San Francisco April 2009

Details now final for this exciting event!


23Five Incorporated’s annual Activating The Medium festival for 2009 is a co-presentation with SFCinematheque, showcasing the work by the legendary minimalist and filmmaker Tony Conrad. The first evening is a lecture on Friday, April 3. The second features a performance from Mr. Conrad on Saturday, April 4 as well as a collaborative performance between filmmaker Paul Clipson and composer Brendan Murray. The final night features screenings of Mr. Conrad’s later video works on Sunday, April 5. All events will take place at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Tony Conrad: Lecture
Flickering Jewel – Window, Perspective, Shadows
presented in association with SFAI’s Spheres of Interest Lecture Series
5:00 PM

Tony Conrad
Brendan Murray & Paul Clipson
sound and video performances
8:00 PM
$15.00 general admission
$10.00 members of SFCinematheque
free to SFAI students and staff

Tony Conrad
Flicker and Process Films/Works on Video
films include Redressing Down and Tony’s Oscular Pets
7:30 PM
$10.00 general admission
$6.00 members of SFCinematheque
free to SFAI students and staff

Tickets for the Saturday performance and the Sunday screening are available at

San Francisco Art Institute
Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

Elemental to Tony Conrad’s oeuvre is his work as a violinist, in which primal, enveloping drones create an oscillating ritual theater. In 1962 he co-founded the groundbreaking ensemble known as the Dream Syndicate. Wielding a drone both aggressively confrontational and subtly mesmerizing, he and his collaborators – including La Monte Young and future Velvet Underground co-founders John Cale and Angus MacLise – created some of the most revolutionary music of that (or any) decade. Utilizing long durations, precise pitch and blistering volume, Conrad and company forged a “Dream Music” that articulated the Big Bang of “minimalism.” With his return in the 1990s to recording, publishing and touring, Conrad engaged an entirely new generation of listeners with his unique and uncompromisingly antisocial, raging music. — Steve Polta / SFCinematheque

We hungered for music almost seething beyond control – or even something just beyond music, a violent feeling of soaring unstoppably, powered by immense angular machinery across abrupt and torrential seas of pounding blood. Walt Whitman wrote that ‘all music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments.’ So it must be my conscious blood, in my veins, that swells behind my eyes on the unstanchable tide of the music’s careening violence; a voicelessly shrieking glee, gushing and unfulfilled; anger coming from somewhere; sweetness of virulence, energy, heated eyes, tension unrelenting, shrill shuddering lust endlessly recalculated in its spasm; focus of power. – Tony Conrad

Founded in 1993, 23five Incorporated is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and increased awareness of sound works in the public arena, and to the support and education of artists working with and discussing the medium of sound. 23five Incorporated has remained at the forefront in bringing the most adventurous elements of sound art to the San Francisco Bay area. 23five has served as an important benefactor to artists such as CM von Hausswolff, Christina Kubisch, Francisco Lopez, Olivia Block, Matt Heckert, Zbigniew Karkowski, Atau Tanaka, and many more.

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