Down The Rabbit Hole: A Glimpse of Wonderland in Phyllis Chen’s Looking Glass ReWondered

TVD NYC Contributor Cathy Hsiao Takes Us Into Wonderland with Phyllis Chen.

In honor of Easter next weekend take a bunny hop down to Brooklyn’s own version of Alice in Wonderland at the Voorhees Theatre this weekend for multimedia artist and pianist Phyllis Chens Looking Glass ReWondered . Chen asks the age – old question: what would we hear if we ate some magic mushrooms and fell down the rabbit hole?

It might sound something like this: the tinkling of a toy piano and music box, the ticking of a pocket watch, the shuffling of a deck of cards, the banging of a frying pan, and the clattering of a china tea set… Phyllis manipulates all these sounds through the use of microphones, amplification, a magnifying glass and a live video feed to re – create that elusive experience of being a kid when we’d drink from anything that said “DRINK ME” and eat any cake put in front of us, just like Alice.

The curious Phyllis has long wondered and explored the acoustic potential of the everyday objects around us. In Looking Glass ReWondered her and video artist and electronic musician Rob Dietz re – imagine childhood memories as a musical composition played on the most fitting of instruments: a toy piano and a music box. She also recorded a whole tea party’s worth of sounds: jingling forks and bowls, spoons and tea – balls, and made it into a sampling keyboard to be played alongside the toy piano. Amazing!

Looking Glass ReWondered has two parts, Down the Rabbit Hole and The Memorist, and is inspired in equal parts by Lewis Carroll, Humpty Dumpty and Chen’s own childhood. It not only includes music for toy piano, music box, frying pan, egg, bowls, video, pillow and sampling keyboard but also has a set constructed from cardboard, felt, and various found objects.

Presented by the CUNY City College of Technology and commissioned by Concert Artists Guild, Looking Glass ReWondered is a collaboration with CUNY City Tech’s Department of Entertainment Technology, where Chen is finishing her residency. The CUNY students and Phyllis have created a miniature, musical world composed of puppets, toy piano, a kitchen sink’s worth of found objects, and the insatiable curiosity and wonder of childhood. It’ll not only make you happy as a bunny with a basket full of eggs, it’ll make you lose yourself in a cast of strange and curious characters, and I promise, just a little bit mad. See you at the tea party!

PHYLLIS CHEN Listen | Looking Glass ReWondered

Friday April 15, 2pm & 8pm
Saturday, April 16, 2pm
Voorhees Theater – Theatreworks at the College of Technology, CUNY 186 Jay St. Brooklyn, NY Tickets Info $10 general admission, $5 for students
Get Tickets!

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