Jim Drain Gets People To Lay On Psychedelic Carpets And Vibe Out

Jim Drain and Forcefield's "Warmup" soundtrack


Friday, July 8, 2011

Better Than: Laying in an alley on broken glass and bumming out.

Last night, nomadic multipurpose space, the end/SPRING BREAK, rechristened the old Spinello Gallery as a vibe den where patrons lie on the floor, on top of trippy carpeting and listen to noise in the dark.

Much of the end/SPRING BREAK's programming is rooted in illuminating presentations hosted by specialists knowledgeable of obscure or rare subject matter and materials. Artists Jim Drain and Kathryn Marks hosted a one-night-only exhibition of work made by Drain's now defunct performance art collective and noise band, Forcefield. We knew things would get interesting when he started taping a sheet to the ceiling and dragged out a bunch of very-Forcefield, psychedelic knit rugs.

Drain started off the proceedings by asking audience members to sit and/or lay on the carpets - which were knitted by co-curator and the end/Spring Break collaborator, Kathryn Marks - and then gave a very brief (less than 30 seconds) introduction. He was Jim Drain, Forcefield was a collective he was a part of that "made music, videos, and other things" and that was that.

First, the attendees sat in the dark while Drain played the Forcefield side of their split 7'' with Lightning Bolt. The music moved quickly through from powerful blasts, aimless squiggling and occasional, brief concessions to pop. It was definitely attention-grabbing stuff, and, with its multitude of tones, textures and directions, made a good soundtrack for an environment lacking any visual. Unfortunately, the end/SPRING BREAK was not in total darkness, which may have made for a more immersive experience of the music.

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The second (and final) act consisted of a series of Forcefield videos, which depicted the troupe donning a variety of otherworldly, full-body costumes, and acting like general weirdos, with a ton of crude effects (double exposures, glitch-y hues) globbed on top. There were a lot of creepy puppets too, like in one segment featuring two sperm looking creatures seemingly pollinating another cauliflower looking creature. Much of the music from the 7'' was used in the footage shown, which endowed its use in the video with an eerie familiarity.

While the "sounds-in-the-dark" component was not fully-realized, all it took was a little shut-eye to really envelop ones self in the sonics. And the videos were entertaining and provocative in their elaborately primitive uncanniness.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Followers of the end/SPRING BREAK and Forcefield.


-The Forcefield side of their split seven-inch with Lightning Bolt.

-Jim Drain's personal collection of ForceField videos and live footage.

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