Other Minds is excited to present Hypothetical Moments, a DVD of the collaborative works of Carol Law and Charles Amirkhanian, available on video for the first time. Some of the work included within will be familiar to followers of Amirkhanian’s work (Dog of Stravinsky, Mahogany Ballpark), but the vast majority of Hypothetical Moments has been entirely unavailable until now. Both video and audio have been lovingly restored and remastered, opening up a new pathway into the densely layered and referential world that the pair created over the decade covered by this collection.
Typically, Amirkhanian composed music that Law responded to in order to create the visual component of these works. Amirkhanian’s non-syntactic linguistic techniques fed into Law’s use of collage and juxtaposition via multiple slide and video projectors and hand-built dimmer consoles, all achieved before the advent of the personal computer.
This retrospective reveals the interlocking nature of Law & Amirkhanian’s collaborative approach, the visual and audible evolving in parallel into densely layered works. While Amirkhanian uses electronically processed, found, and manipulated text to generate his works, Law’s imagery references Hollywood starlets, pre-PC computer graphics, fortune cookie macrophotography, and even photos of the composer himself performing. Layers of reference, visual and textual puns, and absurdist juxtaposition coalesce into a creative world that is indebted to Dada, Surrealism, and Fluxus, yet entirely in a league of its own. Hypothetical Moments shines a new light on Amirkhanian’s work as a sound poet, expanding our notion of the genre into collage and performance art, and revealing for the first time Carol Law’s visual contributions to the duo’s live performance history.
“Though they fracture almost all of the rules, there remains a refined, classical undertone and motivation to their work. The resultant combination of voice and visual image was magical…Amirkhanian and Law presented a new approach to using the most classic instruments of all—the voice, the eyes and the ears…a fitting tribute to the brilliant potential of New Music.”
—Jack Kolkmeyer, The Santa Fe Reporter, 1983
Hypothetical Moments is a welcome record of the collaborative work of these adventurous and complementary artists. Beyond that is a revealing document of its time, a decade when boundary crossing artworks were providing bold signposts, pointing towards where we are now. Julian Cowley, The Wire, March 2023
1 · History of Collage (1981) 4:48
2 · Audience (1978) 11:40
3 · Tremolo Bank (1982) 3:15
4 · Dog of Stravinsky (1982) 3:21
5 · Maroa (1981) 5:10
6 · The Real Perpetuum Mobile (1984) 9:55
7 · Mahogany Ballpark (1976) 9:35
8 · Hypothetical Moments (In the Intellectual Life of Southern California) (1981) 5:31
9 · Awe (1973) 5:35
10 · Andas (1982) 6:45
11 · Dreams Freud Dreamed (1979) 5:10
12 · Too True (1982) 5:00