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Issue Benefit / New York

  • ISSUE Project Room 22 Boerum Place Brooklyn, NY, 11201 United States (map)

ISSUE is thrilled to present a collaborative performance between two of America’s most renowned experimental artists, and members of ISSUE’s Advisory Council, theater director and visual artist Robert Wilson and film director, screenwriter, actor, and musician Jim Jarmusch. In a benefit concert supporting ISSUE Project Room, the two will stage a new collaboration featuring Wilson reading John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing alongside improvised musical accompaniment by Jarmusch. The evening opens with a performance from Czech composer, improviser and performer Lucie Vítková, an emerging artist who presents work with an experimental approach to accordion, hichiriki, harmonica, voice, and tap dance. A limited amount of $50 Member tickets are available.

ISSUE hosts this benefit in order to raise funds for ISSUE’s Artists-In-Residence (AIR) program. Entering its 13th year, the AIR program is a core part of ISSUE’s mission to be a cultural incubator for artistic innovation and inspire a diverse array of artists to take creative risks, commissioning and premiering numerous works that have expanded our understanding of the meaning and potential for art and performance. ISSUE is encouraged by Wilson and Jarmusch’s support of innovative work in their respective fields and proud to have their advocacy in promoting this mission.

One of the central texts of twentieth-century experimental literature, John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing has been described as “charming, often amusing, often quotable, equally often intentionally infuriating and profoundly thought provoking” by the Los Angeles Times. Wilson’s legendary productions of the piece are well known for their acoustically and visually inspiring approach to the philosophical and poetic text, which Cage based on a complex time length scheme similar to some of his music. At ISSUE, Wilson presents a paired down vocal reading of the work, focusing on the text itself alongside the musical stylings of Jarmusch.

An archetypal auteur of American independent film, Jim Jarmusch has an equally vibrant history with music -- including his post-punk band The Del-Byzanteens, his “enthusiastically marginal rock band” SQÜRL, and his numerous collaborations alongside lutist Jozef van Wissem (including a presentation staged at ISSUE in 2012). Throughout these projects, Jarmusch's guitar work has been described as “metaphysical,” at times sonically shapeshifting into wholly different sounds than one would usually expect from the instrument.

Wilson and Jarmusch have previously collaborated on an in-progress opera about Nikola Tesla with composer Phil Kline, which they workshopped at developmental session at Wilson’s Watermill Center in 2014. Both artists sit on ISSUE’s Artistic Advisory Council and possess truly unique understandings to how sound can enter, frame, and expand upon a visual medium.

More information and tickets here.