iEAR Presents! Alison S.M. Kobayashi


iEAR Presents! Alison S.M. Kobayashi

EMPAC Studio Beta

March 18, 2019 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Alison S.M. Kobayahsi’s works involve the conjuring of stories from found objects. Allegories are resurrected by the artist’s imagination as she interrogates materials as varied as the world wide web, lost letters, and vintage audio and video tapes. Often in her works, Kobayashi performs a cast of characters that she imagines are connected to these objects, telling their stories with equal parts humor and sensitivity. Though her performances are cheeky, she does not make fun of her subjects but rather teases out what is universal: our awkwardness, our desire to be love and be loved, and our wish to do good--to be better. For her screening she will present a number of works including From Alex to Alex (2006), Hungry Kitty (2011), DO GOOD Percy (2009), Personality Unlimited (2015), DO GOOD Ray (2009), Just Relax (2016) and Music is Magic (2015). In addition, she will show an expert from her newest work, the award-winning Say Something Bunny!


With Say Something Bunny!, Kobayashi and UnionDocs presents an enthralling performance based on an amateur audio recording made over sixty years ago. The origin of this audio was a mystery. Two spools of thin steel wire were found tucked inside an obsolete sound device purchased by a collector at an estate sale. There were no labels; no dates, no names, and no context. Through her obsessive research and active imagination along with hundreds of times listening through, Kobayashi decodes the rich dialogue in the recording and discovers the detailed history of an unforgettable Jewish family from New York that bursts with humor, surprise and drama. The one-woman show annotates, illustrates, and reconstructs the scenes of the recording, while revealing the stranger-than-fiction biography of the eldest son, David, who made the wire recordings. Using video, installation, performance and plentiful archival material, Kobayashi leads the audience through a close listening, spinning “a multigenerational yarn of Rothian heights.”

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