Julianna Barwick‘s multi-track looped vocal harmonies have been described as having the “oddball allure of Björk or Yoko Ono” (New York Times) and characterized as “a digital update on sacred hymns” that still feels “feels human, imperfect, and intimate” (Pitchfork). This Thursday night, Barwick brings her soaringly beautiful voice to an unusual space, the Walker’s Perlman Gallery, where she’ll perform three times beneath Ernesto Neto’s otheranimal, a piece the artist created for a 2004 performance by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In advance of her performances as part of the ongoing Sound Horizon in-gallery series, we posed a few questions to Barwick. Here, her answers to eight of life’s most–and possibly least–pressing questions.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?
What is your least favorite sound?
Subway or bus brake screeching.
What have you been reading lately?
Sylvia Plath’s journals.
Whom would you like to spend three hours in an elevator with?
What artists would you like to collaborate with?
Visual artists Bruce Nauman, Janet Cardiff, Lindsey White, and Peter Coffin; musicians Liz Harris, Noah Lennox, and John Williams; and filmmakers Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, and Sofia Coppola.
What type of gear/instrumentation are you currently performing with?
I use a mic going into an effects pedal (TC-Helicon VoiceTone Create) and then that goes into my loop station (a Roland RC50). I use a Roland 404 for samples.
What enters your mind when you begin to sing?
I definitely do the typical “go into my own world” thing when performing, I’m not really thinking about anything too deliberately. Sometimes I’ll just have good thoughts — usually a stream of recent wonderful memories involving my loved ones.
Barwick performs as part of Target Free Thursday Night this Thursday at 6, 7, and 8 pm in the Walker’s Perlman Gallery. Sound Horizon continues with Elliot Sharp on April 5 and Colin Stetson on May 10.