Molly Surno: We of Me

Presented by Recess + BAM Visual Art 


Sunday, September 27, 2015, 6 – 7pm


BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Opera House
Lepercq Space
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
This free event is at capacity. On the night of the performance, a very limited number of seats will be released on a first come first served basis.

“Psychophysics weighs important…. as the human experience of loudness also points to the temporary obliteration of the distinction between inside and out, that of external reality and the internal psyche.” – Tim Hecker

BAM and Recess are pleased to present a new performance by Molly Surno, featuring twenty men performing a choreographed soundscape using hand-crafted musical hair brushes. The performers, arranged in the center of BAM’s Lepercq space, will prepare their hair with the amplified brushes. Surno and Brian Chase (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) will then mix the sound in real time as it is generated. These distortions will result in a meditative, repetitive, and layered composition.

The piece takes its title We of Me from Carson McCuller’s novel Member of the Wedding, in which the protagonist describes her desire to unify, and fantasy to belong. In Surno’s piece, the performers’ bodies will double, refract and merge as each enacts his part and relinquishes his subjectivity to the larger composition. Audio cues from the brushes, coupled with the intimate, repetitive grooming gestures, will tie each performer to the other while the dissonance of the sound will create a rupture between the illusion of unified bodies and the reality of isolation.

Recalling the work of La Monte Young’s Dream House, Theater of Eternal Music, and Edward Van Tassel’s Integratron, this composition will activate and complicate the physical and emotional effects of sound on the individual and the collective body.

About the Artist:

Molly Surno (Los Angeles) is an installation artist who works in film & video, sculpture, sound, and photography. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2013. Surno was a Steeprock Arts summer resident in 2015. Kodak Film granted Surno a sponsorship for 2011-2012, which she continues to use to develop an experimental documentary about a Transgender Native American Beauty Pageant in the American Southwest. Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Essl Museum and the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art. She is also the founder and director of Cinema 16, which pairs contemporary musicians with experimental films; Cinema 16 has been featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Kitchen, MoMA/PS1, among others.

About BAM:

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM’s) mission is to be a home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas. America’s oldest performing arts institution, it is recognized internationally for innovative dance, music, and theater programming—including its renowned Next Wave Festival. BAM also features an acclaimed repertory film program, literary and visual art events, and extensive educational programs.

Video Documentation of the performance: