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Zarouhie Abdalian | Functions and Situational Music | Exploratorium

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Published on Feb 1, 2017

Functions Exhibit and Situational Music Concert by Artist-in-Residence Zarouhie Abdalian.

We tend to associate scores with musical notes and the performance of music. Yet, for decades, a wide range of artists—including Yoko Ono, Sol LeWitt, Trisha Brown, and John Cage—have created text-based scores for performances of all kinds. Depending on the score and its intentions, these instructions may be communicated in written, spoken, or pictographic language.

Exploratorium Artist-in-Residence Zarouhie Abdalian developed a suite of prose scores entitled Functions that explore the social dimensions of the Exploratorium as a public environment. The scores, presented as a set of cards, have instructions that invite playful interaction among three or more participants. The scores were performed by Exploratorium visitors over the course of several months, and are expressly designed for anyone to try—no special knowledge or abilities are needed to join in the performance. Abdalian’s Functions encourages us to probe what happens when an individual joins with others to become part of a public. How do individuals negotiate group power dynamics?

In Situational Music, she shared what informed her development of Functions. In this concert performance, organized in collaboration with Joseph Rosenzweig, Abdalian will work with a group of performers to present a selection of seven historical prose scores—including works by Pauline Oliveros and Christian Wolff.

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