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“All artists are creative. But Papa Mbye, a North Minneapolis rapper, singer, and producer, has a creative appetite that few can match.” —The Current
Returning for its 7th year, this summer’s Sound for Silents experience features newly commissioned scores from omnivorous musicians and visual artists Papa Mbye and Rhianna Hajduch (a.k.a. Symbioscia). Mbye, Hajduch, and their musical collaborators present electrifying live music paired with a selection of films from the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection and other artists.
This year’s selections are as varied as Mbye and Hajduch’s sound. The program notably features the visual artists’ own moving image collages Adouna- and Symbioscia-, collaborative pieces in dialogue with one another. Program highlights include Cactus River (Khong Lang Nam) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Hymn of Dust by Minneapolis-based artist Cameron Patricia Downey, and two films by Robert Breer, 66 and 70. Together, they offer an evening exploration of animation, environment, and motion’s relationship to a crafted soundscape.
The event begins at 7 pm with DJ Diane Miller from The Current’s Local Show; along with food trucks, including Fro-Yo-Soul, K-Town Street Foods, and Taqueria Victor Hugo; plus full food and drink options at the Walker’s Cardamom restaurant.
7 pm: DJ and Food Trucks
8:30 pm: Screening and Performance
Sound for Silents will be held rain or shine. In the event of rain or extreme weather, the show will be moved into the Walker Cinema with limited capacity.
Sound for Silents 2023 Commissioned Artist: When Papa Mbye was a teenager, he’d go to the park, set up shop, and draw caricatures for willing passersby. It was a hustle, but the mischievous exaggeration also provided a much-needed valve. Mbye had been raised to be quiet and dutiful since his family had immigrated from the Gambia/Senegal to North Minneapolis when he was two years old. But he was an eccentric at heart, an artist. He developed a sound influenced by the music his parents played, such as the Senegalese artist N’dongo Lo, and supplemented it with ’80s alt-rock, 2000s pop, UK drum and bass, and increasingly, the sounds of the burgeoning DIY rap and R&B scenes in the Twin Cities. That breadth of influence is on display in his 2021 debut MANG FI, his post-everything, shape-shifting album, with sounds ranging from the middle of the mosh pit yelps and chest-thumping sh*t talk to distorted melodramatic electro garbles and breezy lover boy crooning. As the best caricature artists do, Mbye pays homage to the source material while showing us something we’ve never seen before.
Sound for Silents 2023 Commissioned Artist: Symbioscia is a multidisciplinary experiment led by Rhianna Hajduch that spans sound, fashion, physical and digital design, and visual direction. Symbioscia, a word coined by Hajduch, describes the feeling of shared knowing that exists in spaces beyond language. Interested in the study of the world through sound, their Hypervolume EP started as an archive of field recordings. Inspired by bioacoustics and soundscape ecology, Hajduch turned a microphone to the backyard garden, storms in Costa Rica, human chatter in Madrid, and bumblebees in the Minnesota understory. The culmination explores collected soundscapes, poetry, writing, experimental sound, and biofeedback. Together, Symbioscia, Hypervolume, and Hajduch’s work put a microscope on fear, identity, relationships, acceptance, hope, chaos, and purpose in the web of all things.
Robert Breer (1926–2011) spent 50 years building up an atypical body of work that plays with different genres and abolishes notions of space and time. Starting off as a painter, he then deconstructed his neoplastic works to create kinetic objects. He dealt next with the thresholds of awareness and perception, both as a sculptor and a filmmaker. Breer developed his light yet rigorous style while associating with the New York underground in the Pop years. Continuing his subtle exploration of movement, his work today continues to cause the space of reality—irrevocably unstable—to waver.
Zhuoyun (Yun) Chen works in mediums including 16mm analog film, digital video, computer-generated imagery, ceramics, and metal. Her projects often examine the political and social aspects of historical events in modern China, providing an intimate look at their emotional and psychological impact on individuals across generations. Chen’s most recent work experiments with figures, landscapes, and artificial objects as means of exploring the multiple nuanced facets in intimate relationships. Originally a resident of China, Chen now lives and works in Los Angeles.
Cameron Patricia Downey is an anti-disciplinary artist born and raised in North Minneapolis, whose work oscillates between photography, film, body, sculpture, curation, and otherwise. Seeing instruction in the incidental, the precarious, and the misremembered, their work strives to archive, unfurl, make-altar-of, and bring fantasy to the Blues of Black life and relation. Downey graduated from Columbia University in 2021 with a double concentration in visual art and environmental science. Downey’s art has been exhibited by HAIR+NAILS, Minneapolis; Aronson Gallery, New York; Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin (2021); Engage Projects, Chicago (2021–2022); as part of Midway Contemporary Art’s Off-Site program (2022); M+B Gallery, Los Angeles (2023); and Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (2023).
Annapurna Kumar is an internationally shown filmmaker and multimedia artist based in Southern California. She is a visiting lecturer for the UCLA Design Media Arts Program and is an adjunct faculty at Whittier College and Santa Ana College. Kumar’s work is about technologies; of image making and image capture, the similarities between human and computer vision, and the personal and political truths embedded in digital media. Recurring themes in her work include video game language, the environmental tolls of material and digital existence, the phenomenology of the built environment versus the natural one, fertility and mortality, and the structures of memory. Combining scenes of intense planning with irreverent and improvisational digressions, her films are short and intense; concentrated blasts of overlapping meanings, underpinned by a contemporary take on surface combining CGI, drawing, printing, and 16mm film. Kumar creates gallery work to accompany her films including ceramic and resin sculpture, large-format prints, artist books, and tapestries. She is currently in residence at the Yaddo Artist Residency in Upstate New York.
Antonio Muntadas (b. Barcelona, 1942) has lived in New York since 1971. His work addresses social, political, and communications issues, and explores relationships between public and private space within social frameworks as well as channels of information and ways these may be used to censor or promulgate ideas. He works on projects in media such as photography, video, publications, internet, and multimedia installations. Since 1995, Muntadas has created set of works and projects titled On Translation, emphasizing issues of interpretation, transcription, and cultural translation. Their content, dimensions, and materials are variable and focus on the author’s personal experience and artistic activity in numerous countries over 40 years.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. Thailand, 1970) has gained worldwide attention for his artistic and groundbreaking experimental films. Before his 2010 feature Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives became the first Thai film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Weerasethakul was celebrated in 2004 as the subject of a Walker Dialogue and Retrospective. Now recognized as a major international visual artist, he has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Lyrical and often fascinatingly mysterious, Weerasethakul’s film works are nonlinear, dealing with memory and in subtle ways invoking personal politics and social issues.
Rhayne Vermette (Métis) was born in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba, Canada. It was while studying architecture at the University of Manitoba that she fell into the practices of image-making and storytelling. Primarily self-taught, Vermette creates films that are opulent collages of fiction, animation, documentary, reenactments, and divine interruption. Ste. Anne (2021), which screened at the Walker in 2022, is her first feature narrative.
About the Films
70 by Robert Breer
Made using spray paint and hand-cut stencils, this animated film is inspired by color theory, geometric shapes, and Minimalism, creating a work that utilizes physical elements to display a visual intensity. 1970, US, 16mm transferred to digital, 5 min., Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection.
Cactus River (Khong Lang Nam) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cactus River is the very first film commissioned for the Walker Channel. Shot by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2012, the 10-minute short serves as a portrait of a newlywed couple as they settle near the Mekong River in Thailand and initiate a life together. 2012, US, digital, 10 min., Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection.
Black Rectangle by Rhayne Vermette (Métis)
Alluding to Kasimir Malevich’s 1915 painting Black Square, Vermette’s Black Rectangle documents a tedious process of dismantling and reassembling 16mm found footage. The collage imitates the functions of a curtain, while the recorded optical track reveals the film’s subsequent destruction during its first projection. 2014, Canada, 16mm transferred to digital, 2 min.
Something to Treasure by Annapurna Kumar
Made during the famed analog filmmaking retreat Film Farm in Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada, Kumar’s Something to Treasure is a “meditation on fertility and mortality” blending the filmmaker’s interest in photochemical imagery and virtual play, suggesting a blur between the physical and the automated world. 2019, US, digital, 2 min.
Mountain Castle Mountain Flower Plastic by Annapurna Kumar
Mountain Castle Mountain Flower Plastic draws inspiration from the technology of hard drives, digital replication, and the science of human memory to craft a vigorous display of environmental relationships, magnitude, and scale. 2017, US, digital, 3 min.
Hymn of Dust by Cameron Patricia Downey
Spotlighting a speculative “scene of a crime,” VHS video dimly illuminates adorned youth in North Minneapolis’ sculptural, toxic metal wasteland along the Mississippi River in Downey’s downbeat electronic hymn. Made with Cooper Felien, Izzy Commers, and Miles Jameson, and featuring Papa Mbye in a brief cameo. 2018, US, digital, 9 min., Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection.
Adouna- by Papa Mbye
Adouna- presents a “brief moment of clarity” through the intersections of film collage, everyday moments, and pixelated illusions, providing a visual accompaniment to the artists’ music. 2023, US, digital, 5 min.
Video is Television? by Antonio Muntadas
Sampling moving images from Poltergeist to Blade Runner, Muntadas rescans the surface of the monitor and evokes a hall of mirrors that questions the nature of film, television, video, and image. 1989, US, digital, 5 min., Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection.
Only If You Could See a View Above the Clouds by Zhuoyun (Yun) Chen
Vague landscapes draw upon ghosts, a mysterious face, and minerals to construct a black and white image of riddles and the act of deciphering. 2022, US, digital, 4 min.
Symbioscia- by Rhianna Hajduch
Symbioscia- illustrates the relationship between experience, self-imagery, and microcosms to highlight the web of all things. Created as an accompaniment to Papa Mbye’s Adouna- and an evolution of Hajduch’s Hypervolume. 2023, US, digital, 5 min.
66 by Robert Breer
Shapes in motion present a visual rhythm as they rotate in three dimensions. Movement becomes a surprise as viewers await the next element to unfold. 1966, US, 16mm transferred to digital, 5 min., Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection.
Accessibility and Sensory Notes
Sensory Note: This program contains strobe light effects throughout.
There will be accessible seating space off a paved path on the hillside. Staff members around the hillside will be able to assist with seating.
For information about accessibility or to request additional accommodations for this program, call 612-375-7564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about accessibility at the Walker, visit our Access page.