Ashland Mines: Blasting Voice23/07/2012
Between July 11 and July 28, 2012, New York's Suzanne Geiss Company plays host to Blasting Voice, a performance series curated by the LA-based Ashland Mines. This is Mines' first exhibition in New York and includes performance, sound installation, and visual works from a variety of contributors including Lizzi Bougatsos, Raul de Nieves, and Devonté Haynes, exploring the poetic and formal dimensions of amplification. On nine evenings throughout the exhibition Mines has organized 27 performances that will take place on a custom-built stage he designed in collaboration with artist collective Thunder Horse Video. To mark the occasion POST NEW talked with Ashland about his role in the series.
Jack Smylie: Hi Ashland, tell us a bit about your background.
Ashland Mines: Hi Jack. My name is Ashland Mines. I spend a lot of time fantasizing about ways to use space. I DJ and produce under the name Total Freedom.
JS: You're from Los Angeles - where's the New York connection?
AM: I'm originally from New Jersey. I've been in LA for seven years but I'm in New York a lot because of music.
JS: I understand this is your first exhibition in New York? How has the experience been so far?
AM: The experience has been incredible. I've had other work presented in NY, like The Table last year at the New Museum, but this project is on a totally different scale and I've been able to involve so many artists that I love. I feel very lucky.
JS: How did it come about that Blasting Voice is being held at The Suzanne Geiss Company space?
AM: Suzanne Geiss and Isabel Venero from Rizzoli talked about a book project that Isabel was working on about nightclubs and DJ culture that I was going to be involved with. I think that inspired Suzanne to ask Isabel and Kevin McGarry to organize a summer show at The Suzanne Geiss Company, presumably circling around the same subjects. Isabel and Kevin had a few different ideas and eventually ask me to come in and take the reigns.
JS: What's the meaning behind the exhibition's name?
AM: The words "Blasting Voice" were a guide for who I would ask to perform. I was looking for artists who had that strength and volume of "voice", enough to be that fine point that a crowd could lose themselves in.
JS: Tell us a bit about the stage you designed for the show.
AM: I tried to use all the mechanisms of stadium show-tech - intense aluminum trussing, high powered sound system, and complex lighting - all condensed down to a stage only big enough for one performer, something like a wearable machine for each performer, an amplification contraption. I collaborated with Thunder Horse Video on the design who man-powered the final product.
JS: There are a large amount of performers taking part in the show - curating it must have been a tough job! Have you worked with any of these performers before?
AM: I had all their numbers in my phone. I'm friend's with many of the performers or have worked with them in the past.
JS: Blasting Voice excluded, who or what do you feel is pushing the boundaries in terms of performance/sound/visual installation today?
AM: I'm a fan of Thunder Horse Video, the artists that I collaborated with on the stage. They are always breaking something.
JS: What's next for you, following Blasting Voice?
AM: Back to my house on a hill in LA. I'll probably be back in NY next month and then begin a European tour in September. We'll see where Blasting Voice can go from here and how it can evolve.
Photography: Images 1: Aaron Brown;.3-7: Kirsten McNally; 8-11: Rony Maltz; 12: Adam Reich. Courtesy The Suzanne Geiss Company, New York