GRADUAL SMALL FIRES (AND A BOWL OF RESONANT MILK)
STEVE RODEN, US
FORMAT: CD + BOOK + DIGITAL
CAT. N.: 9ED014
RELEASE DATE: 21 DECEMBER, 2020
TEXTS BY DANIELA CASCELLA, MICHAEL NED HOLTE, STEVE RODEN
DRAWINGS, SOUNDS: STEVE RODEN
A5 FORMAT (14,8 X 21 CM / 5.8 X 8.3 IN)
60 PP. (COLOUR)
DESIGN: MOTE STUDIO
From Steve Roden:
"Gradual Small Fires (And A Bowl Of Resonant Milk), was commissioned by the University of Hong Kong’s New Media School, and more specifically, the work was created initially for Daniel Libeskind’s building for the University’s CMC (Creative Media Center). For the grand opening of the building, several sound and new media artists were invited to create works on site.
The work consisted of 5 different pieces – each object constructed of plexiglass, and each sound work anchored by a recording of a fire that I had made in Denmark 10 years or so ago. I added sounds (such as bells, rocks, guitar, field recordings), and everything was manipulated, for the most part with analog guitar pedals.
Each sound/sculpture was placed in a discreet location, generally a space that seemed to have no use. The pieces were relatively quiet, and the hope was that a student or visitor would happen upon these works accidentally, and that the piece would then offer a diversion.
My goal was to complete a piece for every photo in Ruscha’s Book.
Along with the five works exhibited at the CMC in Hong Kong, a 6th piece, Gradual Small Fire 5, was commissioned for the exhibition “Sound art. Sound as a Medium of Art” at the ZKM in Karlsruhe."
Read more here.
Steve Roden is a visual and sound artist from Los Angeles, living in Pasadena. His work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, sound installation, text and performance.
Roden’s working process uses various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) and translates them through self invented systems into scores, which then influence the process of painting, drawing, sculpture, and composition. These scores, rigid in terms of their parameters and rules, are also full of holes for intuitive decisions, failures and left turns. The inspirational source material becomes a kind of formal skeleton that the abstract finished works are built upon.
In the visual works, translations of information such as text and maps, become rules and systems for generating visual actions such as color choices, number of elements, amounts of time and form building.
In the sound works, singular source materials such as objects, architectural spaces, and field recordings, are abstracted through humble electronic processes to create new audio spaces, or possible landscapes. The sound works present themselves with an aesthetic Roden has described as lower case – sound concerned with subtlety and the quiet activity of listening.
Roden has been exhibiting his visual and sound works since the mid 1980’s, and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally, including: Mercosur Biennial Porto Alegre Brazil, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, UCLA Hammer Museum Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art EMST Athens Greece, Singuhr-Horgalerie in Parochial Berlin, Center for Book Arts New York, The Kitchen New York, Pomona College Museum of Art, La Casa Encendida Madrid, Susanne Vielmetter LA and Berlin Projects, Studio la Citta Verona Italy, and others. In 2010, curator Howard Fox organized the exhibition “steve roden / in between: a 20 year survey”, which opened at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, and was accompanied by a full color catalog.
Roden has performed his soundworks at various arts spaces and experimental music festivals worldwide including: Serpentine Gallery London, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, DCA Dundee Scotland, Redcat Los Angeles, Crawford Gallery Cork Ireland, as well as performance tours of Brazil and Japan. Recent performances include John Cage’s Cartridge Music with composer Mark Trayle at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and a tribute to Rolf Julius at the Hamburger Banhof Berlin. Since 1993, Roden has released numerous CDs under his own name as well as under the moniker “in be tween noise” on various record labels internationally.
Recent has created numerous site-specific sound works for spaces such as MOCA at the Pacific Design Center in response to a group of paintings by Mark Rothko, the Henry Art Gallery’s James Turrell Skyspace, the Mak center for Art and Architecture/Schindler House in Los Angeles, a live collaboration with Stephen Vitiello in a room of 50 pieces of sculpture by Donald Judd at Chinati, Daniel Libeskind’s Run Run Shaw new media building at City University of Hong Kong, a sound/sculpture/drawing installation for Thomas U. Walter’s 1848 building at Girard College Philadelphia for the Hidden City festival, and a permanent public artwork at Hayvenhurst Park, in West Hollywood California.
In 2008, the Getty Research Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA) and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), commissioned Roden to direct a reconstruction/reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s seminal performance “18 Happenings in 6 Parts”. Collaborators and participants included: Michael Ned Holte, Simone Forti, Rae Shao-Lan Blum, Steve Irvin, Flora Wiegmann, Stephanie Smith, Elonda Billera, Skylar Haskard, Roy Dowell, Renee Petropoulos, Justin Lowman, Elizabeth Leister, Fran Siegel, Brad Eberhard, Mark Dutcher, Doug Harvey, Steve DeGroodt, David McDonald, Paul McCarthy, Vaughn Rachel, Corel Kaprow, Carol Stakenas, and Martin Kersels.
In 2011, the Atlanta based record label Dust to Digital published Roden’s “I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates My Traces” – a 250 page hardback book containing hundreds of music related photographs from 1860-1930, along with 2 discs of rare recordings of early American music culled from Roden’s archive, and an essay on archives, collecting and listening. The book has received praise from the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Reader, Record Collector, Pitchfork, and others.
From 1979-82 Roden was the lead singer of the Los Angeles Punk band “Seditionaries”. The band performed at numerous clubs and non-club spaces in the Southern California area including the Troubador, Cathay de Grande, T-Bird Rollerdome, Godzillas, HJ’s, LA Press Club, and numerous garages. The band performed with many immortals such as the Damned, TSOL, Sacharine Trust, Minutemen, Alley Cats, 45 Grave, Urban Gorillaz, Social Distortion, Circle Jerks, Adolescents, DOA, Mau Maus, etc.
Roden received his MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA in 1989, and his BFA from Otis Parsons in Los Angeles in 1986. Over the past 15 years he has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses at numerous Southern California institutions including: UCLA, Art Center College of Design, Otis College of Art, Claremont Graduate University, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Long Beach, and others. He has lectured and/or been a visiting artist at numerous universities including: Harvard, Columbia College NY, University of Illinois Chicago, University Southern California, Cal Arts, San Francisco Art Institute, University Texas Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University, and others.
Roden’s works are in the permanent collection of the following institutions: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, TX; The Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs, CA; The Pomona College Museum of Art, Pomona, CA; The ASU University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece.
Roden’s artwork is currently represented through Susanne Vielmetter LA Projects, Los Angeles; and CRG Gallery, New York.