Risa Horowitz


Trio | 2006 | multi-channel video installation | Holubizky essay |

Installation at Owens Art Gallery

installation at Owens Art Gallery, Sackville NB.

Trio is a teach-myself-how-to project: to play a Franz Schubert trio for piano, cello, and violin [opus 100, d929, andante con moto]. This is a piece of music that I wanted to play since I was a teenager. I have a limited musical background, and began learning the cello and violin in February 2005 for this project. The resulting pieces are of my learning and best performances after 9 weeks of practice.

Trio is a multi-channel audio/video installation presenting a cocophanous cut of the documentary footage I collected of my learning process [a set of private performances] and straight cuts of my best performances. Each instrument is projected separately, so that the piece comes together in unison on simultaneous playback.

I'm interested in endurance and the idea that repetitive practice is meditative, but also - as Jim Drobnick points out in his book Aural Cultures - an activity aimed towards perfecting something. While perfection is not my goal, I am fascinated by the relationship between hope, or aspiration, and failure. Like many of my works, an element of failure is built-in, whether through risk, incompetence, or faulty logic.

abridged doc cut from best performances, Rolston Recital Hall, The Banff Centre

Trio evokes the will to grow, to nurture the self, and to share vulnerability without falling into cliché. The work is funny, it makes people laugh, but it also taps into a sort of heartbreak [tragedy?] that accompanies asipiration, hope, and failure. With this body of work I question ideals of competence, virtuosity, and specialization. I'm interested in interdisciplinarity and the questions that arise out of crossing media without the usual permissions that come with training and acreditation.

That I'll never be able to play the piece as it should be, or as well as I'd like, is ok, it's the wish and the effort that's important. Other elements of research for Trio include adult-learning, sounding bad, body and muscle memory, training, discipline, and the introduction of things of leisure [what Sarah Cook described as what others consider hobbies] into professional art practice.

early learning sessions documentation

Production took place in Corner Brook, at The Banff Centre [Sound + Vision Thematic Residency], and in Toronto. Special Thanks to Jukka Nurmela, Aubrey Fernandez, Tom Montvilla, Brian Richards, Wendy Tokaryk, Ed Bamling, and Linling Hsu.

Updated June 2024 | Acknowledgements | Copyright ©1998-2024 Risa Horowitz