Brainchild Part 5

Composition and staging by Carmina Escobar
South Willard, Los Angeles, March 24, 2019. Dominique Cox as Brainchild. Sharon Chohi Kim, Kathryn Shuman, and Micaela Tobin as the chorus. Costumes by Paul Gellman.

Camina Escobar’s composition and staging for Brainchild Part 5 (South Willard, 2019) provided a haunting, ethereal landscape for five voices.  As the chorus soothed a still reeling Brainchild after her first major communion with her intersessor, Lead Being, complex, delicate harmonies gave way to a call to action as she takes up her new powers.

Begun in 2008, Brainchild is Johnson’s ongoing, nine-part collaborative fiction and sound project. For each successive part of her story, the artist collaborates with a different guest composer who creates a choral work for performance. The story follows a girl, Brainchild, who discovers the abandoned structures of an ancient civilization, and slowly discovers her own strange connection to its builders. Through an intercessor, Brainchild begins her awakening and subsequent communion with these forces, as mysterious overseers and attendants monitor her progress with unease. Drawing on 15 years in a close-knit sci-fi reading group and passion for experimental music, Brainchild is simultaneously modest in tone and ambitious in scale, and still just halfway complete.

Image/Video: Ivan Hurzler

one, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock
with Rob Reynolds

Johnson’s three-component “clock” at c. nichols project was activated four times* at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 7. Based on the opening line of Bill Haley’s iconic early rock ‘n’ roll teen anthem, Johnson’s one-day event considered time in several manifestations—the brush’s passage through time, sonic time signatures, ice melt rates, and the optimal temperature of lemocello. 

*suggested arrival at the top of the hour


Brainchild Part 4

Composer Laura Steenberge
Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, January 8, 2017. Dominique Cox as Brainchild and Carolyn Chen, Heather Lockie, and Argenta Walther as the chorus. Costumes by Jill Spector.

For Brainchild Part 4 composer and multi-instrumentalist Laura Steenberge created a layered A Cappella score for the waning daylight of the Armory’s two-story art studio. The audience watched from above as the novice Brainchild, guided by the chorus, a set of handbells, and the shared oversized songbook, learned the score’s melodies.

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Image: Monica Nouwens
Courtesy Armory Center for the Arts

Brainchild Part 3

Composer Mark So
Mars Desert Research Station, Utah, October 11 and LAXART, Los Angeles, October 25, 2015. Dominique Cox as Brainchild. Julie Brody, Kate Brown, Mari Garrett, and Gabie Strong as the chorus. Costumes by Kelly Marie Conder.

Finding musicality within the language of the Brainchild text itself, Mark So has created a score for Part 3 comprised solely of the words on the page, arranged in open fields, dense clusters, and single lines to produce what So calls a “native” reading.

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Images 1, 2, 3, 5, 6: Bill Morrison,
Image 7: Sofie Trauberman
Image 4: Kate Brown

Brainchild Part 2

Composer Gregory Lenczycki
Human Resources, November 3, 2012, with Dominique Cox as Brainchild and Bianca Gisselle & Juliette Dwyer as the chorus. Tuba, William Roper.

For Part 2, Gregory Lenzcycki created an electro/operatic score with an overture, eight parts and live instrumentation. Broadcast live on KCHUNG.