Careful to maintain her privacy, French composer Manon Anne Gillis isn’t in the habit of unveiling herself in interviews, allowing the mystery surrounding her to thicken and make her a disturbing and enigmatic figure. As though pursuing the smallest of impulses to their logical end-points, she began creating sound works and performances in the mid-1980s that were simultaneously quotidian and theatrical. Her sample-heavy recorded output exists in the margins of minimal synth and industrial music, its permutations of concrete bodily sounds sculpted into miniatures that Gillis hoped would turn loudspeakers into stethoscopes. Dedicating her work to curves, volutes, roundnesses, undulations, rolling-ups and rotations, Gillis’ visceral ritual performances have used as solo instruments Pandora’s box (Galactica, 1984), sewing machine (Skarylikladie, 1986), and wheelchair (Zophrétastha, 1988). Her output tapered off in the early ’90s, but Gillis in 2016 resumed activity in Tokyo with Psaoarhtelle, a new performance for pleated membranes, shade and thrown shadows.
Following a second performance in London, Gillis now presents her piece with Blank Forms for her American debut. A variation for roundings, simultaneously intimate, strange and familiar, Psaoarhtelle explores the circular friction of ambient air, the curves there rustling of auspicious signs and the sound roundness of projected shadows.
Organized by Lawrence Kumpf and Adrian Rew