A Letter of Gratitude from Seth Vanek
As I write this, it was just about a year ago that a five-person programming team spanning three organizations began planning an event called "Visual Music 101: Graphic Notation" to take place in February of 2015. This public lecture was the kickoff to a project that would involve 20 talented Chicago visual artists and musicians in a series of events that culminated in a 10-track LP and full color art book that was released this Fall as Ten x Ten 2015.
Unlike past iterations of the Ten x Ten project, the 2015 participants collaborated out in the open, in a series of open studio/workshop/concerts at Constellation and Elastic as well as on the Ten x Ten website where, through a series of videos, interviews, and blog posts, the public could get to know each of the project's ten partnerships and watch how they set about to combine their separate practices into a cohesive collaboration.
Speaking on behalf of the programming team of Aaron Rodgers and Colin Palombi of Homeroom, Paul Giallorenzo of Elastic Arts, and Angee Lennard of Spudnik Press, I can say that the project would not have been as successful without the immense creativity and generosity of spirit shown by the 20 featured artists. Their willingness to fully commit to the nearly year-long project, submit to its restraints, and stretch the boundaries of their regular art practices for the sake of engaging in meaningful collaboration was truly inspiring.
Furthermore, the generosity of several other entities made the project what it is: First, our thanks go to Katherine Young and Jordan Martins, who shared their experience and expertise in the realms of art, composition, and improvisation at our initial workshop and set the project on the right conceptual footing. Martins later provided even more insight in the form of the thoughtful liner notes for the Ten x Ten 2015 Collection. Past participants Craig Hansen and Joe Tallarico lent their prodigious talents to producing the aforementioned beautiful and informative booklet. The excellent audio engineering of Dave Zuchowski, Nick Broste, and Shelly Steffens was crucial in producing the rich and dynamic sound of the LP.
Lastly, the Ten x Ten 2015 sponsors literally made the entire project possible. They are: Cushing Printing, who beautifully produced the publication, and The Circle Salon, who provided generous support and will be displaying the final prints in their top-notch West Town salon this spring.
The limited edition package that includes the 12-inch LP and full color booklet can still be purchased for $40. Instead of making a hard sales pitch, I'll quote from Jordan Martins' perceptive words that articulate the broad and experimental intentions of the project:
"... this collection of images and music is a document and archive of what occurred, a snapshot of two artistic communities in Chicago at a specific time, interacting in a unique way. Listening to these final recordings, it quickly becomes apparent that many of the pieces have various ways of employing a similar strategy of injecting bursts of composed form into passages of open improvisation. This juxtaposition of structure and play might indicate a useful way of translating ideas of visual composition into the music, but more importantly I think it says something about this particular community of Chicago musicians and the strategies that are being developed within the multitude of concerts and performances where they frequently encounter one another. Refracting their musical inclinations through this visual experiment reveals something about their own shared language."
In closing, I hope everyone with an interest is the ever-evolving state of abstract art, printmaking and experimental music in Chicago will have a chance to spend some time with the results of this ambitious project. It has been a great privilege of mine to have had a front-row seat to the tremendous talent and creativity on display throughout its inception, advancement, and culmination.
Homeroom Chief Programming Officer