December 15, 2016
Improvisation requires endless invention and discipline. It demands that decisions be made with conviction and commitment, but also without any kind of plan or map.

The late Lawrence “Butch” Morris (1947-2013) not only improvised, but invented new ways to improvise.

When David Hammons installed dozens of fax machines on the ceiling of the Reina Sofia's Palacio de Cristal, he invited Butch to improvise to the movement of the hundreds of faxed pages as they fell down onto the floor. (FAX Festival, Madrid, 2000)

But Butch also invented something called “conduction,” a technique used by a conductor who leads an ensemble with a series of improvised hand and baton gestures. In a Butch Morris performance, it's the conductor who's the improviser.

Zeena Parkins introduces a screening of Conduction #15, Where Music Goes II, one of the many conductions in which she performed. This one was recorded at the Whitney Museum of American Art on November 15 and 16, 1989.

This event is part of Abstract Languages: Three Musical Events, co-organized with Kadist and The Lab. On December 17, Parkins also presents a live improvised duo with William Winant at The Lab.

This is the fifth event in our year-long season about and around the work of David Hammons.

7:15 pm: Zeena Parkins introduction and Butch Morris screening

Butch Morris & David Hammons, Fax Festival, Madrid, 2000
Butch Morris & David Hammons, Fax Festival, Madrid, 2000