Artists from The Amazing Acoustaphotophonogrammitron will bring their MCLA Gallery 51 works to life through musical performances on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 for a special MCLA Presents! concert. On exhibit through March 21, The Amazing Acoustaphotophonogrammitron features work that blends visual and performance art.

Paul de Jong, of the critically and internationally acclaimed musical duo The Books, will be among those to perform. A cellist and electronic musician, de Jong will present a selection of solo works for cello from a public art project he's been working on in his hometown of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

 The aim of the project, explains de Jong, was to bridge the cultural gap between "indigenous" Dutch and immigrant settlers - mostly from Morocco and Turkey - through accessible works of visual art, poetry and prose and music. For this type of "applied" art, the challenge was to create a piece of music that appealed to a very wide variety of primarily non-music listeners, without forcibly changing de Jong's own identity in the music.


"It was a wonderful journey in which I came in contact with many an extraordinary musician from Holland, Turkey, and elsewhere, and was allowed to sample their playing or play with them," de Jong says. "What resulted was what my commissioners at the city's arts council ended up calling 'soundtracks' for these neighborhoods. So in a way, the music is an accompaniment to the visual and cultural experience the neighborhood provides. I will perform two or three pieces out of this cycle."

Also performing will be Lesley Flanigan. With her handmade, wooden speaker instruments - which are part of the exhibition - she will sculpt electronic music by hand, using sounds that originate entirely from the acoustics of live feedback and voice. Through choreographed layering of sound, her melodies emerge to reflect interrelations between noise, amplification, speakers and the human voice.

"I view everything as a material that can be shaped and chipped away at - whether it is wood, sound, language or personal relationships," says Flanigan. "Working within the blurry intersections where materials come together is the richest creative territory for me."

Because she builds the sculptural instruments she performs with, Flanigan says there is a direct relationship between the statements that "music equals art" and "art equals music." Her musical compositions, she explains, also have a sculptural shape embedded in the process.

"My work speaks to music as a physical art and uses performance to show that relationship - the sculpture of noise to sound to music," she says.

Also included in the MCLA Presents! line-up will be Tristan Perich, whose 1-Bit Symphony is on display. His compositions have been performed by ensembles including Bang on a Can, Calder Quartet and New York Miniaturist Ensemble. In addition, MCLA Gallery 51 Manager Ven Voisey's "Cabinets," a one-man-band which combines elements of folk, electronic minimalism and musique concrete, will perform.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $8 for MCLA alumni and $5 for MCLA faculty and staff. Tickets for members and MCLA students are free. For tickets, call 413-662-5204. For general information, call 413-664-8718 or go to presents.

MCLA Gallery 51, at 51 Main Street in North Adams, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, 413-664-8718.  MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.