viva voce

Free and open to the public:

Thursday, April 24 – 10:00 am-8:00 pm | Friday, April 25  – 10:00 am-8:00 pm

Saturday, April 26  – 10:00 am-8:00 pm | Sunday, April 27  – 10:00 am-2:00 pm

Sponsored by swissnex, the Swiss Arts Council/Pro-Helvetia Fund and the Swiss Consulate General in San Francisco

Click here to watch a preview of Viva Voce

VIVA VOCE celebrates vocal performance art in an interactive and experimental context and through this lens explores voice, body relationships, and the self. In the process, the work investigates the root of oral tradition and its impact on shared information in the virtual versus physical social space. In real-time visitors play and re- compose performance and documentary sequences of three vocal artists—Juliana Snapper (Los Angeles), Shelley Hirsch (New York), and Pamela Z (San Francisco)—by interacting with a 3D sonic sculpture on an iPad. Sung and spoken passages appear synchronized to the visual portrayal of the protagonists on floating screens in the gallery space. By improvising with the iPad interface and triggering text and vocal passages, visitors become not only intimately introduced to the vocalists; they turn into performers themselves.

Katharina Rosenberger and Heiko Kalmbach have meet in spring 2007 during an artist residency at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, which gave rise to a wonderful friendship. Ideas for Viva Voce have been brewing in Katharina’s mind for several years, yet, it was not until late 2009 that the ball got rolling, when Heiko gave way (wholeheartedly!) to Katharina’s instigation. His unique blend of video art, documentary filmmaking and theatre directing made him an ideal partner for composer Katharina Rosenberger, who’s fascination for the voice in an experimental and interdisciplinary context has been evident in many of her earlier as well as ongoing projects.

Katharina Rosenberger, Concept, Composition, Artistic Direction • Heiko Kalmbach, Video, Artistic Co- Direction • Michael Schmitz, iPad Design, App Programming • Jason Ponce, Multimedia Programming • John Clements, Set Design, Technical Direction


katharina rosenbergerKATHARINA ROSENBERGER
Much of Swiss composer Katharina Rosenberger’s work manifests in an interdisciplinary context and is bound to confront traditional performance practice in terms of how sound is produced, heard and seen. Her compositions, installations and interdisciplinary operas have been featured at festivals such as the Weimarer Frühlingstage, Germany, Festival Archipel, Festival La Bâtie, Geneva, Zürcher Theaterspektakel, Switzerland, Festival Les Musiques, Marseille, Zoo Bizzarre, Bordeaux, New Media Art, Yerevan, “atélier trideni plus”, Prague, EMF at the Chelsea Museum, New York, Shanghai New Music Days and Shanghai International Electro-Acoustic Music Week, China, and the October Contemporary in Hong Kong. Her music has been released on HatHut Records/hat[now]ART, Unit Records and Akenaton. Katharina Rosenberger teaches composition and sound art at the Department of Music, University of California, San Diego.

Heiko Kalmbach – video / co-artistic director
Heiko Kalmbach works as a filmmaker, video artist and stage director. His films and videos have been shown at venues like Anthology Film Archives NY, Goethe Institutes in New York, Paris, Kolkata and Mexico City, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Pilot London, and at Festivals like Berlinale, DOX Copenhagen, Oberhausen, São Paulo and South By Southwest. His work as a stage director and projection designer has been presented at Volksbühne Berlin, Dramafest Mexico City, Aarshi Theater Group Kolkata, Thalia Theater Hamburg, the Kitchen New York and Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken. Heiko Kalmbach has been teaching in his fields of practice since 1999. In 2012 he conducted several workshops for the Goethe Institute Mexico City within the EU project RE-MEX. He is a tutor at Technical University Berlin’s MA Program ‚Bühnenbild_Szenischer Raum‘ and the Interprofessional Studio at AA London.

Jason Ponce – system design/multimedia programming
Jason Ponce is a multimedia artist, musician and interactive arts researcher. His sound and video installations have been produced internationally and highlight the many intersections between art and science, especially interactivity, group dynamics, gesture and cognition. His interactive works use process and embodiment to blur the boundary between performance and installation, and often explore the individual’s relationship to larger social processes. Musically, Jason is an active composer and improvisor, and has worked closely with many leading figures in experimental and contemporary music. Jason is the recipient of numerous grants and artist residencies from such institutions as Issue Project Room, Roulette, STEIM, CRCA, CNMAT, High Concept Laboratories, and the Australian Council for the Arts.

John Clements – Technical Director
John Clements is an audiovisual engineer and electronic musician currently based in Oakland, California. He is a classically trained pianist and guitarist who uses software such as Csound and Max / MSP to develop musical material and sound designs for new expression. Following his studies with The Csound Book author Richard Boulanger in Boston, MA, John moved west to work with Naut Humon / Recombinant Media Labs on development of the next generation of RML CineChamber installations, among other projects. John’s interests include musical gesture capture/replay, human-machine interaction, audio spatialization / perceptual encoding, and devising musical meta-compositional control structures using DSP as an instrument for performance and improvisation.

Michael Schmitz
Michael Schmitz is a designer specialized in generative design and interactive concepts. He lives in Cologne, Germany and is co-founder of the design collective NON SQUARE PIGS – a network of freelance thinkers, visual designers, product designers, editors, writers, producers and filmmakers. He is also a teacher for media design and creative coding at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, Germany.


Soprano and interdisciplinary artist Juliana Snapper works at the physical and expressive limits of the operatic voice. Recent projects “prepare” the vocal instrument, altering its functionality and sonic palette by positioning her body in stressful states such as hanging upside down or submerging herself in water. Snapper received her bachelors degree from the Oberlin Conservatory and a doctorate in Critical Studies/Experimental Practices in Music from UCSD. Her concert works, sound installations, and large-scale theatrical performances have been presented by REDCAT, the Hammer Museum, Machine Project, Human Resources (all LA) Participant Inc., X- Initiative, PS1/MoMA, The Guggenheim Museum (all NY), and in international music and performance festivals in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Snapper’s projects have received support from The British Arts Council, The Metropolitan Opera Council, and The Durfee Foundation.

Shelley Hirsch is “an unorthodox, extraordinary fusion of vocalist, composer, and performance artist” (Anne LeBaron) whose work encompasses story telling pieces, staged performances, compositions, improvisations, collaborations, installations, and radioplays. Her mostly solo performance pieces including the multimedia “O Little Town of East New York” and “For Jerry” (virtual duets with the late great Jerry Hunt) and “States”; staged multimedia solo pieces have been performed at The Hebbel Theater and Podewil (Berlin), WienerFestWochen (Vienna), The Theaterspektakel (Zurich), The Kitchen, The Whitney Museum at 42nd St (NYC), Experimental Festival (Buenos Aires), Helsinki Biennale (Finland), Angelica Festival (Bologna Italy), City of Women Festival (Llubliana Slovenia), Beyond Innocence Festival (Kobe Japan), The Dom (Moscow), Adelaide State Theatre (Australia), Marstall (Munich), etc. Hirsch has performed hundreds of concerts of improvised music with great musicians including Christian Marclay, Ikue Mori, Toshio Kajiwara, Min Xiao Fen, Paul Lovens, David Watson, Marina Rosenfeld, Jim Staley, DJ Olive, Mark Dresser, Ned Rothenberg, Marc Ribot, Cyro Baptista, Butch Morris, Elliot Sharp, etc, She can be heard on dozens of CDs including “The Far In, Far Out Worlds of Shelley Hirsch” (Tzadik) and “Duets” with gutarist Uchihashi Kasuhisa (Innocence Records); and her storytelling CD “O Little Town of East New York” (Tzadik); “Haiku Lingo” (No Mans Land).

Pamela Z is a composer/performer and media artist who makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, gesture activated MIDI controllers, and video. She has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Her work has been presented at venues and exhibitions including Bang on a Can (NY), the Japan Interlink Festival, Other Minds (SF), the Venice Biennale, and the Dakar Biennale. She’s created installation works and has composed scores for dance, film, and new music chamber ensembles. Her numerous awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Creative Capital Fund, the CalArts Alpert Award, The MAP Fund, the ASCAP Award, an Ars Electronica honorable mention, and the NEA/JUSFC Fellowship.

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