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John Supko & Bill Seaman, s_traits



The soundtrack from the performance at the launch for composer John Supko's CD release, s_traits, created in collaboration with media artist Bill Seaman and the intelligent computer program, bearings_traits. The performance features musicians from Wet Ink Ensemble, performing alongside bearings_traits' spontaneously generated music, composed by navigating an 110-hour database of audio samples and forging them into multitrack pieces in real time. To complement the music, a video program, arranged by Seaman, projects free-form images in the space.

This October 2014 event was co-presented by Clocktower Productions and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation in association with New Amsterdam Records.

Supko and Seaman spent three years collecting audio source material, including field recordings, analog and digital noise, acoustic and electronic instruments, cassette tapes, recordings of Seaman and Supko playing the piano, and soundtracks from documentaries made in the 1960’s and 70‘s. The bearings_traits program, designed by Supko, selects samples from this database and juxtaposes them to create spontaneous, multi-track compositions, that Supko and Seaman shaped into the 77-minute album. Each track of s_traits opens with a fragment of text written and read by Seaman, assigned randomly by the software, which serves as both introduction and title to the individual pieces.

John Supko explores intersections between traditional music, computer generated audio, spoken word art, and live performance. Supko also experiments with new forms of documentation for his music, with works such as A Free Invention for George Pitcher, a software that "performs" a new version of itself each time it is activated. Currently the Hunt Family Assistant Professor of Music at Duke University, Supko holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (BM) and Princeton University (PhD).

Bill Seaman's work similarly focuses on interactive computational meta-meaning systems and an expanded technological poetics. His music combines his own structured piano improvisations, composed selections of samples, and computational and analog abstractions. He is Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University. Seaman holds degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA), MIT (MSVisS) and the Center for Advanced Inquiry in Interactive Art at the University of Wales (PhD).

Wet Ink Ensemble is a septet configuration, comprised of a core group of composer-performers: Erin Lesser (flutes), Joshua Modney (violin), Ian Antonio (percussion), Kate Soper (vocals), Alex Mincek (saxophones), Eric Wubbels (piano), and Sam Pluta (electronics). The members of the Ensemble collaborate in a band-like fashion – writing, improvising and preparing pieces together over long stretches of time.
 

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Clocktower Exhibits & Events is home to an archive of interviews with artists, curators, musicians, organizers, and more who have participated in Clocktower exhibitions and events throughout our organization’s history.

Many of the below recordings were documented while Clocktower was in the midst of a transformation. The original name, The Clocktower Gallery, was given to the exhibition, residency, and performance space in TriBeCa, founded by alternative spaces movement pioneer Alanna Heiss in 1972. After 2001, the Clocktower Gallery re-inaugurated its exhibition programming in 2005 as part of MoMA/PS1 and, after 2008, under the auspices of Art International Radio. In 2013, we moved on from our downtown Manhattan location, and have since renamed the organization Clocktower Productions, a title which encompasses our radio, exhibition, and event programming.

For more Clocktower history, listen to The Clocktower Oral History Project, in which such figures as Vito Acconci, Bill Beirne, Colette, Jeffrey Deitch, Mary Heilmann, Jene Highstein, Ann Magnuson, Richard Nonas and Joel Shapiro reflect upon their experiences with this unique New York space. Organized by artist Nancy Hwang for the Fall 2009 AVANT-GUIDE TO NYC: Discovering Absence exhibition at apexart.


NB: Clocktower Radio was launched by MoMA/PS1 in 2004 as the Web's first art radio station. It has been independent since 2009 and is licensed to host content created under PS1 management. Programs produced prior to 2011 may refer to our earlier URLs and station IDs, including WPS1.org, artonair.org, and Art International Radio. For the complete history of Clocktower Radio, read our Mission & History section. 

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