Comfort Station Logan Square is presenting a new experimental music series co-curated by Nick Meryhew, Alex Grimes, Rebecca Himelstein, Allen Moore, and Adam Shanley. The series is an attempt to curate experimental music across multiple music/performance communities, as well as across a diversity of identities, so as to facilitate creative exchange and coalition. In anticipation of the first show of the series on December 17th, we asked the curators to answer some questions about the process and Saturday’s lineup. The series will run monthly starting in March.
1. How did you come together as a group of curators? What is your process, curating as a group?
Adam: The Comfort Station was looking to produce a monthly experimental music series, and they brought five of us on to curate it. We’ve all had a variety of experiences with curating and putting on concerts. I guess we’re sort of renegade arts admins.
There isn’t just one process at work when we are curating as a group. We are all approaching things from sometimes wildly different angles. All five of us are interested in experimental art, and when you put five people like that in a room together there’s going to be a lot of common ground. All decisions have to be agreed upon by all five of us. By doing things that way we can all feel like this is a group effort, and a representation of each of our interests; we’re able to find that common ground.
When we first started we came up with lists of people who are active in various music circles in Chicago. We shared bandcamp and soundcloud links, listened to as much as we could, picked things we each liked and just started narrowing the list down. That narrowing down process was never evaluative, it was more an exploration of our curatorial goals. Our process has gotten us all really excited about what we’re doing and I know that we are all thrilled to have the opportunity to try out some ideas.
2. What is the defining idea behind Gather as a series? What are your goals over the next season/several months?
Rebecca: Our goal with Gather is to create connection and exchange between the different experimental music and sound scenes, communities, and practices in Chicago. We are bringing together practitioners from different backgrounds with similar conceptual interests and concerns to meet one another, exchange ideas and to provide both artists and audiences with a chance to participate in the multitude of approaches to experimental making.
3. Tell us about the upcoming concert next week: how did you choose the artists? Is there a theme for this concert specifically?
Nick: The three artists performing this Saturday– Alejandro Acierto, Mitsu Salmon, and AJ McClenon– are artists that each deal uniquely with voice, communication, and storytelling. We feel this constitutes a strong through-line in their work, though they each approach the material of the voice quite differently. AJ’s work focuses on the interplay between subjectivity and truth in narrative, Mitsu’s work is intertwined with her own identity and personal stories, and Alejandro’s work deals with the the materials of the voice (specifically breath) to reflect on transformation, marginalization, and struggle. Our goal for this concert, and for the series, is to present artists from different artistic communities and perspectives who are working in connected ways- the idea here, as Rebecca put it, is to facilitate creative exchange and dialogue.