My Silent One (In The Sweetness of Time)
From October 25 – November 15, PARTICIPANT INC is proud to present the premiere of My Silent One (In The Sweetness of Time), a collaborative live environment by Tom Kalin and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), as part of Performa's 10th Anniversary, Performa 15.
The core installation, My Silent One, consists of eleven linked films shot over many years in super-8 and mini DV, synthesized by Kalin in response to an eleven-track LP by Bartlett. These films will be projected on the rear wall of the gallery every day in a continuous 42-minute loop. On the two flanking walls, synchronized with the main screen, are recent high-resolution images, creating a tension between past and present. The films are accompanied by recordings of Doveman’s introspective compositions, or, at various unannounced times, by Bartlett in person.
At 5:30pm each day, there will be a transition, as a second piece overlaps with the first. My Silent One will continue on the main screen without accompaniment, as the flanking walls are taken over by In the Sweetness of Time. This footage was primarily shot over the last year, and is accompanied by music composed by Bartlett in response to Kalin’s images. The piece will also be projected on the glass doors of the gallery, becoming gradually more visible as the sky darkens, turning the exhibition within the gallery into a more public event. On November 7, for just one evening, In the Sweetness of Time will supplant My Silent One entirely, and an exploded version of the long-running footage will be presented in an eight-hour screening event from twilight until midnight, with live performance by Doveman throughout.
Kalin says of this work: “My mother died March 17, 2009 and, in the following months, I woke each dawn to photograph the sunrise. She’d been an early riser and I clung to this shared gesture for comfort. Thomas Bartlett and I were just becoming friends, and when he released the 2009 Doveman album, The Conformist, I responded to his intimate arrangements and spare lyrics. Over the next four years, My Silent One accumulated – a discrete film for each of his eleven studio tracks. The Conformist captures the quicksilver shifts of the heart from breathless young love to the wounds of a broken relationship. My challenge was to find visual and rhythmic corollaries that reinterpreted the songs, which become, in my series of films, a meditation on time and ultimately death. The imagery spans 27 years and is populated by the people I’ve known and loved – some living, some dead. The elegy extends to the medium. In the last of these years, my once commonplace super-8 camera was rapidly being turned into a nostalgic artifact by high-resolution cameras, and Kodachrome, with its lush palette and grain, had already been lost to the market forever. In 2014, when I was invited to participate in the Andy Warhol Film Project, this immersion in Warhol’s films was like a shot in the heart and directly inspired the imagery of In The Sweetness of Time. I decided over the next year I would shoot five minutes of footage for each of 144 days. Thousands of high-resolution still photographs were later stitched into moving image. There were nights under freezing stars or in the gloaming high over the skyscrapers of Manhattan. I photographed eighty people and animals while they slept and learned the pulse-quickening magic of photographing fireflies and the night skies. Thomas was by now a fixture in my process and we traded footage and music, gradually building this body of work.”
Bartlett says: “Seeing the first films Tom Kalin made for My Silent One was an uncanny experience because I realized that, without knowing it, I’d been involved in a very intimate collaboration — that Tom was engaged in an intense and fruitful conversation with a past version of myself. These films unlock something that was hidden inside my songs, make legible their secret agenda. That collaboration grew into a friendship, and In The Sweetness of Time grew out of that friendship, a shared marking of time and tabulation of love, loss, and mourning. It also reversed the collaborative process, with me composing music in response to Tom’s images.”
Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) is a pianist and producer known for his work with Antony and the Johnsons, The National, The Gloaming, Martha Wainwright, David Byrne and many others. He has produced records for Glen Hansard, Sam Amidon, Anna Calvi, Trixie Whitley, and Dawn Landes. As a curator and music director he produced "Blood and the Moon", a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Yeats' birth, at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and has a long running concert series, the Burgundy Stain Sessions. 2016 will see a new record of songs by Bartlett and Nico Muhly entitled "Peter Pears", a record by Martha Wainwright, and an ongoing collaboration with Philippe Parreno.
Tom Kalin is known for narrative features and short experimental work. His first feature, Swoon, was awarded the Caligari Prize, the Fipresci Prize, Best Cinematography at Sundance and the Open Palm at the Gotham Awards. Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, premiered in Cannes, and screened at Sundance, London and Tribeca among many others. As a producer his films include I Shot Andy Warhol and Go Fish. He was a writer of Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer. He has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial. A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Kalin’s work is in the collection of the Centre George Pompidou, The Whitney and MoMA. He is a founding member of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury.
The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.