To set the scene: ISSUE Project Room has been trying to say in the same spot for awhile now (from my understand), which has been difficult — so I’ve heard — but worth the effort, since it looks like a wall-off foyer of a grand museum entrance. The floors and slabs along the walk are all marble. Intricate crown molding along the columns framing the stage and upon the ceiling. Some of the flowers that were molded to the ceiling are now, apparently from HBO filming within it. And a two pairs of gorgeous, golden doors behind the “performance area,” which Lea Bertucci walks out and stands before, above a a tape machine, various electronics, and a single cassette player AUX’d in.
The first bit of Bertucci’s last Artist-in-Residency show for ISSUE Project Room began as a gathering of pieces. Lots of grainy winds blowing a coal into a diamond that is merely a small piece of the Bertucci puzzle, as layers began to build upon the set. Vibrations [are] now shaking the marble wall upon which I’m resting as I look up at the ceiling in case anything is teetering or about to crack off. Then, Bertucci began flicking the cassette player, creating a scratching of sorts that shifted and bent, sculpted and drastically contorted the desolation of what was being build.
Once the three separate sounds began converging, the feeling that ISSUE Project Room was going to collapse within itself washed away, and suddenly it was as though the collective audible experience was holding the room’s structure together. Within Bertucci’s cloud of coalescence, it wasn’t long until the braiding of the scratching, reel-to-reel moan, and electronic tornado began unraveling. The adjustment was slight at first, turning from a harmonious blend to a knot that twisted itself within itself, blending in and out of the curvature of synchronicity, and further into a vastly unknown realm. But then Bertucci’s intention with the set became clearer; noticing how each piece was found, built up into a conjoined unity, and then subtly smashed into refracted prisms, almost developing an nonexistent color before the listeners. It was the finding of structure, perfect structure, and the Godzilla-ing of structure. White light tarnishing colors into blends only soundwaves and fluctuate. Silence, and Set #1 was finished: “Thank you. Please, wait a moment and we’ll begin again shortly.”
Set #2 featured three singers — who were standing next to me before Set #1, and describing the venue in terms of Eyes Wide Shut. Within Set #1, the presence of Bertucci as artist existed through the fluctuations during the “movements.” Negating Bertucci as PHYSICALLY being present, the sounds implemented expressed a consciousness that was formulated, implemented, and noticeably conducted. Thus, when Set #2 began, there was a uniqueness to each of the three singers as singular “voices” emitting, while accompanying Bertucci on her electronics.
The four in unison were almost celebrating the individuality of each other, while collectively providing a singular experience (upon closing eyes). Each singer “whooped” and “hollered,” while others made acoustic effects with their mouths, lips, and tongues, matching the significant whole of Set #2. They also used tuning forks up to separate microphones, while matching the volume and tone of the forks vibration within. The electronics of Set #2 was similar to Bertucci’s Set #1, but having the additional vocals, the entirety brought a more human feel to the performance, giving a lasting feel of post-structural euphoria.