Contemporary Players and the Belkin Art Gallery question performance through mixed art forms

Prepare to be visually entertained and aurally stunned by the UBC Contemporary Players at their concert at the Belkin Art Gallery. Not just a music performance or just an art exhibit, this is a combination of both. 

Maria Eichhorn’s exhibit at the Belkin challenges the audience, aiming for a sense of the uncomfortable. Beneath all these emotions, Eichhorn wants the audience to think and reflect on their feelings. 

"Eichhorn wants the audience to ask questions about what performance is and what we bring [to it]," said Shelly Rosenblum, curator for academic programs at the Belkin. "How does the subjective experience create meaning?"

The exhibit features two components: a photography collection and a film section which forces the audience to pick what they want to see. 

“The experience of deliberating and being in the space … really sheds lights on what activates a performance, what is the role of the visitor of the audience and how are we involved in the performance,” said Rosenblum.

Coupled with live music that aims to reflect Eichhorn’s idea for the exhibit, the Belkin concert will showcase both art forms and help make connections to create a new experience for both the audience and the performers.

One distinct piece which will be performed at the gallery is Geuro, a piano piece played percussively on the instrument without any "real" notes. Different sounds are produced depending on how fast the pianist runs their fingertips along the keyboard or where they run their fingertips.

The rest of the repertoire for this avant-garde exhibit is also unique. 

“We're just trying to go for the progressive, exploratory nature of [Eichhorn’s] work," said Corey Hamm, co-director of UBC Contemporary Players. These pieces will vary greatly in style and technique, ranging from exploration with tuning of instruments to performance in atypical keys, experimentation with improvising and incorporation of familiar folk songs in the pieces.

While the pieces are all very different from each other, Hamm said that they share one idea — “to try to push and explore the boundaries that composers have moved."

“The vibe of the displayed art coupled with a really appreciative audience and decent acoustic is really inspiring” said Hamm. “You really feel like you are having a little conversation with the visual artists." 

It challenges the audience to make connections and reflect on art – both visual and performing – by enhancing their experience through interweaving the two art forms together.