

NEW HUMANS/Mika Tajima - Performance curata da Nero Magazine con Cecilia Alemani

In risposta all’eredità e alla funzione di fabbrica del Lingotto, quale icona del progresso futurista, dell’efficienza produttiva e dell’architettura modernista, i New Humans presenteranno una performance nello scenario di una linea di “smontaggio” post-industriale che sarà collocato in fondo alla Rampa – luogo originale di partenza della produzione delle auto Fiat. Il progetto consisterà nell’installazione di una macchina capovolta su un’ampia pavimentazione di vetro a specchio, di torri formate da lattine di bibite, e delle sculture dell’artista Mika Tajima. I New Humans distruggeranno e smonteranno in modo sistematico la macchina e l’installazione utilizzando attrezzi elettrici che diventeranno parte di una intensa performance sonora. Gli attrezzi, la macchina e gli specchi saranno infatti “microfonati”, campionati e i suoni saranno amplificati live insieme alle sequenze sonore di chitarra e batteria. Anziché con i rumori di una catena di montaggio, i New Humans infonderanno energia allo spazio attraverso i rumori di una fabbrica intenta alla metodica distruzione di un’automobile, con il suono degli specchi che si infrangono al cadere dei vari pezzi della macchina, creando una dissonante e ritmica colonna sonora per la decostruzione di uno spazio fisico ed ideologico. La performance si ispira agli sforzi politici degli happening distruttivi messi in scena negli anni Sessanta dagli artisti del Fluxus, tra cui Gustav Metzger e Raphael Ortiz, declinando al presente i temi visivi e sonori del passato e utilizzando lo scenario del Lingotto come sfondo. A partire dal drammatico incidente di Marinetti con la sua Bugatti del 1908 per arrivare a quello di Jean Luc Godard, nel panorama culturale del tardo capitalismo; dalle prime e rivoluzionarie assemblee degli operai ai nuovi “figli di Marx e della Coca Cola”; New Humans propone una nuovafunzione per gli spazi dell’ex- fabbrica: la produzione di contraddizioni. Inaugurato nel 1923, il Lingotto fu reclamizzato come simbolo di modernismo architettonico e di conquista tecnologica. Descritto da Filippo Marinetti come la “prima invenzione di costruzione Futurista”, l’edificio si erse a rappresentazione delle idee proto-nazionaliste d’industrialismo esasperato, efficienza stile Ford e velocità meccaniche. Pur avendo catturato l’immaginazione delle avanguardie culturali, una volta assimilata dalla sfera sociale l’ideologia rivoluzionaria si ritrovò condannata dai conflitti politici del tempo, evidenziando quella linea sottile che divide il radicalismo culturale dal tradizionalismo reazionario.

BIO/INFO: Fondata nel 2003, i New Humans sono una band noise di New York, sotto il cui nome collaborano l’artista Mika Tajima e diversi musicisti, artisti e designer. Il progetto di Tajima è costituito da oggetti ed elementi in fase di continua transizione e produzione che vanno da sculture protagoni- stea oggetti di scena per lo sfondo, indicatori di posizione per il palco e vari mezzi artistici. Le performance sonore dei New Humans utilizzano ripetizioni di stimolazioni uditive conl’accompagna-mento perforante di bordoni, distorsioniimprovvise di segnale e accentuazione dei bassi. Come gruppo i New Humans hanno presentato installazioni e performance in spazi quali P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Museo Reina Sofia, Swiss Institute, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum e Circuit oltre a molti altri. Tra le ultime registrazioni da ricordare “AKA” per l’etichettaSemishigure di Berlino, che presenta una collaborazione sonora dei New Humans con l’architetto/artista Vito Acconci e con il musicista C. Spencer Yeh.Il lavoro di Mika Tajima è stato presentato nel 2008 alla Biennale del Whitney Museum 2008 e in una personale presso The Kitchen, New York. Opere dell’artista sono incluse nella mostra itinerante Sympathy for the Devil organizzata dal Museum of Contemporary Art di Chicago, mentre un nuovo progetto New Humans/Mika Tajima sarà esposto a breve al San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Mika Tajima è rappresentata dalla Elizabeth Dee Gallery di New York.

English Version

New Humans, a collaborative founded by Mika Tajima with Howie Chen, explores the intersecting strata of sound, installation, and performance within the context of Tajima’s visual art practice. The elements making up Tajima’s projects slip from foreground sculptures to background props, staging markers, and functional structures, their status in continual transition and production. Challenging the audience’s expectations of sculpture as a static presence, Tajima combines multimedia installations with serial performance elements by New Humans including sonically spare noise music grounded in Minimal composition and evoking a post– John Cage mayhem. A constantly changing roster of collaborators from different disciplines contributes to a relentless layering of visual and aural textures, creating a discordant dialogue.

NEW HUMANS/Mika Tajima - Performance curated by Nero Magazine with Cecilia Alemani

Countering the legacy and function of the Lingotto factory as an icon of Futurist progress, productive efficiency, and modernist architecture, New Humans will present a performance that is a scene for a post-industrial disassembly line located at the bottom of the Rampa — the original starting point for Fiat car production.Consisting of an installation of an overturned car on top of large sheets of mirrored glass, towers of beverage products, and prop-like sculptures by artist Mika Tajima, New Humans will methodically destroy and disassemble the car and the constructed scene utilizing power tools as part of a sonically intense sound performance. The tools, car, and mirrors will be microphoned, sampled, and amplified live along with guitar and drum sound sequences. Instead of sounds of a production assembly, New Humans will invigorate the space with noises of a working factory occupied with the methodical destruction of a car as its falling parts crack the surrounding floor of fragile mirrors, creating a dissonant and rhythmic soundtrack for the deconstruction of ideological and physical space. The performance draws on the specific political strains of destructive Fluxus happenings of the 1960s led by such artists as Gustav Metzger and Raphael Ortiz among others while connecting persistent visual and sonic themes from the past to the present using the context of the Lingotto as a backdrop. Starting from Marinetti’s precipitous Bugatti car crash in 1908 to the Jean Luc Godard’s car accident strewn cultural landscape of late capitalism; from early revolutionary factory worker councils to the new “children of Marx and Coca Cola”; New Humans proposes a new unexpected function for the once active factory space: the production of contradictions. 
Opened in 1923, the Fiat Lingotto building was touted as a symbol of architectural modernism and technological achievement. Described as the “first invention of Futurist construction” by Filippo Marinetti, the building had soon come to embody proto-nationalist ideas of convulsive industrialism, Fordist efficiency, and mechanized speed. While capturing the imagination of the cultural avant garde, this revolutionary ideology as it entered the social sphere became fated with the conflicted political forces of the time, highlighting the fine line between cultural radicalism and reactionary conservatism.

BIO/INFOFounded in 2003, New Humans is a New York based noise band and moniker for collaborative work by Mika Tajima with musicians, artists, and designers. The objects and elements making up Tajima’s projects slip from foreground sculptures to background props, staging markers, and functional structures, their status in continual transition and production. New Humans sound performances employ repetitive aural patterning and a working use of piercing drones, voluminous sheer static, and low bass frequencies. Members for this performance are Howie Chen, Mika Tajima, and Eric Tsai.
As a group, New Humans have presented installations and performances at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Reina Sofia Museum, Swiss Institute, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum, and Circuit, among others. Recent New Humans recording releases include “AKA” on Berlin-based Semishigure label, featuring New Humans sound collaboration with architect/artist Vito Acconci and musician C. Spencer
Yeh. Mika Tajima’s work was recently featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial this year in addition to a solo exhibition at The Kitchen, New York. Her work is currently included in the traveling exhibition “Sympathy for the Devil” organized by Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, with upcoming New Humans/Mika Tajima project at the San Francisco Museum of Modern art. Mika Tajima is represented by Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York.

Past Performances/Shows/Projects

2007

New Humans performance, Circuit, Lausanne, Switzerland
New Humans performance, Ballroom Marfa, Texas
New Humans performance collaboration with Vito Acconci and C. Spencer Yeh, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York.

2006

DIA Art Foundation Gala, New York, Grass Grows Forever in Every Possible Direction and Infinite Black Noise, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art TBA:06 Festival, Oregon, Record release performance in collaboration with Philippe Decrauzat Plate 28 installation. Swiss Institute, NY, Uncertain States of America (exhibition) featuring performance New Humans, Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
30-60-90: Airport War, First Nation, New Humans, with Jay Sanders. EFA, New York.
Performance in celebration of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s & Mark di Suvero’s Peace Tower at the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum , New York. Speakers & performers included Irving Petlin, Arnold Mesches, John Weber, Apeshit, Japanther, John Giorno, Momus, and Lynne Stewart, among others.

2005

New Humans, presented by the RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island.
New Humans, video screening, at Blueroom, Rome, Italy.
New Humans, installation/performance for the inaugural opening of Taller Publico, Mexico City, Mexico.
New Humans with Notekillers (ecstatic peace) at Cakeshop, New York.
Vídeo Música Vídeo, performance at El Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain. Curated by Bob Nickas.
Cosmic Microwave Background or the Problem with Interstellar Communication Breakdown, New Humans with Matt Suib, video sound collaboration at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
New Humans, installation and sound performances at Walker Art Center inaugural event, Minneapolis
Cosmic Microwave Background or the Problem with Interstellar Communication Breakdown, New Humans with Matt Suib, video sound collaboration at Apex Art, New York
New Humans, Dj Olive + Toshio Kajiwara + Markus Miller + Dj North Guinea Hills, Tyondai Braxton, Services, Dub Trio, Talibam at Tonic, New York. Benefit for Steve Kurtz of Critical Art Ensemble.
Performance for Rirkrit Tiravanija Untitled 2002 (he promised) installation organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Broken Meter, performance and installation for The Freedom Salon presented at Deitch Projects, New York.
Grass Grows Forever in Every Possible Direction, presented by Lighting for Urban Rooftop Environments in conjunction with The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.
Clothing collaboration with Whole Cloth and New Humans Video #1 included in Drunk vs. Stoned, Gavin Brown’s Passerby, New York
Grass Grows Forever in Every Possible Direction, Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, New York
Installation design collaboration, Mika Tajima and United Bamboo

In 2003, Mika Tajima began collaboration with United Bamboo on designing a new sculptural clothing piece titled “Grass Grows Forever in Every Possible Direction”. Four unique pieces were created and utilized in two performances at the Swiss Institute Contemporary Art in NYC.

2004

New York Armory Show, Swiss Institute Contemporary Art booth, New York. Performance and clothing collaboration.
New Cheese Human Burger Mashup Trashup, Gavin Brown’s Passerby, New York. Performance in collaboration with Cheeseburger

2003

Color Séance, Maccarone Inc., New York
Installation and sound performance. Organized by Sherman Magazine.

2003

Blimp Derby Invitational 2003, Sculpture Center, LIC, New York
Performance featured at Olav Westphalen’s Blimp Derby

* Past participants include Danny Barria, Nick Phillips, and Bella Foster.

Select Press/Print

- Cain, Nick, New Humans - AKA, Wire, 291, 2008. recording review
- Sonnenborn, Katie, New Humans, Frieze, 2007. exhibition review
- Ventur, Conrad, New Humans, USELESS, Issue 5 2007. interview with Mika Tajima
- Ed Pinsent, New Humans, The Sound Projector, Issue 15, 2007. review Disassociate
- Momus, The iceberg listens, melts, 8/06, review of Disassociate
- H., the hypothetical brave new world, 8/06, review
- Nordschow, Randy, New Music Box/American Music Center, 7/06 review of Disassociate
- imomus, 4/06 on Whitney Museum performance
- Ridge, Tom, New Humans (review), Wire, 9/05
- Baumes, Ben. New Humans (review), Repellentzine, 6/21/05
- Giattino, Gabrielle. “Ones to Watch: New Humans”, Artkrush,Issue #04. 4/17-23/05
- The Museum as Amplifier, Domus Issue 881, 5/05.
- Ritter, P. Lost and Found, City Pages Minneapolis, 5/20/05
- Nordschow, Randy.You Must be Free: New Humans (review), New Music Box/American Music Center, 5/05
- Backstorm, Fia. New Humans, Lesser New York (exhibition pub.), 3/17/05
- Conte, Kari.Audio/Video (exhibition pub.), Apex Art, 2/05.
- Laster, Paul.Flavorspy: New Humans (interview), Flavorpill, 9/05
- After the Riots, Repellentzine, 9/05
- Laster, Paul.Creative Protest, Flavorpill, 9/05
- “Gavin Brown’s Passerby,” Flash Artonline.com, 5/04.
- Armetta, Amoreen. “Along for the ride,” Time Out New York, 3/11-18/04.
 

LISTEN TO: MANDOLIN SONG

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LISTEN TO: READY SET GO

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