Animation students from Parsons The New School for Design and composers from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music will take the stage on Sunday, May 4, to present “visual music works,” which bring music and animation together in new and compelling ways. The event marks the culmination of the university’s first studio course in jazz and animation, in which students from the two schools worked together at a high level of collaboration to create original work.
The class, called Jazz and Animation, is taught by Parsons faculty member Ben Katchor, an award-winning and widely published illustrator, and Parsons and Jazz faculty member Ernesto Klar, a media and sound artist whose work was recently featured at the PULSE Contemporary Art Fair in New York. Among the works to be presented are an animated ecosystem that changes and grows in response to a musical score; a piece that brings to life children’s dreams, with the music and animation depicting the movement from consciousness to unconsciousness; and a performance in which the musicians are transformed into on-screen avatars who act out virtual stories through the music played onstage.
“From Wassily Kandinsky to Oskar Fischinger, artists have long been exploring the relationship between image and sound,” said Klar. “Today’s technology brings the work of visual artists and musicians to a whole new level, and over the past several months our students have experimented with a variety of analog and digital technologies to create innovative audiovisual works.”
The course harks back to founding decades of The New School, when it was a major center for modernist visual and performing arts. Artists such as Martha Graham and John Cage resided at the school and worked in egalitarian, collaborative ways, challenging traditional divisions between the arts. Jazz and Animation reflects the direction of the university today as it strives to weave together arts disciplines.
The performance will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor. It is free and open to the public.