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Evening Concert:
Music from the Sky, Part II

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 99 min
Event Type: Inter-Media / Visual Arts Program Origin: KPFA

On September 17, 1979, at Mills College in Oakland, California, Bulgarian conceptual artist, Alzek Misheff presented his spectacle, “Music from the Sky, Part II”, from a balloon high flying above the audience, with loudspeakers blaring computer derived sounds, based on a graphic score using slides of outer space. The slides themselves were projected onto a screen halfway between the earth and the balloon. Why would an artist choose to create such an event? Is it art? These questions and more come to mind whenever a conceptual artist working outside of conventional media announces an unusual presentation. In Misheff’s case, it is because he was interested in the relationship between language and expectation. As he explains, “What I do is choose a title, which may have strong metaphoric charges, send out invitations ... and then I carry out the metaphors literally.” Past performance have included his 1977 work “How to Fly with Fins” in which the artist donned a large pair of wings and enormous fins and then “flew” across a field near Milan, Italy, attached to a long cable. His next planned event was to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, albeit in an ocean liner’s swimming pool. “Music from the Sky, Part I” was presented in Milan using four balloons but without the slide projection. While Misheff originally wanted to use actual sounds from space for the piece this proved impossible since there are none, so instead he decided to to use computer generated sounds created from images of nebulae that were broken down into their different color spectrums, the values of which were then used to create the electronic sounds. This particular realization of the work was bedeviled by high winds and a leaky balloon, but after about 50 minutes, during which on-site host Charles Amirkhanian describes the scene and interviews various members of the audience and staff, the event finally takes off and three electronic musical compositions representing the Orion, Lyra, and Andromeda constellations are heard. (from KPFA Folio)

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  [excerpts of unidentified orchestral and vocal music played backwards, from “Examples of Human Musical Practice”] (17:50) -- Music from the Sky, Part II: Orion ; Lyra ; Andromeda [part 1] (ca. 1979) / Alzek Misheff
Genres:  Modern Art; Electro-Acoustic / Electronic
Subject:  Conceptual art; Electronic music; Computer music; Mixed media (Music)
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Misheff, Alzek, 1940-; Rieger, John H.; Maisel, Doug; Hughes, Robert, 1933-; Radner, Amy; Van Orden, Warren; Farnham, Mick
Recording Date:  9/17/1979
First Broadcast Date:  9/17/1979
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Music from the Sky, Part II: Orion ; Lyra ; Andromeda [part 2] (ca. 1979) / Alzek Misheff -- Music from the Sky, Part II: Orion [mixed with live cello] / Alzek Misheff & Amy Radner
Performers:  Amy Radner, cello
Genres:  Modern Art; Electro-Acoustic / Electronic
Subject:  Conceptual art; Electronic music; Computer music; Mixed media (Music)
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Misheff, Alzek, 1940-; Maisel, Doug; Rieger, John H.; Van Orden, Warren; Radner, Amy; Key, Steve
Recording Date:  9/17/1979
First Broadcast Date:  9/17/1979
 
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