OLIVEROS, Pauline; IONE; WILLES, Christopher
Resonance Gathering (2LP + Flexi disc + Book)
A publication centered on the music of avant-garde composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). Organized by multidisciplinary artist Christopher Willes and the collective Public Recordings, the release documents a large-scale performance project of Oliveros’s music that occurred in Tkaronto—Toronto between 2017-2019 which concluded with a performance at Toronto City Hall. Resonance Gathering shares audio recordings, a new sound poem by IONE (artist and Oliveros’ spouse), writing, photography and more — in a multimodal exploration of how Oliveros’s work continues to resonate with our time.
The project gathered nineteen interdisciplinary performers to collectively reinterpret Oliveros’s score To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation (1970)—a work for sound and light that was written in response to the anxiety and political unrest of 1968 in America. Organized by multidisciplinary artist Christopher Willes and the collective Public Recordings, the ensemble included artists from dance, theatre, music, and visual arts, all performing together as musicians in a series of open rehearsals at various community spaces in Tkaronto—Toronto.
The project concluded with a final performance of Oliveros’s piece in Council Chambers Toronto City Hall. The local political situation at the time had become unexpectedly tense: in the midst of an election the provincial conservative government redrew ward boundaries and reduced council membership almost in half. The context brought a new resonance to Oliveros’ score, which proposes a self-governing system for group music making. And so the performance took place between empty councillors’ desks, among the spectres of representational politics, in a room where debates and decisions about togetherness have tangible consequences.
Resonance Gathering extends this project into a publication. The LP opens with a new sound poem by IONE (artist and Oliveros’ spouse) that was recorded in their home in Kingston New York in 2021. Part guided meditation, part dream, the fifty one lines of text and silences evoke the passage of time between 1970- 2021. Side B/C/D share a lush, 45 minute recording of the City Hall performance, captured in a quadraphonic format that subtly moves the listener into ghostly spaces throughout the ensemble. The release also includes a book with writing, a previously unpublished text by Oliveros, photography by Claire Harvie, and a Flexi Disc and score that invites new listening experiments.
To Valerie... marked an important shift in Oliveros’s work, away from traditional compositional methods and towards sonic-somatic practices that call for radically inclusive forms of listening. Deep Listening, as she would later call it, can bring out “resonant connections that lie beyond the surface of our consciousness and help us change [...] and grow.” Revisiting the piece fifty years after its premiere, this release explores how Oliveros’s ideas and music continue to resonate with our time. [publishers’ note]
Contributing artists: Anne Bourne, Allison Cameron, Victoria Cheong, Ishan Davé, Prices Easy, Ellen Furey, Thom Gill, Claire Harvie, Ame Henderson, Ione, Brendan Jensen, Germaine Liu, Jeremy McCormick, JL Simonson, Kate Nankervis, Pauline Oliveros, Bee Pallomina, Liz Peterson, Heather Saumer, Brian Solomon, Anni Spadafora, Evan Webber, and Christopher Willes.