Khal - A project by Helga Fassonaki

  • LACA 2245 E Washington Blvd Los Angeles, CA, 90021 United States

Helga Fassonaki, Khal, 2015

Khal - A project by Helga Fassonaki
FridayMarch 20, 2015
7:30 – 10pm - opening reception with performances

Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA)

An iteration of Fassonaki’s project Khal will be exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Archives (LACA) from March 20 to April 9th where the original 16 scores and recorded interpretations by the participating artists will be exhibited. 

Special guest artist Fariba Safai will open the event on March 20th with a vocal interpretation of one of the scores entitled ‘Celestial'

Three artists will be performing Fassonaki’s scores live:

Kathleen Kim - performing ‘Punk Standards’,  Gabie Strong - performing ‘Armour’,  Shana Palmer - performing ‘Reveal Closed’.

In September 2014 Helga Fassonaki resided in an artist studio in Tabriz, Iran for a month. As a visual and performing artist, what she was able to share in public was restricted. Furthermore, as a female performing artist, the use of her voice in public performance was restricted. 

Due to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini ‘condemned all forms of music, other than classical and traditional Persian music’ as influenced by western culture, and therefore corruptive and forbidden. Khomeini also forbade women from singing solo in public because of 'the seductive quality of the female voice'. 

Since performing as she chose was illegal in Iran, Fassonaki sent compositions in the form of sculptural scores created during her residency in Tabriz to sixteen female artists and musicians living in the US, the United Kingdom, Denmark and New Zealand. The concept being that the scores be interpreted and performed publicly by these artists in lieu of Fassonaki's ability to do so. 

Different iterations of Khal will be presented at galleries in the US and New Zealand as a traveling exhibition in 2015/2016 where the scores and their interpretations by the participating artists will be displayed, heard, and reinterpreted - pushing the idea of a ‘living score’ as an archive open to edits, renewal and dialogue. As the series unfolds from one event to another, Fassonaki seeks to create a composition of voices and actions. Like the idea of Khal, (a derogatory term in Farsi for Iranian Pop music that was sent to Iran by Iranian US immigrants in the form of homemade mixed tapes so that Iranian residents could listen to their country’s own pop stars). Through these simple actions, the hope is that the reverberation of freedom of expression can echo back across the globe and via the clandestine channels of the world wide web find it's way back to the country in which the scores had their origin. 

The original participating artists who received and are performing Fassonaki’s scores include Kali Z Fasteau (NYC, NY), Kelly Jayne Jones (London, UK), Heather Leigh (Glasgow, Scotland), Jenny Gräf (Copenhagen, Denmark), Zaïmph (Brooklyn, NY), Chiara Giovando (Los Angeles, CA), Shana Palmer 
(Baltimore, MD), Purple Pilgrims (North Island, NZ), Rachael Melanson 
(London, UK), Christina Carter (Austin, Texas), Gabie Strong (Los Angeles, CA), Ashley Paul (London, UK), Angeline Chirnside (Auckland, NZ), Matana Roberts (NYC, NY), Rachel Shearer with Beth Ducklingmonster (Auckland, NZ), and Kathleen Kim (Los Angeles, CA). 

Additional artists include Suki Dewey (Oldwick, NJ) and Fariba Safai (San Francisco, CA).