Sounds From Untitled Skies (2015)
opera, 40 minutes
The Kitchen | New York, NY - September 15, 2015
Hydra School Projects | Hydra, GR - July 4, 2015
Crowley Theater | Marfa, TX- April 25, 2015
As a series of landscapes and interiors rendered for the stage, Sahra Motalebi’s "Sounds from Untitled Skies" implicates in its staging the subjective processes underlying the artist’s experience of place, offering a convergence as well of choral sound fields, rhythmic vocal beats along with compositions that source inspiration from classical art song repertoires and Persian modal singing. Each of its six scenes are built on poems that render specific places —a bombed-out city, unmediated natural landscapes, and a burning banquet table among them. Motalebi herself is in—and outside the frame—both narrator and actor, as well as architect—having constructed individual maquettes and projecting images of them here as stage-sets referencing her interest in 18th-century European paper architecture and early experimental theater. In the directness of its formatting, and the hand-made, disposable qualities of the sets, Motalebi suggests that whatever its medium, the artist’s relationship to her memory and its representation, can only ever be exercises in fabrication: a spectral collision of images, concepts and fiction.
This project was created with the generous support of Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Kitchen, Marfa Live Arts, Spoken Glass Productions.