Go Deeper A Guide to Megapolis Audio Festival, Pt. 2: Performing Sounds

A Guide to Megapolis Audio Festival, Pt. 2: Performing Sounds

Posted September 8th, 2017

From September 16-17 the fifth Megapolis Audio Festival will descend upon Philadelphia, drawing world class musicians, sound artists, radio producers, and all around audio adepts to join the artistic frenzy that is the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Much like the 2017 Festival’s program, Megapolis’ schedule of events might appear a little daunting at first glance, so to help you navigate it we at the FringeArts Blog are going to break it all down for you into some easily digestible categories. Follow these links to Parts 1 (sound tours), 3 (workshops), and 4 (installations and digital works).

This time around we’re taking a look at a wide variety of performances happening all weekend. Though some of them have interactive elements, for the most part all they ask of you is that you soak in the sublime sonics.


Playing the Victim
Phoenix Lio(n)
Sept 16, 10:30am @ United by Blue, Old City
Sept 17, 3pm @ United by Blue, Old City
Two live demo performances of an installation available to the public all weekend, Playing the Victim centers on a mask that plays audio narratives about rape culture and queerness. Using augmented reality and physical computing, the mask can be used to trigger audio and visuals on various speakers and monitors. As a live demo performance, Phoenix invites audience to watch as they manipulate their memories themselves. By engaging their experiences and identity as tools for art they rework the heaviest, hardest parts of themself like pigments dragged across canvas.


Radio Atlas
Radio Atlas
Sept 16, 5pm @ WHYY
Radio Atlas is the English-language home for subtitled audio from around the world. For this event for Megapolis, the podcast presents a screening of some of the best foreign language radio works in the world. Among other sonic surprises, this event will premiere a Belgian radio story about a residential home for the senile where music is an important form of occupational therapy; patients who can’t remember their children can remember songs of their youth in perfect detail, a frivolous way of conjuring a merciless deterioration.
Tickets for this performance are sold separate from Megapolis weekend and day passes.


Blevin Blectum / Radio Wonderland
Blevin Blectum & Radio Wonderland
Sept 16, 8pm @ WHYY
An evening of performances from two esteemed artists with unparalleled creative visions.
Blevin Blectum is a Providence-based interdisciplinary artist who combines sound, imagery, and costume to create eccentric and mesmerizing performances that explore everything from science fiction to ornithology. She has been performing and touring extensively since 1998, and when she’s not working on her own music she’s creating sounds for Hasbro Toys.
Joshua Fried, aka Radio Wonderland, turns live radio into recombinant funk, with a boombox, Buick steering wheel and four old shoes. Robert Barry, a writer for the esteemed music publication The Wire, described his works as, “Rather like Negativland remixed for a house party…undeniably fun.”
Tickets for this performance are sold separate from Megapolis weekend and day passes.


Fear of Missing Out
Alex Lewis & Steve Teare
Sept 17, 2pm @ PhillyCAM
This one time collaborative performance piece devised by independent radio producer and musician Alex Lewis and visual artist Steve Teare will explore the relationships and discrepancies between identity, interconnectivity, memory, and impermanence. Teare will live illustrate an audio piece by Lewis comprised of interviews with people vividly describing their favorite places to be in the world, stitched together with the goal of constructing one shared ideal paradise. Teare will attempt to make this fictional paradise come to life. In the end, the pair will present an uncertain world that reflects the things we may – or may not – want, individually and collectively.


Radio’s Art
Joan Schuman
Sept 17, 3pm @ PhillyCAM
Former documentarian and current creator of hybrid narratives Joan Schuman presents ten polyphonous audio essays which were curated this summer at Earlid, an online sound-art space. These mini-provocations offer a bit of static surrounding who is best-suited to consider the resonances among dispersed vibrations of radio, narrative artistry, and medium. Session participants are invited to ‘sit’ on both the panelists’ side and lurk in the online space ripe for listening. We contemplate ethical dimensions of artistic practice; listener-critics and branding; advocacy for fellow artists; and the subsuming of podcasting devoid of legacies and context. Will it be a post-mortem or birth?
Brotherly Love, Where Art Thou?
Victoria Estok
Sept 17, 4pm @ PhillyCAM
This participatory “public audio intervention” from conceptual artist and educator Victoria Estok takes the form of a micro radio broadcast and performance utilizing a portable micro-transmitter, a handheld radio studio, and a collection of radios. Taking aim at the current, divisive political and cultural climates, this piece aims to reclaim radio on a smaller scale to bring people together. Participants will both listen and have the opportunity to be part of a contemplative roving micro-radio broadcast that is a mediation on, a quest for, and an experiment in brotherly love.
Xiu Xiu / Mia Zabelka
Xiu Xiu & Mia Zabelka
9/17, 7pm @ Johnny Brenda’s
Cap off your Megapolis weekend with a performance from some world renowned musicians!
Xiu Xiu is a critically divisive group is influenced by noise, modern classical, the dance floor, post punk, experimental, minimalism, Asian percussion, and American folk music; the films of Todd Solondz, Shohei Imamura, David Lynch and Seijun Suzuki; and the books of Elfriede Jelinek, V.S, Naipaul, Yukio Mishima, and Ingeborg Bachmann. Their latest album, Forget, has been widely lauded and features collaborations with legendary composer Charlemagne Palestine, esteemed performance artist and writer Vaginal Davis, composer and guitarist Kristof Hahn,  and choreographer Enyce Smith.
Mia Zabelka is a classically trained experimental violinist and vocalist who pairs her instrument with live electronic devices, inserts alien objects between the strings, and uses innovative performance techniques that are simultaneously organic and primal, screaming, lyrical, composed, and explosive. She is a 3-time winner of the Prix Ars Electronica and has collaborated with renowned and innovative musicians such as Lydia Lunch, Phill Niblock, John Zorn, Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner), Pauline Oliveros, Electric Indigo, and Dälek.
Tickets for this performance are sold separate from Megapolis weekend and day passes.