Phill Niblock with Katherine Liberovskaya and David Watson
Phill Niblock is an intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video and computers. He was born in Indiana in 1933. Since the mid-60’s he has been making music and intermedia performances which have been shown at numerous venues around the world. He makes thick, loud drones of music, filled with microtones of instrumental timbres which generate many other tones in the performance space.
He says: “What I am doing with my music is to produce something without rhythm or melody, by using many microtones that cause movements very, very slowly.” Simultaneously, he presents films / videos which look at the movement of people working. Since 1985, he has been the director of the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York – www.experimentalintermedia.org – where he has been an artist/member since 1968. He is the producer of Music and Intermedia presentations at EI since 1973 and the curator of EI’s XI Records label. Phill Niblock’s music is available on the XI, Moikai, Mode, Matiere Memoire, Room 40, and Touch labels. DVDs of films and music are available on the Extreme label and Von Archive. He is a retired professor of film, video and photography at The College of Staten Island, the City University of New York. In 2014, he was the recipient of the prestigious John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Katherine Liberovskaya is a Canadian intermedia artist based in New York City. Involved in experimental video since the 80’s, she has produced numerous single-channel video art pieces, video installations and video performances, as well as works in other media, that have been shown around the world. Since 2001 her work predominantly focuses on the intersection of moving image with sound/music in various both ephemeral and fixed forms (projections, installations, performances), notably through collaborations with many composers and sound artists in improvised live video+sound concert situations where her live visuals seek to create improvisatory “music” for the eyes. Frequent collaborators include: Phill Niblock, Dafna Naphtali, Keiko Uenishi, Shelley Hirsch, Barbara Held, Mia Zabelka, Al Margolis (IF,BWANA), David Watson, among many others. In addition to her art work she curates events in experimental video/film, sound/music and A/V performance, notably the Screen Compositions evenings at Experimental Intermedia NYC since 2005 and, since 2006 the OptoSonic Tea salons (co-curated with Ursula Scherrer) in NYC and various nomadic locations in North America and Europe as well as on-line during the Covid pandemic. In 2014 she completed a PhD in art practice entitled “Improvisatory Live Visuals: Playing Images Like a Musical Instrument” at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
David Watson is a guitarist, bagpiper, and advocate for intelligent listening. Originally from New Zealand where he co-founded the experimental label Braille Records, he moved to New York in 1987. As a guitar player, he became active in the downtown scene notably working with Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Christian Marclay, Zeena Parkins and many others. He premiered Robert Ashley’s White on White. In the early 90’s he started playing the Highland bagpipes. He has worked with Niblock, and performed his own work at Experimental Intermedia, many times since then. He has a longtime trio project, Glacial, with Lee Ranaldo and Tony Buck. The Wire described his pipe compositions on Fingering an Idea (for Niblock’s XI label) as “shimmering lines, piling-up like an old Terry Riley piece.” Che Chen, writing for Other Music, described it as “long form tonal explorations that can be so otherworldly and engrossing that the slight wheeze of the bag that comes at the end of each piece can be a startling and oddly necessary reminder, that these sounds were created by human breath.” Niblock’s piece Bag was made using Watson’s playing as source material. Exploratory is a Niblock composition that Watson realized for guitars and bagpipes. Watson also curates and directs the experimental music venue SHift, in New York.