Anno Domini's Uncanny Valley of the Heart's Delight series combines genre-defying musical acts with imaginative performance art to create a circus-like atmosphere. The series is curated by Corpus Callosum, a contemporary folk band, consisting of seven members from around the Bay. The band's members have backgrounds in psychology, mathematics, circus, dance, and brain studies, among other disciplines, which show up as unexpected theatrical flourishes, adding a bit of spectacle to their musical performances.
Last year, at SubZERO Festival, the band began a set with their flutist stilt-walking down San Jose's South First Street alongside a nine-foot-tall winged beast puppeteered by the rest of the band. When asked about past performances, they talked about "shooting the moon and showering our audience with paper cranes... and performing music in dresses that rose out of the carpets." They seem like characters from a bizarre fable, following up the theatrics with songs about Descartes' robotic daughter, a dysfunctional relationship built on shared cigarettes, and the woes of having a blue-eyed lover. The band creates their sound with the usual instruments -- guitar, bass, drums -- supplemented by noises made using wine glasses, pick axe heads, and truck parts, as well as a number of home-made instruments. It's nothing short of an art circus.
Anno Domini is famous for its sense of adventure, presenting contemporary art in all shapes and sizes both inside and outside the gallery's walls, which makes it the perfect venue for Corpus' mix of music and performance art. Since April 2011, the gallery and Corpus Callosum have been collaborating on the Uncanny Valley series. The intent is to provide a "moment between perception and understanding... to create wonderment by throwing something unexpected at the audience." They aim to do this by combining a lineup of uniique musicians with the creation of new performance art pieces for each event.
This month's show, the third in the ongoing series, features music by Corpus Callosum, Blackbird Raum, and Eliza Rickman. The curators hinted that they are preparing a piece for the August event that "will center on shadow work and movement." Corpus Callosum went on to describe the Santa Cruz band Blackbird Raum as "leaders of an energetic street-folk movement. They live in treehouses with no electricity and read a lot of library books -- and their music sounds like it." Eliza Rickman, a songwriter from Southern California, mixes alternative and folk influences. Before the year is over, she will release an album with Andrew Bird's producer.
Uncanny Valley of the Heart's Delight #3 is at Anno Domini, 366 South First St., San Jose, on August 21, 2011. Doors open at 6:30pm; performance starts at 7pm. For more information visit villagesavant.com.