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A live AV performance of Dominick Fernow (aka Purient)’s project combining compelling electronic music with an aesthetic drawing on present-day global politics, conflict and belief. NYC artist and experimental turntablist Maria Chavez also performs.

Vatican Shadow is the “militant religious industrial” project from multi-media artist Dominick Fernow, perhaps best known as Purient and as the man behind the Hospital Productions label he established in 1997. Currently residing in the Los Angeles desert, he has set up Bed Of Nails Compound, a new imprint for industrial techno and electronic environments. Fernow also records as Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement.

Originally a series of limited cassette editions, Vatican Shadow’s releases have gained much attention since being made available digitally; with releases such as Byzantine Private CIA, Ornamented Walls and Kneel Before Religious Icons reissued on vinyl courtesy of labels like Blackest Ever Black, Type, Modern Love and Hospital Productions. Two zines of collaged newspaper images and headlines concerned with the War on Terror, have further developed the conspiracist, high-tech-militarism-obsessed aesthetic from which the Vatican Shadow project is impelled.

Where Purient drew on the sonic domination techniques of noise and industrial music, Vatican Shadow’s melodic loops and militant rhythms – recalling early the lush textures of early ambient over minimal machine techno – conspire upon the world stage of conflicts, realising in terms all the more powerful for their ambiguity what Hospital Productions describes as “music for assassins on the world-scale board game upon which it isn’t clear who is winning or what side you are on.” Vatican Shadow confronts its audience with the ghost sound of geo-political covert ops, ulterior governmental agendas, iconography and occult religious fundamentalisms. Live, this powerful AV show becomes an assault upon, but also from within, the borders of the Western psyche. Read more on this blog.

“Vatican Shadow is arguably the closest music has come to accounting for the decade following 9/11, which, with increasing hindsight, seems now like one long bad dream… It may not seem like it at first, but truly this is music at its most provocative.”FACT Magazine

“Dominick Fernow performs, because tonight, for all intents and purposes, is about electronica as performance art… The instinct is to stand motionless in a state of repulsed fascination, as I oxygenate to this bizarre and mind-altering exhibition, as Dominick Fernow goes full Section 8. I think it’s awe, genuflection to the most perfect live expression of an artist’s music this writer has witnessed in some years.”The Quietus 

Born in Lima, Peru, Maria Chavez is an improviser, curator and sound artist. Her sound installations, visual objects and live turntable performances focus on the values of the accident and its unique, complicated possibilities with sound emitting machinery like the turntable. Influenced by improvisation in contemporary art, her work expands outside of the sound world straddling different disciplines of interest. This year, Chavez wrote and illustrated her first book object entitled, Of Technique: Chance Procedures on Turntable. The book serves as a how-to manual for those interested in learning the abstract turntablism techniques that she developed with the turntable. This book is considered the first sound related release by Chavez since her solo album release in 2004. Chavez has been artist in residence with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Clocktower and the DIA:Beacon Museum, Issue Project Room, among other places. She played in Christian Marclay’s Screenplay at the Whitney Museum in 2010 and has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Pauline Oliveros, Thurston Moore, Lydia Lunch, Phill Niblock and Otomo Yoshihide. Hear her recent collaboration with Maria Minerva.

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