World-famous thereminist Armen Ra debuts METAL, a multimedia cycle of five arias selected from the repertoire of Maria Callas. Special guests narrate the content of the arias while the theremin voices the melodies, set against a backdrop of metallic black-and-white footage of Callas, projected in extreme slow motion so that every micro-expression in her face becomes apparent, simultaneously revealing a woman of great pride and profound vulnerability, creating a portrait that is both hauntingly mythological and painfully human. Travis Chamberlain.
As if playing the ghost of an instrument, a Thereminists role appears to be part musician part conjurer; though after listening to Armen Ras playing and point of view, you most likely will believe the latter. In METAL, his July 9 performance at The New Museum, Armen Ras Theremin recital of five arias will give voice to the premier of his silent slow-motion video piece of sampled Maria Callas footage. The performance attempts to bridge the distance between creative spirits with Ouija board will. By extracting and amplifying the most potent elements of her stage presence, he creates a haunting distillation of the diva. Divorced from his identity to receive anothers, Armen Ra notes that he enters an otherworldly state while performing. In this sense, he opens the possibility for sonic drag. The substitution of the sound of the Theremin for the voice of Callas teeters on the edge of selfless homage and provides new entry into the tradition of drag and gender performance. Consequently, the Theremin transcends its eerie science fiction associations for an elegant connection to voice and the music of the spheres. Bomb On The Inside: On The Scene is a series of videotaped discussions with creative individuals curated and conducted by Hannah Kahng and Richard Goldstein. Video Edited by Mitch Moore.