Craig Colorusso
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Craig Colorusso

Band Classical Avant-garde


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The best kept secret in music


"First there was "Music of the Spheres.'Now there's 'C U B EM U S I C'"

If you've ever seen a kid's toy magic lantern, you'll know what's in store at State Cloud State's Kiehle gallery. A magic lantern is a lamp with a rotating base. Light filters through the shapes cut in the shade and casts kaleidoscopic patterns on the walls. Artist Craig Colorusso has enlarged upon that concept. He's turned the gallery into a giant magic lantern using 6 aluminum cubes that radiate light. They also produce an eery droning sound that Colorusso calls "Cubemusic."

St. Cloud, Minn. — Craig Colorusso's artistic epiphany came in a flash a light-- or rather, through the dappled, delicate light that danced across the walls of his bedroom. Colorusso says he watched, enraptured, for hours.
Craig Colorusso

"What drew me to the experience of seeing the sun move in the room was a big picture kind of thing-- being able to see time move in a really tangible way," he says. "Right as I can articulate what's happening, it starts to change. And them I wonder did it really happen, or did I just see something."

The 33-year old artist found an unexpected vehicle for playing around with light: four foot by four foot aluminum sheets, which he hefts across the gallery to install his piece. Colorusso says his fascination with light merged with his interest in metal a few years ago. One day, his metalworker roommate brought home a huge piece of industrial aluminum called a skeleton. Colorusso was mesmerized by the brushed aluminum, which was perforated with geometric shapes.

"The start was seeing that first skeleton and being, like, 'That's really cool, what could I do with that? What could it be other than garbage?'" Colorusso notes. "Because that's what they thought it was."

Colorusso toyed with these different ideas and decided to bring sound into the equation to round them out. He's a musician, first and foremost; he played in punk bands for years. Then he started to move in the direction of musicians like Brian Eno, Morton Feldman and Lamonte Young, who use music to create an experience and expand a space.
Setting up

Colorusso says he started to glimpse how he could construct a space with light and sound.

"I had the idea of a room that was glowing and throbbing, and the source of that would be the cubes," he explains. "How could you go from a pile of metal and guitar? I tried to bang it out, make it work."

So that's what he did.

The completed installation turns the ordinarily plain white walls of the Kiehle gallery into a seething, vibrating space. The six cubes are scattered throughout the room. A light source within each glows and dims like bonfires flaring up then dying down.

The light throws a lace-like pattern across the ceiling, floors and walls. Then, when it dims, everything wraps in shadows.

The droning chords emanating from each cube seem to carve out the space and then fill it up again.
Lit cubes

The effect is a kind of sanctuary, according to St. Cloud State visiting art professor Vladimir Havlik. He says the music evokes a choir, and the light suggests stained glass windows. And, he says, it's all done with minimalist panache.

"It's a sort of church or cathedral of the future," Havlik notes.

Eleven year old Margeret Wollenzien, whose dad teaches in the music department, hears it differently.

"It's just not something you'd hear every day," she shrugs. "It sounds like something the stereo did when it's not working properly."

As visitors move around the room, light dances across their faces. Time seems slowed down by the plodding, droning music, then sped up by the sudden unexpected disappearance of light.

Colorusso says you can't isolate which single factor the piece is really about.

"Cubemusic is the six cubes and the sound and light that comes from them," Colorusso says. "But the piece is the room, and it changes everywhere I go."

And it changes within the space, too. As the light waxes and wanes and the music undulates, each moment of Cubemusic is something altogether new.



(MUUD 1/Moodswing 44 2005 )

OLIVE GRAIN, Self Titled (ACE FU 13 2001)

DIVING BELL, Self Titled
(ACE FU/MUDD Industries 11/24 2000)

SERIES, "333" (Shrat Field Recording 8802 1998)

STATIC PRESS 19, Self Titled
(MUDD Industries 13 1996)

CHINA PIG,"Tip-Toe Through The Hatching Chamber" (MUDD Industries 10 1995)

BLUE ORANGE: June 2002, Film by Artist Madeleine Hatz.
--film score for electric guitar.

MOJO ADORI: April 28, 2002, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Brooklyn NY
--composition for Butoh dance performance; Corinna Hiller Dance.

CUBEMUSIC: Premier November 2001,Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville NY.
--sound and light installation incorporating six independent audio channels transmitting from six aluminum cubes, each outfitted with an independent lighting array;

TABERNACLE: June 2001 "Dining Haul," Chelsea NY.
--collaboration with sculptor Jeph Gurecka; six-hour live sound and sculpture installation incorporating sounds broadcast via four independent sound systems.

DUET IN B: April 18, 2001; Galapagos, Brooklyn, NY.
--collaboration with musician Bill W.; live sound installation and architecture; guitar and violin, independently treated and transmitted through speakers hidden within walls of maze-like structure.

MB 89: first movement, August 1997, WMUA radio broadcast; second movement, March 28, 1998, Words and Pictures Museum, Northampton, MA.
--ongoing musical piece incorporating saxophone and electronics.

TAGMUSIK: August 10-11, 1996; Dr. Java's Caffeine Emporium, Bethel CT.
--collaboration with musician Joel Westerdale; 24-hour composition.

MASCHINE: May 1996, Miracle Printing, Danbury CT.
--collaboration with musician Joel Westerdale; music to accompany offset presses.


Feeling a bit camera shy


I have always been fascinated by the way music and sound alter the way we perceive time and space. We organize all experiences in these terms. The motivation behind my musical compositions and installations over the past several years has been the exploration of the conventions that determine the way we experience time and space, and therbey our world. Theses pieces seek to expose such conventions by giving the listener the chance to become familiar with unfamiliar tonalities and rhythms, as well as to register the divorce of space and sound made possible by contemporary audio technology. And they sound good.