Leif Elggren | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Leif Elggren All Ages Free Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Nov. 19, 8 p.m. 2011

It's a bit pointless to try to nail down what Sweden's Leif Elggren is after: his work includes noise, performance art, video, literature, and elaborate conceptual stunts such as founding an imaginary country called Elgaland-Vargaland with fellow Swede C.M. von Hausswolff in 1992. Yet as provocative as his art can be, it rarely pushes his audiences in the kind of clear, specific direction that would allow them to react with something as straightforward as outrage or laughter. Elggren's performances with Kent Tankred as Sons of God are as visceral and intensely focused as solo projects like Talking to a Dead Queen (Fylkingen)—for that 1996 album he created a droning feedback loop with a contact mike plugged into a nearby amp, modifying its sound by fitting the mike to a long copper rod—but it's never easy to extract the ideas from his music. Certain notions recur, such as the subversion of royalty, a theme that arises not just in his self-appointment as leader of his own country but also in his use of crowns cut from empty tin cans as resonators or sound conductors in electronic works—in a 2002 feature in the Wire, he said, "For me everyone is a king or queen in their own empire, and art can be a perfect tool to overturn the playing board and create your own rules." In his first local performance in four years, Elggren will present a new piece combining voice and live electronics, developed from texts and drawings he'll create in Chicago in the days before the event. —Peter Margasak

Price: free with RSVP at elggrenlampo.eventbrite.com


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