The Showroom, London and Filmmaker Producer Reece Ewing are honoured to host IN·FLO·RES·CENCE – a new interdisciplinary platform for audiences to encounter compositions and conversations where sound and art can cross-pollinate and regenerate. Championing the power of jazz, this project fosters freedom, experimentation, improvisation, rhythm, polyrhythm, collaboration, dialogue, and sophistication – hard work fueled by epiphanies, a call and response. Social power.
In its introductory digital stage, IN·FLO·RES·CENCE exists as an unfolding social media platform across Instagram, Vimeo, and The Showroom website whereby audiences can discover music compositions, interdisciplinary conversations, listening sessions, and behind-the-scenes creative inspirations. In order to create opportunities to commission music, share personal experiences, and foster collective conversations, IN·FLO·RES·CENCE brings together 10 Composers, 1 Solo Pianist, a diverse mix of music and art professionals, and an ever-growing global audience. Each of the participating composing musicians (J.D. Allen, Bokani Dyer, Sarathy Korwar, Nduduzo Makhathini, Siya Makuzeni, Elaine Mitchener, Corey Mwamba, Thandi Ntuli, Luis Carlos Pérez, and Leyanis Valdés Reyes) were invited to create a piece for solo piano around 1 minute in length responding to the changes to daily life during the global coronavirus outbreak. These individual pieces will all be interpreted and performed by the project’s first Artist-in-Residence, Cuban New York-based Pianist, Composer, and Band Leader Elio Villafranca, throughout the duration of the project.
These musical offerings will be activated by the commissioned musicians through recorded conversations between each other, Journalist Kevin Le Gendre (Broadcaster and Writer of Don't Stop the Carnival: Black British Music, 2019), and a group of creative professionals whose practices are deeply informed by sound, including The Showroom Director and Curator Elvira Dyangani Ose; Jazz Musician Jason Moran; Composer Pianist Vijay Iyer; Theorist and Filmmaker Kodwo Eshun; Curators Christine Eyene, Katherine Finerty, and Temi Odumosu, multimedia Artists including Phoebe Boswell, Andrew Pierre Hart, Evan Ifekoya, Laura Lima and Charmaine Watkiss; and more. The community created will flower into multiple, growing conversations serving as a living archive for expanding jazz within personal, collective, and creative contexts.
The structure of multiple voices at the core of this project is inspired by an inflorescence: a cluster of flowers arranged on a stem, comprising a complicated arrangement of branches, further referencing the budding of blossoms – the process of flowering, a moment of unfolding, the stage of development full of possibility and production. This anatomical concept is also eponymous with the 1989 avant-garde album by American Pianist and Poet Cecil Taylor (1929–2018), whose practice has fused sound and art since the 1950s free jazz and New York loft scene through till this decade with his Open Plan exhibition at The Whitney Museum in 2016. As reflected in the meaning of this word, Taylor’s experimental ethos, and the political agency of jazz, this project aims to activate the global history of creative cross-pollination between musical and visual art communities through a gathering of voices reflecting upon the conditions of this unique historical moment. Through these participatory and expansive modes of connection, IN·FLO·RES·CENCE will create a constellation – an inflorescent cluster – filled with multiple voices, active listening, a poetic source of knowledge, and a resonant echo of call and response. A space to breathe, listen, create, and connect.
This project is conceived by Reece Ewing and curated with Assistant Curator Katherine Finerty, in collaboration with The Showroom, London, directed by Elvira Dyangani Ose.
Image: IN·FLO·RES·CENCE, 2020. Design: Sungtae Will Kim. Courtesy of the artists, Reece Ewing and The Showroom, London
About Reece Ewing
Reece Ewing’s work as a Producer responds to large-scale production, whereas his filmmaking is a studio practice focused on working in isolation and one-on-one collaborations. He has been greatly informed by his music studies, and his continued practice of listening to jazz consists of challenging himself to expand what he is listening to and how he listens. His decision-making, problem-solving, and activism are all defined by how he thinks musically.
About Elio Villafranca
Steinway Artist, Pianist, and Composer Elio Villafranca, born in the province of Pinar del Río, Cuba, is a two-time Grammy nominee, winner of the 2018 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Stars (Keyboard), and a recipient of the first Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Millennium Swing Award in 2014. Villafranca was classically trained in piano, percussion, and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba and since his arrival to the U.S. in 1995 he’s been at the forefront of today’s pianists and composers, fusing classical and jazz with music from the African diaspora. Based in New York City, Villafranca is a jazz faculty member at The Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Temple University in Philadelphia.
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