back to events

17 November

SOS: Song of Songs: Digital World Premiere

© Anton Donnikov, photo is provided by Garage Museum

On November 17 at BACNYC.ORG, BAC presents the Digital World Premiere screening of SOS (Song of Songs), the film adaptation of a staged cantata created by visual and performance artist Vera Martynov in collaboration with Ekaterina Antonenko, artistic director of the acclaimed Intrada Vocal Ensemble. The work is composed by Alexey Sysoev. Digital experience in the format of performance's video recording with the effect of presence and intersperse of visual elements of livre d'artiste Vera Martynov. Originally scheduled to have its U.S. Premiere at BAC’s Jerome Robbins Theater in March 2020, this innovative hybrid performance work has been reconceived as a virtual experience, culminating in a film that incorporates footage of performances recorded in Moscow in August and September 2020.

“One of the most extraordinary events involving Russian contemporary music and theater. A powerful statement about love and loss.”NEWSru (Russia) 

SOS (The Song of Songs), originally a live performance work that has been reconceived for film, is a staged cantata for 14 singers of Moscow’s acclaimed Intrada Vocal Ensemble, two readers, percussion, and a telegraph key. A collaboration between two bold female Russian artists — visual and performance artist Vera Martynov and Ekaterina Antonenko, Intrada’s artistic director — this hybrid performance work investigates experiences of personal and global tragedy. 

The SOS (Song of Songs) live performance media format includes the full text of the Song of Songs (the date of writing is unknown — this is the period from the 7th to the 1st century BC), translated into English from the 13th century (king james bible), video and studio audio recording of the cantata, as well as a total installation by Vera Martynov woven into the video.

Especially for the media premiere, Vera creates an entire exhibition — this is a total installation, on which she has been working for quite some time, the theme of which — in search of a lost home — flows from project to project, changes, but still does not end there. This is an attempt to either remember or compose your house, an attempt to mock it up, create its setting, atmosphere, draw it. Vera creates large paintings in which memories are intertwined with the real world, written in the technique that artists used at the beginning of our era, painting the walls of their houses and creating the first portraits of people in the history of art (Pompeian painting, Fayum portraits), and the genre can be characterized as magical realism (direction in painting and literature of the 20th and 21st centuries). The plots of these works are similar to group portraits of plants, they are not real landscapes. Vera's childhood impressions from small provincial towns in southern Ukraine, vivid memories from travels to the islands of Greece, Italy, California deserts, views from the windows of numerous rented Moscow apartments, views from hotels in megacities, St. Petersburg sunsets, which she observes all spring and summer — all quarantine — from the workshop terrace; crumbling firewalls and frescoes from Pompeian houses — everything is mixed in this installation, and the process of its creation becomes part of the media cantata.

SOS takes its name from the worldwide standard Morse code signal of distress, and draws from the poetic Old Testament text, Solomon’s Song of Songs. Composer is Alexey Sysoev and choreographer Nikita Chumakov.

Digital version produced by Mart Foundation with support from documentary platform

SOS is performed in English and Russian.

17 November 2020
Нью-Йорк, Центр искусств Барышникова