Myra Melford, piano, François Houle clarinet and Frédéric St-Hilaire, video. May 2008. swisnexx.SF

BINARY CITIES brings together artists from the San Francisco Bay Area and another international city. Live performances, installations and symposium discussions will feature dance, music, video/film and visual arts. Binary Cities presents works that have a direct relationship with new technology and traditional practice.

A word from the Artistic Director

Over the past several years, I have become particularly interested in the way our artistic traditions are evolving through the integration of electronic and digital tools. As a composer who wrote solely for acoustic instruments for 25 years, I come at this issue from an artistic place that is firmly rooted in the musical tradition. Yet I find myself increasingly eager to explore the opportunities offered by new technologies and the vital connection between artistic mastery and these new developments.

As a Quebecer who has lived most of her adult life in the United States, I feel inspired by the way technology leads us to reconsider and expand our sense of geography and culture. The world, we're told, has become a global village, and in some ways it definitely has: technology has made us we more aware than ever of our connections and interdependencies. But when it comes to artistic pursuits, this new intimacy leads me to question if we can't still identify local "flavors." Won't the artifacts created by a body of artists living in the same city always be profoundly defined by the language they use to communicate? Or the traditions and the seasons they live with and the myriad details that shape the way they live and work? And what role does technology play in this? Not merely in terms of distribution, but, more importantly, in terms of content and collaboration?

There is a certain urgency to NEXMAP's work: this is about now, what is happening today, and why. It is an investigation that is linked to who we are and where we are culturally. This project is about looking closely at the bridges that still exist between traditional artistic practices and the technologies that are inciting them to change.

It is in this context that NEXMAP is proposing to produce several artistic events in San Francisco featuring Bay Area artists from different disciplines alongside artists from another specific city or region in the world. Through the Binary Cities project, we hope to create a platform to explore, produce, present, and discuss new works whose use of technology can inspire us, and also help us consider the craft and the implications found in these hybrid projects and personal visions. There is no better place to explore these questions than here in the Bay Area, home to many of the innovations and industries that define the emergence of this revolution in tools, technology, and innovators.

— Linda Bouchard

For archived performances, please visit our YouTube Channel.