Light Matter While I’m Here (2019)
"Light Matter While I'm Here" was conceived for and during a residency in Belgrade, Serbia subsequently exhibited at Kvaka 22. The piece explores cultural identity, politics, and fluidity. These themes are social, yet personal alluding to the dualistic in human life. Manowski's approach towards the materials began with collecting newspapers, local advertising flyers and field recordings then rearranging these pieces for video projection. In combination, he built small speaker "nests" and composed a piece for microelectronics. By using found materials and paper mache for the construction the piece has both an ecological and naturalistic attitude.
Aureas Turned Its Back (2018)
“Chekhov’s Razor” (2018) Sources of Light III
The recent video and live sound, recorded from the performance of Chekhov’s Razor (2018). This piece premiered at Sources of Light III, in Denver, CO at Millers and Rossi.
2017 | Object_2
It took nearly 3 weeks to compile the artifacts, sounds and video compositions for this performance in the 12th Century Castelo do Evoramonte, in Portugal. Object_2 came together with the support from Foundation Obras and the municipality of Evoramonte. In this piece, the improvisations and movements are based on several fictional rituals. Bones, rocks, pieces of hair and cloth were used during this piece to signify, fragile elements on the human plane of consciousness. The videos used in projection are studies of regional plant species. The study of the object and need for considerations for the tacit fragments of which are only, objects. The pixelated images and abstracted sounds give light and shape to and otherwise, vacant space within the fortress. Here time slows to halt and space expands to reveal new contours.
2017 | Sense III (LHDG)
"Guitarists like John Fahey and Jack Rose, even Ben Chasney, have been extremely inspirational, especially in how I approach the guitar. On residency in Chicago at the Comfort Station in late August, I decided to completely toss the dice on playing a live solo set on a guitar strung for a left-handed player. In tribute to the terrific guitarists mentioned above, I explored the surfaces of the room, via reverb and used drones to achieve a similar tonality. Abstr/Action + Senses i-v was a complete experiment in how, as an artist, time and space are considered."
2017 | That Black Shape is Closing/Hovering Tomb
"Last year during a recording session at my apartment in Chicago I began forming the foundation for the Perfect Messages LP. I had at that time, been experimenting with some guitar patches and slow phrasing. I cut and looped the guitar work and merged it with some samples and other unknown sources of audio to make this piece." That Black Shape is part of this relationship humans have to physical darkness. In places void of light, another tingling or sensation emerges. It reveals something we've known for a long time. It's our fragility. And as this feeling rises up, it's as if we are moving closely with our inevitable fate, like a weightless or hovering tomb. Flashes of ourselves until the flashing doesn't flash anymore like it once did."
2017 | Object_3
After some time on residency in the Alentejo region of Portugal, I began to cultivate a fascination with the activities of a species of black ant. I believed at the time of creating Object_ 3, I was seeking a point of focus and decided that before expanding to a macro vantage, starting small and then branching out seemed formally beneficial.
Through studying the formations and the physicality of ant colonies, different sketches and patterns began to emerge. The clearly recognizable triangular structures human existence has created-documented in the construction of the Great Pyramids in Giza, bridge structures and others- manifested themselves. So I went further with this idea of the colony and geometric shapes.
There is a narrative worth exploring, that of a hidden work ethic-the worker ant, our lives as humans. It’s taken as if our lives in a postindustrial society are potentially programmed in a similar fashion: carry out a menial task, something that is mundane and potentially unavoidable yet it's replicated.
Object_3 represents simplicity, dedication, programming and physical integrity-all clearly observable traits of ants. After many hours of video documentation, audio recording in places like sheep-laden fields, cork oak pastures and the remains of dead rabbits, insects-once living beings. I subsequently found a brigade of ants, slowly working to carry off a praying mantis, a formidable carnivorous insect.
The audio elements composed here are a combination of electronic frequencies picked up using an old amplifier and recordings of ant movements using piezo contact microphones. I built a geometric object, resembling the shape of an ant colony. I embedded it with a small Pico projector. This was suspended in the air and projected a video of the demise and task of feeding of these ants, onto the side of the building at Obras. The emotions are extended, time-stretched creating a hazy moment that I felt best resented the poetry and unmistakable dread-a spectator to the witnesses of death.
2017 | Object_1
Object_1, the first in the three part series explores themes of ritualistic movement, native Portuguese objects with both simplicity and minimalism. This site-specific performance installation was shot in Manowski's artist studio at Foundation Obras in Portugal.
2017 | Complete Account of Aural Refractions
Winter 2015 the debut cassette from Perfect Messages was tossed into the fray. Below the recently exhumed remains have been reconfigured. PM's signature, uncluttered and no-frills sampling, looping and mysteriously, mythic vocal passages that have become a cornerstone of this work, lead the charge.
2017 | Perfect Messages | Archivist
The primary experimental electronic outlet for Manowski, Perfect Messages debuts the video Archivist foreshadowing the upcoming LP. Strewn with stream of consciousness-style prose, haunting/dramatic synth progressions and lo-fi etching. Stylistically this piece arcs along the same pattern of his previous works-dreary, imposing and dark.
2017 | Los Dos Weirdos | Dimension
Debut video from American noise and rock duo, Los Dos Weirdos. The track Dimension, is featured on the 2017 cassette EP, titled Sacrifice.
2016 | Sources of Light | Two
Sources of Light is an Experimental Music Festival akin to complete improvisational explorations with a spirit that encompasses contemporary aesthetics. Finding the right venue has as much weight as the actual performances themselves—SOL is a site-specific performance. Enter a community arts center, located in Logan Square, The Comfort Station. At one point a warming house though recently transformed. The scope of the musical arrangements after the first SOL festival. The format remains intact: three artists each playing a solo set. The performances illustrate personal, experiential thought and abstract musical expression. David Means, composer and McKnight Fellow from Minneapolis, Minnesota exhibited Black Mountain/Blue Ridge utilizing Korg touch pads, contact microphones and signal processing informed by a visit to North Carolina. Rick Schlude, a Chicago-based engineer and artist created a piece aptly titled Comfort Station which resembled a Cageian interpretation: recorded piano deconstruction seen through archival projections of city planning photos with live modulations with accompaniments of string/voice drone. Matthew James Manowski performed under the moniker Perfect Messages, creating a piece titled Whistling Past the Graveyard, deploying an arsenal of feedback, glossolalia-like interpretations of the United States Constitution juxtaposed with minimal electronic drum structuring and synthesizer drones.
Materials: Mixer board, PA system, cassette players, wires, piezo microphones, guitars, voice, chopsticks, cardboard, LP, effect pedals, US Constitution.
2015 - 2016 | Variations I-IV
A series of experimental videos titled Variations. The scope of this project is an examination of the intersections between sonic immediacy and visual stimulation. Video capture of natural objects-both organic and non-organic and the use of sound texture, abstracted video images and modulated field recordings, mental, physiological and spiritual access is granted. Subversive messaging and social deviation appear and disappear throughout the videos, reaffirming the place in which society finds its self in macro and micro levels, personal and impersonal. These videos are made in response to the overwhelmingly obvious and subsequently fleeting attention span of our growing social strata. The impartiality of digital technology and its invasive nature leaves in its wake, a body and mind in dire rift.
Leaving This Plane (Variation I)
Reasonable Escape (Variation II)
Police White Out (Variation III)
Every Day On Earth Has A Story (Variation IV)
Manowski on the piece, Police White Out
"With tape deck and watchman in hand while scanning radio waves, some strange interplay between modulating the dials and the static, the white snowy screen gave way to patterns. And all of this distant police radio, felt cold and robotic. Radar blips, these vertical bars rising and falling fighting on the screen, competing with harsh fuzz was psychedelic and so very near. I dawned on me that I could take macro shots of the screen and build a live feed of this event. Several minutes of recording passed like days. Actually strangely enough it was like watching a separate version of suspect pursuit and apprehension filtered through these small innocent devices. In post-production I added transpositions, synth pads and looping to intensify the dramatic nature of the visuals."
"I titled it as I did because it contains: “the droning barrage of the all too common documentation of neighbor violence in Chicago. An ongoing white noise that sadly seeps through our days and lives. Like a growing epidemic, a disastrous outbreak of some unknown disease we continually administer the incorrect medicines on in hopes of stopping its spread. Each particle of connected to a vast ecosystem of inequity.”
Artist: Matthew James Manowski
Materials: Nikon P60, Sony Watchman, Superscope CD-302A, wires, tapes.
2015 | Sources of Light | One
"This festival format exhibition was originally modeled after a series of experimental music events I was invited to play during my undergraduate studies at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota from 2006-2010. As part of the Intermedia Arts program, professor David Means hosted bi-annual Strange Attractor Festival which celebrated and showcased musicians and performers and various mixed-discipline artists, who collaborated with students. This was a critical part of my artistic genesis, inspiration and fuel to take my work further. The goal of Sources of Light has always been to bring together composers and sound artists, working in modern new music to create brave pieces and exhibit publicly. Three artists were included in the first annual festival in conjunction with The Wayward Music Series. David Means, Daniel Ruiter and myself. All performers played a solo piece and the night was capitulated by an improvisational trio."
Artists: Matthew James Manowski, David Means and Daniel Ruiter
Materials: Trombone, looping pedals, tape cassettes, Korg touch pads, Piezo microphones, wires, drums, voices, keyboards, bass guitar, mallets, styrofoam, amps, orange briefcase, gong.
2011 | False Laura C. Bianchie I + II
Manowski on the piece, False Laura C. Bianchie
"When I started conceptualizing this project it was out of a response to hearing some noise music from performer and musician Dominick Fernow, whose looked at in some circles as a notable artist. Cocaine Death may have been the title. It was more the photo on the front of the album—shot from midsection up, a young, fairly attractive woman, plenty of makeup but also some mystery—clutching the arm of another, purple colors in the background, clubby sort of and not entirely crisp capture. I never really cared too much about the album or performances. What I did notice however was a singular, underlying narrative and atmosphere from which the design and music seemed to be in a complete, binding conversation. Look, the funny thing about noise music is its complete disregard for structure, to an extent. It can appear lazy too and highly comical. It’s rarely compelling enough to provoke thought…generally not often enough though. Sloppy and careless. But, noise also celebrates the DIY, lo-fi and sometimes ridiculously cobbled together electronic instruments that are amplified to the max and forced into the brain spaces of its administrators and recipients. It is important for personal expression, and this alone stands above its merit aesthetically. Unrestrained expression. The culprits (performers) are usually young white men in their 20’s and 30’s maybe ranging beyond—almost exclusively."
“In operatic fashion, the theme of a young Parisian model and actress taken to the extremes of success inner life eventually drive her to suicide. the tonal scale of this arc is performed live. Capturing the essence of glamour, addiction, pulsing vigor, and eventual self-poisoning.”
Artists: Matthew James Manowski, Owen Norris, Timothy Hamburge
Videographers: Alecia Hoelsing (1) and Adam Switlick (2)
Performance notes: Trio and solo, at Studio 677 on the Campus of Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Actions: Live performers set up with electronic and acoustic instruments explore three movements, guided by visuals and intuition.
Materials: Rasterized wall pastings from Google images, glue, tape, smoke machine, Apple MacBook, GarageBand application, midi controller, Juno Keyboard, Roland Drum Machine, voice, cymbals, Tibetan cow bells, tape loops, various tape players in semi comprised states of being, Behringer 12 Channel mixer, amps, pedals, wires.
2010 | Setttings
Improvisational performance of Matthew James Manowski as Setttings for the Minneapolis-based noise series Heavy Focus.