I was honoured when Marc Bijl invited me to perform in the midst of his exhibition “Zeitgeist” during Amsterdam Art Weekend in Upstream Gallery. His exhibition was all about the contemporary media landscape and its political diffusion. In his opinion today’s information overload in the media causes everything to be vague and blurry. Not only can I really relate to this theme, my music has the same kind of ambience, so my performance and this exhibition seemed a good fit:
During her performance on the 25th of November in Upstream Gallery during Amsterdam Art Weekend, her music will be about the contemporary abundance of information in the media, and about her personal experience with its effects. With synthesizer sounds, deep bass, beats, reverberating vocals and nature sounds, she creates an ambient, dreamy and spiritual atmosphere. By looping and distorting her voice, she gives expression to overflows, ambiguity and increasing indistinctions. (Upstream Gallery: http://www.upstreamgallery.nl/news/367/performance-by-kayleigh-beard-during-amsterdam-art-weekend)
My performance lasted for about 45 minutes. Here are the videos, in the order I played them that day:
My experience of performing in the midst of an exhibition in a gallery (instead of in a more traditional music venue or music festival) was surprisingly good.
First of all, I think this was the case because Upstream Gallery treated me really well, and I would like to thank them for that. They kept asking me what I needed and succeeded in arranging everything I asked for and good equipment. This feels different than my experience at most traditional music venues and music festivals. At those places, they seem to already have certain expectations from you as a musician, because most musicians come with guitars, basses, singers, drums or keys, and often not something else. So they assume already what your needs are. But my setup is much more complex, needs a certain sound quality, and takes more time to build up. It often feels like have to fight for what I need, because it’s not exactly what they’re used to. But Upstream Gallery is an art gallery, so they are use to anything. So they have to start asking the artist from scratch, without any pre assumptions, what they need. In this way, we communicated about everything very clearly, until everything was arranged as needed.
Second, my experience with the audience from Amsterdam Art Weekend was also very good. Compared to most music venues and music festivals, this audience seemed very open to what was happening. I felt like there was more room for experimental sounds. For example, I played a very long intro with “frustrated words” about the media’s information overload that slowly transitioned into a mantra. Often at most music venues etc. people start getting bored and lose attention, but I felt like this “artsy” audience was more open to lose themselves in some kind of trance. I saw them closing their eyes, moving a bit with the music, going into it.
Especially after my experience at DOT, I almost want to conclude that the art scene, like Amsterdam Art Weekend / Upstream Gallery, is a good environment for me to perform in. I felt in line with the host and the audience. I got positive and open reactions. Or was my experience so good, because it was Marc Bijl’s exhibition? Maybe I should start performing more at these kinds of places to figure out if this kind of environment indeed suits me and my music so well.