Zeena Parkins

SUN 22 Mar 2015, 19:00 & 21:00

Zeena Parkins

Zeena Parkins

© Heike Liss

Past Dates

Zeena Parkins is among performance composers like Elliott Sharp, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Butch Morris and Chris Cutler who easily move between different musical forms of expression, between free improvisation and contemporary composition, Noise music and advanced pop to music for film and dance. The invention of new instruments is as characteristic as the deconstruction and electrification of traditional instruments. For Zeena Parkins, it is the acoustic harp, which she converted to a “sound machine with endless possibilities”.

“J’ai plus de souvenirs que” (“I have more memories than”) is the name of the new work by the composer and performer, who was a guest of the DAAD’s Berlin artists’ programme in 2014, and was designed to fill an entire evening. The starting point is Walter Benjamin’s archival legacy of letters, card indexes, images, scribbles, books, wordplays. It is the mnemonics technique used in this archive that Zeena Parkins found fascinating about Benjamin, the invisible thread that holds together and makes sense of the apparent hodgepodge. As a composer and improviser, she researches how colours, numeric games, wordplay and visual structures such as lists, colour codes, strokes can be used as a dispositive of a score in Benjamin’s manuscripts in order to initiate musical processes, develop improvisation strategies and generate an animated sound space via a set of loudspeakers.

“J’ai plus de souvenirs que” consciously works with the stage space at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, which becomes a sonic and multi-layered space of remembrance.

Zeena Parkins
J’ai plus de souvenirs que (2014) WP

Laurent Bruttin clarinet
Tony Buck percussion
Magda Mayas piano/keyboard
Sébastien Roux electronics (part III)
Christian Kesten recorded voice
Zeena Parkins harp
Matthew Ostrowski sound direction / electronics (part I and II)
tuned copper bowls by Leon Schneiderman

Co-production of Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik and Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD

Thanks to the Walter Benjamin Archive of the Akademie der Künste Berlin