Laetitia Sonami | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Laetitia Sonami




Americans' love affair with technology has veered into obsession over the past few decades, as we stake nearly all our cultural faith on the newest electronic this and computerized that. "Circuitry will save us," we chant, pointing and clicking our way into a gimmicky, amoral, randomized universe offered up as utopia. Thank heaven the French-born performance musician Laetitia Sonami is in town to put technology in its proper place, if only for an evening. She performs electronic music using as her sole instrument a Lycra glove of her own design, wired with transducers, ultrasound detectors, motion sensors, and even an accelerometer, which measures the acceleration of her hand. These gadgets turn her every gesture into a mysterious, ephemeral musical event; she seems to pull sounds from the air. But for all Sonami's dazzling high-tech wizardry, it's her graceful human form that holds us spellbound; no computer chip could caress the air with such finesse or produce such beautiful noise. She'll present her cryptically titled 1998 piece Why ___ Dreams Like a Loose Engine (Autoportrait), which incorporates a text by Melody Sumner Carnahan. Also on the program is a local trio of improvisational sound artists: Terri Kapsalis, Lou Mallozzi, and Hal Rammel. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, 312-344-7270. Friday, March 19, 12:15 and 8 PM. Free for the 12:15 PM preview; $15 for the 8 PM performance. --Justin Hayford

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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