From Sweden to San Antonio: Experimenting with Sound at the Southwest School of Art

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This weekend, as part of the Texas embassy, San Antonio will be inaugurated into the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland or KREV— and this is not a reference to Game of Thrones. The event is an opportunity to sample a selection of experimental electronic music rarely offered in San Antonio.

From 5-10 p.m. this Sunday, June 1, the Southwest School of Art will host the final event of KREV Weekend TX 2014, a three-day series of talk, sound and performance art with Sweden’s most influential electronic music composers, conceptual artists and founders of the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland.

The self-proclaimed “benevolent monarchs” of KREV, Leif Elggren and CM von Hausswolff, have composed a number of experimental albums and will join several other sound artists during the mini-festival at the Coates Chapel.

Leif Elggren and CM von Hausswolff perform. Courtesy photo.

Leif Elggren and CM von Hausswolff perform. Courtesy photo.

You may not know it, but you’ve been to KREV many times before.

“The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland were proclaimed in 1992 and consist of all Border Territories: Geographical, Mental & Digital,” according to the Elgaland-Vargaland website. “Every time you travel somewhere and every time you enter another form, such as the dream state, you visit Elgaland-Vargaland.”

The Swedish artists and founders of KREV host sound performances around the world, inaugurating new lands and citizens into its kingdom. Local sound artist Justin Boyd, chair of the Sculpture and Integrated Media Department at the Southwest School of Art, sees this event as significant for diversifying San Antonio’s art and music scenes.

“KREV makes a kingdom of any property of borders, between two countries, such as the U.S. and Mexico,” Boyd said. “The kingdom claims as their land that which is no man’s land.”

KREV2WEBIndependent curator Tara Bhattacharya and her husband Rick Reed helped arrange for Leif Elggren and CM von Hausswolff to perform in Austin and San Antonio for the KREV Weekend TX 2014.

“The founders of KREV are especially interested in coming to San Antonio because of our history with Mexico,” Boyd said.

The KREV Weekend TX 2014 kicks off in Austin on Friday with a performance at MASS Gallery followed by an electronic music performance at St. David’s Episcopal Church on Saturday evening and culminating Sunday at the Southwest School of Art’s Coates Chapel where there will be ten performances each lasting 15 minutes – including a modular synth piece by Boyd.

This is a significant event to Boyd as there are not a lot of venues in San Antonio for more experimental art of this kind.

Boyd has worked with Ben Judson to bring the No Idea Festival, an improvisational music festival that originates in Austin, to the Southwest School of Art the past two years. In addition to the school’s solid selection of fine art course offerings, Boyd wants to “let the school also be associated with other weird things that are going on like experimental music and experimental video so that it’s not just about taking a ceramics class—students are exposed to so much more.”

Justin Boyd performs during No Idea Festival. Courtesy photo.

Justin Boyd performs during No Idea Festival at the Southwest School of Art. Courtesy photo.

The launch of the Southwest School of Art’s BFA program in the fall will position the school as the only independent college of art in Texas and the KREV event is just one example of how Boyd is actively working to have more experimental art events affiliated with his department.

So, why would you attend this event?

“If you have the slightest interest in synthesizer-type sounds, experimental music, 20th century composition, or sound art, it could totally appeal to your non-traditional sensibilities. And each performance is only 15 minutes, so even if you find the music taxing, it’s only going to last a short time,” Boyd said. “Everyone’s set is going to be vastly different and no one will know what each other is doing — that’s what I’m excited about. The Coates Chapel is such a beautiful space and the acoustics are really nice — I think it will really activate the space with some engaging ear candy.”

Southwest School of Art KREV Weekend TX 2014 Schedule:

Sunday, June 1, 5-10 p.m. Coates Chapel (300 Augusta St.), $10 suggested donation at the door

Henna Chou— 5:00-5:15 p.m. (video)

Tara B. — 5:20-5:30 p.m.  (10 minutes)

Brent Farriss — 5:40-5:55 p.m.

Lance Higdon — 6:05-6:20 p.m.

Skype Michael Esposito  (friend of von Hausswolff and Elggren) 6:30-6:45

BREAK (with anthem) 6:45-7:10

Smokey Emery — 7:15-7:30 p.m.

Justin Boyd — 7:40-7:55 p.m.

Lisa Cameron — 8:05-8:20 p.m.

Rick Reed — 8:30-8:45 p.m.

von Hausswolff + Elggren — 9-10 p.m.

 

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