Created across the distances of the Covid era, The Vanishing Point spirals in the anxious euphoria and isolation of our time.
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The Vanishing Point – a collaboration between experimental musicians Booker Stardrum and Lisel (aka Eliza Bagg), and dancer/choreographer Gwendolyn Gussman – is a piece of music & dance conceived as video art and intended for the digital stage.
Created across the distances of the Covid era, The Vanishing Point spirals in the anxious euphoria and isolation of our time. One lonely body in uncanny spaces is accompanied only by digital manipulations and iterations of her own form. The piece meditates on the chaos of cyberspace and the destruction of the oceans, atmosphere, and trees, and our own culpability in precipitating these events.
The work brings together Stardrum’s textural electronic production and percussion with the sweeping, ethereal world of Lisel’s “fractured, futurist form of pop” (WNYC). Lisel’s musical practice is grounded in her extensive career as a vocalist of Renaissance, Baroque and minimalist/post-minimalist singing styles, as she “disintegrates her voice into a euphoric, Auto-Tuned goo, emerging from the other side of the abyss an electro-pop alien” (NPR).
Lisel (Eliza Bagg):
Called “otherworldly, warped” (Stereogum) and “billowing, crystalline” (Gorilla vs. Bear), Lisel is the sweeping, ethereal avant-pop project of vocalist and experimental musician Eliza Bagg.
As a vocalist, Bagg has collaborated across genres with many prominent experimental artists — from performing in Meredith Monk’s opera Atlas with the LA Philharmonic to touring regularly as a member of Roomful of Teeth, or playing the role of Ape in Michael Gordon’s Acquanetta. She has performed as a soloist with the world’s top orchestras; including the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony. She has worked with and premiered music by composers such as John Zorn, Caroline Shaw, David Lang, Julianna Barwick, Christopher Cerrone, and Ellen Reid, in venues ranging from Disney Hall and Lincoln Center to The Kitchen and Iceland Airwaves.
The otherworldly landscape of her self-produced music— usually beginning with manipulated vocal samples, processed vocal improvisations, or patterns built from extended techniques— is grounded by her voice. As Lisel, Bagg has received particular recognition for her use of extended vocal method and unique vocal sound, which Pitchfork compared to "a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy.”
Booker Stardrum is a Los Angeles based performer-composer. His recent compositions are sculptural, carved from the dense layering of instruments, a focus on pan-tonality and an intuitive approach to rhythm. Stardrum’s sophomore album Temporary etc. (NNA, 2018) is a highly personal amalgamation of electro-acoustics, minimalism, ambient, jazz, and experimental electronic music.
Using integrative sampler technology, Stardrum’s newest live solo set seamlessly synthesizes acoustic and electronic sounds. Drums, cymbals, and bells with deconstructed and reimagined recorded samples of horn instruments, vocals, synthesizers, and other collected sonic ephemera ebb and flow on the aural shore. Aside from his solo practice, Stardrum has recorded and performed with rock-based groups like Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Landlady, Lee Ranaldo, and Weyes Blood; in addition to more experimental and improvisational collaborations with Nels Cline, VaVatican, and more.
Stardrum has toured in the US, Europe, Asia, and South America and performed at festivals such as Meltdown (U.K.), Brighton (U.K), Rewire (NL), Le Guess Who (NL), Festival Bo:m (ROK), Ecstatic Music (US) and Hopscotch (US). His discography includes solo and collaborative releases on independent labels such as NNA Tapes, Northern Spy Records, Mexican Summer, Saddle Creek, Prom Night Records and Home Tapes.
Gwendolyn Gussman is a performing artist, choreographer and movement teacher based between NYC and Colorado. She is also the founder and artistic director of HOLDTIGHT, an interdisciplinary and experimental dance theater company. The productions are often interactive, participatory, multi-sensory, rooted in psychology and curiosity.
As a performing artist, Gussman has worked with Shen Wei Dance Arts, Sean Curran Company, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, Vanessa Walters’ “Ripening”, Heidi Latsky, Control Group Productions, Cleo Parker Robinson, Roger C. Jeffrey, comedian Amy Sedaris, dir. Daniel Fish, dir. Ashley Tata, and others. She has had the pleasure of performing at venues like Lincoln Center, Stanislavsky Theater in Moscow, Shanghai Cultural Square Theater, Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, Teatro Comunale Modena, American Dance Festival, Spoleto Festival, Theater Olympics Festival in Beijing, and others.
Gussman has taught and performed at Yale University, James Madison University, Denver School of the Arts, Seaside Dance Festival, Nimbus DanceWorks Offline Series, YourMove Festival, Opening Act NYC, BOUNCE, etc. Gussman holds a BFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She and HOLDTIGHT are Artists-in-Residence at The Cell Theater in NYC for 2020-2021.