Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Steve Kim - August 28th, 2011


The Frame

“The most important thing in art is the frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively - because, without this humble appliance, you can’t know where The Art stops and The Real World begins. You have to put a “box” around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?”
- Frank Zappa

This week I’d like to employ a different frame.

By custom the curator of any given Racer Session will present their evening in the space that adjoins the bar of the Racer Cafe. We do this to create a discrete gallery that frames our realizations in a neutral sonic and expressive environment- like the painter’s blank canvas. Although many positive things come with this arrangement, there are tradeoffs . Among these is the relationship that is created between the non-performer ( “the listener” ) , and the performer ( “the player“ ). Within the role of “the listener”, one is expected to defer to “the player” complete dominion over all things aural within the framed space during the performance. As such, all sounds made by “the player” during the performance are “music”, and all sounds made by “the listener” during the same time are not. (A narrow set of sounds created by an audience in response to the “music” have  become acceptable within performances. These vary according to genre) . If the non-performer wishes to express themselves aurally outside of the gallery -as in conversation- the habit is to do so in the bar section of the cafe, where non-performers can freely interact. In doing so they create an entirely spontaneous aural atmosphere that is concurrent , yet separate from the expressions of the musicians but a few feet away. 

As performers, we generally welcome this partition as “courtesy “. In this, I see an opportunity missed . As open-minded composers and improvisers, we can use all affects towards our effect . All sounds can be conceived of as musical sounds. All expressions by an audience are human expressions.

For this week  I am asking musicians to include this separated environment within the frame of their musical concept . Instead of thinking of these sounds as background noise, I invite you to shape it, and let it shape you- our interaction will include all sounds and expressions of both  “players “and “listeners”. 

So, for this week’s Racer Session, the performance will be given in the bar. 

-Steve Kim