Smile Politely

Blending music and environment with Krannert Art Remastered

Due to forecasted weather, the performances originally scheduled for October 2nd will now be taking place on October 16th. 

Krannert Art Museum’s annual Art Remastered has gone through a few iterations these last few years. The series only started in 2017 but has been ever-evolving to meet the similar ever-evolving climate. Last year due to COVID-19, Kamila Glowacki organized the event to take place virtually. This year, as restrictions ease up a bit, Glowacki again had to rework the event to fit the changing landscape. Art Remastered came to Glowacki after getting inspired by the DIY punk scene. You may know Glowacki from the Champaign-based punk band Nectar. 

Image of Nectar from Nectar’s Facebook page. 

“Something I really liked about the central Illinois punk scene that I found really inspiring was that kind ‘pop-up show’ experience that would happen out of a lack of places to play,” Glowacki says. “I tried to start finding a way to incorporate all these different spheres and interests of my life, and bring the experiences of the DIY scene and that community into the museum. That was sort of the original impetus for Art Remastered.” 

This year, as COVID-19 restrictions have been easing up and more events have been happening in person, Glowacki again decided to rework the event and make it in person — enter local composer and collaborator Andrew Rodriguez. 

Image by Andrew Rodriguez.

Andrew Rodriguez is a talented local composer. He moved to Champaign in 2016 from Texas to go to grad school for music composition. He is no stranger to the DIY scene either, partaking in the music scene in Texas. He has played guitar in metal and hardcore bands, and recording three albums with the hardcore band Close Your Eyes. 

“It was really hard to jump right in (to the music scene in Champaign), especially because I was in grad school, and I didn’t have a lot of time,” Rodriguez says. “Being able to finally do something musically, especially with what Kamila was doing with Art Remastered, it was just a really exciting idea, and I am really happy to be doing something musically within the larger community.”

Glowacki and Rogriguez were no strangers to each other before this project. Rodriguez also has recording and engineering under his belt, and has worked with Nectar in the past. 

“Over 2020 Andrew and I had been working together on Nectar and I was starting to think about Art Remastered,” Glowacki says. “I knew I wanted Andrew involved in some capacity, but there were a lot of constraints, obviously with the pandemic. So I started talking that through with Andrew and we ended up with this.”

Art Remastered this year is taking place on two days, in two locations. The first event is at Allerton Park’s Sunken Garden. The second is at Krannert Art Museum in the east gallery. The event will feature the debut of Rodriguez’s original piece “What Stays Behind.” Two performances will happen at Allerton at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on October 2nd. The performances feature twelve musicians playing the piece, spread throughout the Sunken Garden, with each musician playing their respective parts. Listeners are encouraged to walk around the garden, look at the sculptures, and be surrounded by music in all directions. The same piece is played at both times that day, but this is where the beauty of the music and layout of the performers shines. 

Image by Myisha Howard. 

“The approach to the music was to create something that sounds as fluid and organic as it can that kind of relates to the natural environment that it will be performed in first, which is Allerton. The goal is to make the music feel like it is growing and changing on its own.” Rodirguez says one way to get that organic feel is to move away from traditional writing styles of music.

“In normal classical music you have bar lines and time signatures, everything is tied to a beat. In this piece, everything is tied to a stopwatch. Things happen with timestamps. So instead of everyone playing in a measure, everybody is playing together on their own, and what they do is dictated by their stopwatch.”

Rodriguez, Glowacki, and myself sat in the alley of Blind Pig during this interview. Rodriguez mentioned how the piece is similar to the conversations happening around us during the interview. 

“It’s like right now we are experiencing 5 different conversations happening around us. They are all following their own thread, but we hear them all at the same time. That is kind of the same idea as what I am doing with this piece, except all of the different threads fit together in a certain way, just not in a rigid way. There are musical parameters given, but with some parts they are allowed to somewhat improvise. For example, I will give a performer a set of notes, but I will tell them that the rhythm or duration can be flexible.” 

Basically, you can attend the 12:30 performance, listen to the music, and then come back for the 1:30 performance and get a whole different experience. 

The third performance at Krannert Art Museum is on October 7th, at 6:30 p.m. The set up of the museum also allows for a unique listening experience. 

“The way Krannert is set up is that there are almost different rooms, but the walls don’t go all the way up to the ceiling” Rogdriguez mentions. “There is space for the sound to float around, and performers will be situated in each little area, so audience members kind of get a choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. The concept of the piece is interrogating how an environment affects how you perceive an event or an experience. So by having the same piece played at Allerton and then at Krannert, the performances will sound different solely based on the environment they are performed in.”

“I would definitely encourage people to go to multiple performances if they can, because the experience will change,” Glowacki says. “There is a lot of agency in how you want to participate, it’s an incredibly unique experience.”

Promotional poster provided by Kamila Golwacki.

The schedule for “What Stays Behind” is as follows:

Saturday, October 2 

Sunken Garden, Allerton Park 

Performances at 12:30pm and 1:30pm 

Thursday, October 7

East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum 

Performance at 6:30pm 

*Registration required via Eventbrite

Face coverings required 

Check out Kamila Golwacki’s band Nectar, and check out her website here. You can find more of Andrew Rodriguez’s work on his website here. 

Top photo by Myisha Howard.

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