posted 2011-04-27 12:00:03

Joachim Pissarro and Geoffrey Burleson Present Hinge Runner/Waterblade

Joachim Pissarro and Geoffrey Burleson Present Hinge Runner/Waterblade

An improvisational performance by James Magee and Bob Ostertag

Alexandra Niemetz

Staff Writer

Something is happening that has never happened at Hunter College before: James Magee and Bob Ostertag will be putting on an improvisational performance of both audio and visual components in Hunter’s own Kaye Playhouse on Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m. The event is free of charge for the Hunter community. Joachim Pissarro and Geoffrey Burleson, who are currently co-teaching a Thomas Hunter Honors Program course entitled “Music To My Eyes”, put the event together.

James Magee is a Texas-based multimedia artist who has worked and lived all over the country. After obtaining an Ivy League law degree, he decided to take a more artistic route in life as a painter, sculptor, writer and filmmaker. His work has been featured in institutions from the Yale Art Gallery to the Santa Monica Art Museum, as well as many others. He dedicated 30 years of his life to the creation of a covert masterpiece, The Hill. This magnum opus, covering 2000 acres of land, is comprised of four identical buildings that Magee designed and built himself. The installation is located in the middle of the desert, about 75 miles east of El Paso. The architectural landscape he has created shares qualities of both ancient ruins and modern masterpieces, and is not easily accessible to the public. The Hill permits visitors at select dates throughout the year.

Bob Ostertag is a composer who has recorded an extensive catalogue. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, reared in Colorado, and is now based in San Francisco. His accumulated works are impressive to say the least: he has published over 21 CDs, two movies, two DVDs, and three books. He is considered not only a musician and performer, but also a historian and political activist. In 1982, consumed by an interest in politics, he moved to El Salvador for seven years and completely abandoned music. His political writings have been published all over the world. Musically, he has collaborated and played in bands with Mike Patton of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle fame, John Zorn, Yoshihide Otomo, and many more. He is currently a Professor of Technocultural Studies at UC Davis.

These artists have collaborated on numerous occasions. In 2002, Ostertag did a program for Kunst Radio in Vienna, where he focused on Magee’s various artistic endeavourers over time, as well on their collaborative efforts. They have performed together at Colorado College, a performance that also included Joan Jeanrenaud, a founding member of the Kronos Quartet. Jeanrenaud and Ostertag then played a few concerts in San Francisco without Magee’s physical presence, using recorded samples of his voice for several compositions. Ostertag and Magee have performed in New York City at the International Electro- Acoustic Music Festival. More recently, they have collaborated in Houston and Dallas together, where they performed improvisational sets.

The arts communities of Hunter College as well as New York City are anticipating the historical performance that will be staged by these two legendary artists. It is a historical event that is not to be missed!