Giving Props

Since the first time I saw Planningtorock (alias Janine Rostron) perform her arch, musical exhumation of vaudeville and glam, I've craved an opportunity to get a closer look at the singer's collection of masks, helmets, futuro-medieval costuming and props -- like the fake bone she periodically nibbles during "I Wanna Bite Ya." Such performance ephemera rarely enters the realm of public exhibition, though can be as aesthetically significant as anything specifically conceived for the white cube. All of which makes "Sonic Voices, Rocking Hard," opening August 30th at Netherlands Media Art Institute, a particularly welcome affair. Co-curated by multidisciplinary artist Nathalie Bruys, the show comprises works by a group of practitioners, including Jonas Ohlsson and Heidi Happy, who also straddle the boundary of music and image-making. Beyond Planningtorock's contribution -- a prop and video installation -- Guy Bar Amotz will display sculptural mash-ups of speakers and keyboards, Annika Ström will show The Missed Concert (2005), a series of interviews with "fans" explaining their absence from a recent performance, and Norweigian artist Kim Hiorthøy will exhibit some of his exquisite, graphite drawings, building upon past works that found DJs, break-dancers and downright fanciful figures mingling in quintessentially Scandinavian settings. On the musical end of the spectrum, "Sonic Voices, Rocking Hard" boasts listening posts throughout the gallery space; Björk, CocoRosie and The Knife will contribute music videos; and a handful of the participants will perform during the Uitmarkt cultural weekend (including the bewitching Ms. Rostron). - Tyler Coburn

Image: Heidi Happy, du da, ich da (Music Video), 2007

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