Marina Rosenfeld

Marina Rosenfeld

Deathstar, 2017/2023

48-hour performance by Marino Formenti

Grand hall de La Centrale, Thursday October 26 from 12pm to 8:30pm and Friday October 27 from 12pm, until Saturday October 28 at noon.


The Keyboardization of the World, 2023

Marina Rosenfeld’s Deathstar is one of her longest ongoing works, comprising outcomes in numerous formats: sculpture, sound installation, concert performance, musical notation, drawing and recording. 

The extended performative version of the piece presented as part of the Son Biennale is systematically interpreted by pianist Marino Formenti. It is a transcription, repeated many times, of a series of sonic and spatial displacements undergone by a singular set of sounds. This long-term iterative process was initiated during a solo exhibition, also entitled Deathstar, presented in 2017 at Portikus in Frankfurt.

The Portikus exhibition featured a microphone array (the “Deathstar”) made to listen to and continuously recirculate sounds and their distortions in a recursive system: in a parallel gesture, Rosenfeld periodically transcribed the installation's thickly amplified silences and momentary eruptions of noise and vocality using traditional musical notation as well as an invented graphic format where verticality pointed toward spectral fields of noise and distortion at varying degrees of distance from the piano’s ‘middle C'. The score that resulted offers the performer a great deal of freedom: to select, repeat, re-order and transpose its pages. 

To do this, she used both traditional musical notation and a graphic format of her own invention, which places spectral fields of noise and distortion on its vertical axis at various degrees of distance from the piano's 'central C'. The resulting score gives the performer a great deal of freedom: it is up to him or her to select, repeat, reorder and transpose the pages of the transcription.

Marino Formenti's first performances of the work also date back to 2017: first as a solo at the closing event of the Portikus exhibition, and then in Deathstar Orchestration, Rosenfeld's literal "orchestration" of the ever-changing sound events generated by the "Deathstar". Subsequent iterations of the work first took the form of a reduction for chamber orchestra, before its score was transformed into a full-length solo performance, still performed by Formenti.

Deathstar thus explores the fundamental instability and contingency of situated listening, and the possibility that an exhibition can also be a musical work. In the new 48-hour iteration created for the Chandoline factory's Great Hall, a Disklavier piano programmed by Rosenfeld plays itself during Formenti's rest phases, reproducing the work's strange morphological and temporal distortions.

The steel sculpture The Keyboardization of the World, exhibited in the central hall for the duration of the Biennale, extends the vertical reach of the work. It stretches upwards until it joins the building's physical infrastructure.

Marina Rosenfeld

Born in 1968

Lives in New York

Marina Rosenfeld is a composer and artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Working across the disciplinary boundaries of music and visual art, she has created a body of work that touches on sound, music and performance, as well as sculpture and works on paper. Rosenfeld has created commissioned works for the Museum of Modern Art, Park Avenue Armory, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Fondacion Serralves and the Guggenheim Museum, among others, and has participated in exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial (in 2002 and 2008), the Aurora, Montreal and Liverpool Biennales, as well as PERFORMA in New York. She also contributed to "Every Time A Ear di Soun", the Documenta14 radio program.

Rosenfeld's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions such as Kunsthaus Baselland (2021), The Artist's Institute (2019), Portikus (2017) and Bard College's Center for Curatorial Studies (2016). In the context of contemporary music, his works have been presented at the Holland Festival, Musica Strasbourg, Borealis, Ultima, Wien Modern, Borderlines, Tectonics and the Donaueschinger Musiktage, among many others.

As a turntablist, Rosenfeld has performed and recorded improvised music for almost three decades, including for the Merce Cunningham Company between 2004 and 2008. Her recordings are on Room40, Shelter Press, 901Editions and forthcoming in 2023 on INFO Unltd.

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