Composer, soprano, improviser and multimedia artist Elise Kermani, specialized in avantgarde performances, utilizes all the resources that current technology has to offer in the development of her creativity, which displays an exquisitely elegant theatrical sense, always applying electronic effects to transform her peculiar vocal techniques. By combining sound and poetry with real and imaginary words, extended vocal techniques and electronic processing of sounds, together with movement, this artist composes a kind of music where the sonic sources are pure, clear, and later transformed into something warm and very special indeed. Kermani usually performs solo, although she also has collaborated with renowned video artists, computer programmers and designers, in her multidisciplinary creations. Likewise, she often collaborates with the New Music ensemble "Trousers".
Elise Kermani comments on her views about art and the role that artists have in society: "Artists have the power to transform themselves and others through the process of making art, and, through the experience of witnessing the creative product. Artists have a responsibility to be aware of their physical surroundings, to be informed of the reality in world situations and in the human condition. We must strive to be scientists by discovering a new world and a new language. We have a social responsibility to incorporate the use of new technology into our work, just as modern science, business and education has - not as a defensive reaction to our changing technology, but as an integrated leader."
Kermani receives her musical education, specializing in Composition, at the DePauw University, in Greencastle, IN (USA), and graduates with her composition "Lullaby" in 1983.
The works by this composer worth mentioning are the following:
Mandala" (1984), whose score was painted opn a large sheet.
"Crystal Mass" - "Common Language" (1988), a work composed in collaboration with a sculptor and a choreographer using MasterPiece software, synthesizer and voice.
"Mass of the Crimson Ark" (1990), composed for four singers, twenty rock performers and a percussionist.
"THe HearTH" (1991), for three performers and video, where a meal is prepared, cooked, the table is laid, and everything is burned onstage, as the sounds are processed live.
"Daughters of Rejection" (1991), for two performers, two musicians, processed violin, marbles, plastic sheets, drums and voice. Utilizing texts from the Koran, this work is a homage to the daughters of the ancient Arab world, and is about a young girl who comes back from the dead to violently haunt her father.
"Inanna (Ritual of Descent)" (1992), a piece belonging to the New Music opera "Orpheus and Euridike", directed by Johannes Birringer. The plot tells about a woman in an asylum trying to speak about her rape, while several phantoms dialogue with her, and she is ritually bathed in a plexiglass tub.
"Artem(Is) Rising" (1993), an interactive performance with video, incorporates texts from the New York Times, the Iran Times, The Bible and the Coran to create a female vision of sexuality. In this work the artist utilizes the infrared motion sensor Body Chime to control the synthesizer sequences together with partial random sequences.
"Scriptures" (1993), a solo piece incorporatimg texts from the Coran and the Iran Times, examines the paradox and the politics of the Chador or Iranian veil imposed on women. In this work, the artist collaborates with videoartist Benton Bainbridge.
"Private Eye/Public Hand" (1993), is a sonic performance/installation in collaboration with multimedia artist Nancy Meli Walker.
"Mother Tongue" (1994), a solo performance with text and vocal processing.
Her most recent works imply a reduced number of male and female characters, each one of whom represents a different aspect of human emotion through the myths they narrate with their bodies and their voices in an abstract, supernatural yet clear language. The interest the artist feels in language is also seen in her solo performance directed by Rachel Wineberg, with "Dreaming the Page", a trilogy including "Mother Tongue", "My Father Fell from the Sky" and "Oh, Oh, Oh Fricative", where she explores the family relationships with language, this being a performance of a non-lineal character where Kermani displays her extensive vocal techniques electronically processed, alternating the characters of a young man and his mother.
Elise Kermani has supervised the recording of a CD collection devoted to experimental vocalists, "The DICE Project", under the label Ishtar Record, of MiShinnah Productions, whose participants range from solo works to several ensemble pieces and different bands, to women composers, workshops, lectures and conferences.
Her works have been performed in prestigious institutions, such as The Kitchen, Experimental Intermedia, The Knitting Factory, La Galleria, HERE,Dia Center for the Arts,The Roulette, CB's Gallery, Context, Ward-Nasse Gallery, DCTV, NADA Theatre, Ceres Gallery, Ohio Theatre, KCRW Radio Columbia University, ABC No Rio, New Radio and Performing Art, Lotus Fine Arts, The Texas Gallery, DiverseWorks Artspace, Contemporary Arts Museum, Lawndale Performance Art Center, Commerce Street Artist's Warehouse, The Homage Club, The Axiom, Pic-N-Pac, Downtown Grounds, The Artery, Arts Alive! Access Houston TV, KPFT, KTRU, Randolph St. Gallery, Hot House, Chicago Filmmakers, Roosevelt University, Experimental Sound Studio, Cafe Voltaire, Links Hall, Northwestern University, Organic Theatre, NAPA Conference, LOS ANGELES LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), Beyond Baroque, System 'M', The Llasha Club, California State University, Harbour College, X=Art, The Anti-Club, KPFT, KXLU, The Marsh, New Music Across America (Soundpost), Sonic Disturbance Music Festival, Cleveland Performance Art Festival. Likewise, her music has been programmed on different radio stations all over the world.
(By Montse Andreu)
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