Phill Niblock

Phill Niblock (1933) is an intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video, and computers. He makes thick, loud drones, filled with microtones of instrumental timbres, which generate many other tones in the performance space. Simultaneously, he presents films and videos that look at the movement of people working, slides, or computer–driven black and white abstract images floating through time. He was born in Indiana in 1933. Since the mid–60s he has been making music and intermedia performances, which have been shown at numerous venues around the world. Since 1985, he has been the director of the Experimental Intermedia (EI) Foundation in New York, where he has been an artist/member since 1968. He has been the producer of Music and Intermedia presentations at EI since 1973 (about 1000 performances) and serves as curator of EIs XI Records label. In 1993 he founded Experimental Intermedia organization in Ghent, Belgium to support the artist–in–residence house and installations there. Niblocks minimalistic drone approach to composition and music was inspired by the musical and artistic activities of New York in the 1960s (from the art of Mark Rothko, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris to the music of John Cage and Morton Feldman’s Durations pieces). Niblocks music is an exploration of sound textures created by multiple tones in very dense, often atonal tunings (generally microtonal in conception) performed in long durations. Much of his pieces are based on collaborations with specific musicians including Susan Stenger, Robert Poss, Jim O’Rourke, Ulrich Krieger, Seth Josel, Petr Kotík, Tom Buckner, and many others. He is the recipient of the prestigious 2014 John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. His music is available on the XI, Moikai, Mode Records, and Touch labels. A double DVD of films and music, lasting nearly four hours, is available on the Extreme label. In 2013, Phill Niblocks retrospective in Lausanne was realised in partnership between Circuit (Contemporary Art Centre Lausanne) and the Musée de lElysée (the national museum devoted to photography), with curator Mathieu Copeland. In 2015, an independent exhibition by Phill Niblock was presented at Dům pánů z Kunštátu in Brno. Phill Niblock’s book Working Title (2012) is published by les presses du réel, Dijon, France.

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