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Dara Friedman presents "Musical"

Dara Friendman, "Musical," still image from digital video.
Dara Friendman, "Musical," 2008, still image from digital video, 49:00. Via PAF.

Dara Friedman
6:30pm Wednesday 9 April 2008
The New School - Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street New York, NY

Dara Friedman presents Musical this evening at the New School, a new 49-minute video work commissioned by the Public Art fund last fall. The work features some 60 singing performances in public sites around midtown Manhattan, by various individuals, synthesized by Friedman in the editing room to allow "the singers to harmonize with themselves, sing unintentional duets, or even create dissonance." Friedman's work here, like that of the artist Sharon Hayes reading love letters to unsolicited crowds last fall in the heart of midtown, produces images of solitary, discordant figures set against the otherwise normalized landscape of everyday white collar labor practice. Something about midtown Manhattan meanwhile manages to absorb all but the greatest disruptions: a performance artist, an eccentric vagrant, a voice in song, or an experimental filmmaker — all become implicit in the terrain of structured heterogeneity of concrete, glass, office workers and service workers. A former student of Austrian experimental filmmaker Peter Kubelka, Friedman's work is deeply indebted to an austere structuralist insistence on form in filmmaking, sometimes resulting in images that are significant primarily via their very presence and relation to other images, rather than their content. Friedman's work, on the other hand, has frequently been populated by bodies engaged in motion and discoursing with others, their presence mediated, meanwhile, by Friedman's often fierce and methodical editing.