Just as Fashion Week winds down, goth pop duo Tamaryn play MoMA PS1 this Saturday for a show that will rival any production under the tents for total sensual immersion. Known for its diverse multimedia programming, MoMA PS1’s events series, Saturday Sessions, rolls into its fourth session with Tamaryn, whose reverb-laden sound will float and eddy through every corner of the museum’s cavernous galleries. The event, hosted by designer Lauren Devine and editor Patrik Sandberg, will also feature the theatrics of Mirror Mirror and the visual effects of multi-media collaborative Thunder Horse Video.
“Performance is a fundamental part of Saturday Sessions,” say Curatorial Assistants Eliza Ryan and Matthew Evans, who co-organized Saturday Sessions. “And we hope to create experiences that are different and unique for each event. Collaboration between artists, and often audience participation, are crucial to the afternoon’s structure.” So far, events have included live music shows with multi-media components, like Open Circuit, a performance by a harpist and an avant-turntablist who, while playing in adjacent galleries, were visible only via monitors stacked in short towers. As visitors walked beneath an architecture of surveillance (audio sensors strung up on a web of wires) their movements triggered audio sensors creating “original cumulative sound” or a noisy drone that crescendoed as the space got crowded. Some people waved their hands in front of sensors or watched the monitors. One man closed his eyes in the middle of the room and stood still.
For another Saturday Session, writer and editor Brandon Stosuy hosted a discussion between artist Adam Helms and curator Klaus Kertess, after which Nate Young and John Olson of post-industrialist noise band Wolf Eyes performed their project, Stare Case. Another Saturday offered tea with “blood splattered” cookies served before projections of images of war and baptism.
For Ryan and Evans, Saturday Sessions is an opportunity to invite outside hosts, “whether they are curators, artists, musicians, or architects—to program an afternoon that engages our visitors in a different way than our exhibitions.” For this weekend’s performance, hosts Lauren Devine and Patrik Sandberg enlisted Tamaryn, Mirror Mirror, and Thunder Horse Video to co-produce the event, a first-time collaboration between these artists. Thunder Horse has worked on show-stopping cinematic effects for recent Gatekeeper and Salem productions; Mirror Mirror are known for their collaborations with dancers, costume designers, and video artists that implicate ritual and psychological space.
Tamaryn, which released its first full length album in the fall, is comprised of the vocalist Tamaryn and guitarist/producer Rex John Shelverton. Asked how she liked the idea of performing in a museum, Tamaryn said, “It’s more about who comes to see a band in a museum. It is interesting to try and use the medium of a rock band to push boundaries a little. I mean I could just play the same old clubs like every other touring band does, or I can try and create a little magic.”
In an effort to build that magic, Tamaryn has been working together with Thunder Horse Video to create the installation that will accompany her performance. “The blueprints of their ideas seem ambitious and lovely,” she said. “I know they will use a little of my images I tour with and it’s going to be a totally immersive experience… just how we like it.” While Tamaryn goes on tour with the Raveonettes in March, this experience will present something more unique. “When you are touring, you are met with all these obstacles, like terrible sounding clubs and in-your-face videos of your performances that get put on the internet or multimedia interviews that magnify you in your most boring state. It just kills all the mystery. I hate it. As a new band you are forced to succumb to the scrutiny and at times it is just really depressing.”
Tamaryn grew up in New Zealand and has moved around since then — ultimately to the West Coast to work on Tamaryn — but she still has a fondness for New York. “There is no doubt New York really is the greatest city ever. My heart hurts just thinking about it.” Some of her favorite spots in the city? “TONIC R.I.P…. Heard Lou Reed’s club is a bit nice. Never been though. Veselka and Hezekia Walker’s Love Fellowship.”
One of her headlining shows last year in New York—a special CMJ showcase that featured all women-fronted bands along with Light Asylum and Frankie Rose and the Outs—was shut down three songs into Tamaryn’s performance. “I think it was over capacity,” Tamaryn said. “Too many babes up in there! That was the most beautiful crowd of people I’d ever seen. The show was promising to be legendary and not just in the way that there was a ton of press there that went nuts after it got shut down. All the bands were fronted by wonderful women and I’d have rather given the people what they came for.”
This time around, she’s playing in a space that will most likely keep its number suitable for appreciation by all interested parties. Indeed, MoMA PS1 might be the perfect send-off before her tour. “I am super inspired to play a place like PS1 where you can totally re-imagine the entire space. I want to think about a rock show like a spectacle, a beautiful experience that is for each audience member alone. Not just a bunch of people spending 20 dollars to be packed into a vulgar mass and forgotten about. I mean, its cool if you need a place to take a girl on a Friday night or somewhere to collect observations for your blog or whatever but I’d rather have this be for the freaks who wanna escape through the looking glass just for a bit.”