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Open House Open Studios 7 August 2012

For the Clocktower's August Open House, artist and composer Matthew Ostrowski premieres his unending composition for computer-controlled rotary telephones, and the Ashcan Orchestra performs in anticipation of its opera, "Apollo's Accidental Answer," coming in September. All other galleries, studios, and long-term exhibits are on view as well.

Matthew Ostrowski's "The Host" is an installation for an array of computer-controlled rotary telephones. Using swarm intelligence and small-world network algorithms, Ostrowski transforms the phones into a flock of obsolete instruments with an atavistic sentience: Not the advanced consciousness of communication devices as we fantasize them, but a primitive will whose intentions are utterly alien to us, expressed in a language of peals and clicks. The Host aims to unfold the formal object of the telephone by reshaping its familiar sonic and social relations, reconsidering it as orchestra, bedlam, hive, and site of exchange.

Matthew Ostrowski is a composer, musician, and installation artist who has been working with electronic media since the 1980s. His work has been seen or performed on five continents, including the Wien Modern Festival, the Kraków Audio Art Festival, Sonic Acts in Amsterdam, P.S.1 and The Kitchen in New York, The Melbourne Festival, and Dis_locate in Yokohama. His dense and complex works can be heard on over a dozen recordings. His multimedia work has included installations with light bulbs, television sets, and the World Wide Web. He is currently active as a member of the audio/video trio Fair Use, doing performances based on sped-up film classics, and in the duo KRK with contrabass player George Cremaschi.

The Ashcan Orchestra is simultaneously the audio/visual work of composer P. Spadine, a large collection of toy, re-appropriated, and "real" instruments, and a revolving performance ensemble based in Bushwick, NY. Since 2007 the ensemble has been popping up in D.I.Y. style and art house venues thoughout NYC and the eastern seaboard, employing everything from children's handbells, prepared tape recorders, stacks of discarded televisions, homemade circuitry, colored lightbulbs, mirrors, to more widely accepted noisemakers to create new music in forms more familiar than the instrumentation would lead the listener to believe. This process from humble and understandable beginnings to grander and more complex ends, has been a vehicle to both celebrate and emulate the physics that bind the known universe. Hailing from the nefarious Le Wallet, Ashcan has shared space, members, and ideas with many like minded groups, including Chubby Behemoth, LuxLuxLuster, Cavex, PC Worship and The Dreebs.

Matthew Ostrowski: The Host

During his summer residency at The Clocktower, artist and composer Matthew Ostrowski is developing a new composition for computer-controlled rotary telephones. Developing robotic control over the bells, he composes an environment based on swarm intelligence and small-world network algorithms, creating a carillon taking maximum advantage of the limited set of sonic options available to a traditional rotary phone. The completed composition and installation is on view throughout August 2012 in one of the Clocktower's Project Rooms. Visitors are invited to walk or sit among the phones. Recommended listening time is 20 minutes. Free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 12-5 p.m. Hear samples of Ostrowski's work and his conversation with David Weinstein recorded during the residenecy period HERE. This work is an unending musical work for a carillon of automated telephone bells. Using computer models based on swarm intelligence amongst organisms such as crickets and fireflies, small-world network algorithms, and Markov chains, The Host is both an environmental installation and a duration-based piece of music.

The Ashcan Orchestra

The performances of the Orchestra's residency opera project, "Apollo's Accidental Answer" took place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, September 12, 13, and 14, 2012.