Acclaimed dancer Jodi Melnick and other artists present a living installation for Joel Mellin’s “Compositions for Computer”

Genetically Mutating Computers Invade Old City

Acclaimed dancer Jodi Melnick and other artists present a living installation for Joel Mellin’s “Compositions for Computer”

Can language be evolved from randomness? Can fire listen and respond to melody? Do you need a surf band to make surf music? Avant-garde composer Joel Mellin explores questions like these.

“Think of a sound you haven’t heard before. Now, how do you create it?” he wonders. “I’m fascinated with this idea.”

A former NASA satellite engineer, Mellin uses computers to create innovative digital music systems with Genetic Algorithms and sonar-based instrument controllers, taking computer music beyond simple loop-making. His works have been heard at Dublin Dance Festival and notable NYC venues such as the Kitchen and the Feldman Gallery.

You can experience his unique music for yourself Sunday, June 7 at National Mechanics in Old City, where Mellin and his collaborators will present a A View From A Window. From The Outside.  This “living installation” will showcase works such as “Must Pass,”  a thunderstorm scored in real time whose evolving melody is controlled by rocks thrown into water and “Watch What You Say,” a self-generating, self-educating language, along with performances, photographs, video and graphic art.

Bessie award-winning dancer and choreographer Jodi Melnick (whom TimeOut has called “extraordinary”) will interpret “Keys to the Crumbling City,” a piece that synthesizes an autonomous Balinese Gamelan orchestra.  It’s sure to be compelling; The last time she performed with one of Mellin’s compositions, Claudia La Rocco of the The New York Times called it “one of the most satisfying dances I’ve seen.”

Brooklyn-based Holly Faurot & Sarah H. Paulson, whose endurance-oriented works exist somewhere between performance art and dance, will be on hand. They’ll present one of the many works they’ve created to compliment Mellin’s compositions combining human movement and video, specially adapted for this event.

All of this will be set within a collaborative installation featuring the dream-like images of award-winning photographer John Soares and dada-esque instructional posters and video by Philadelphia-based artist Jeff Mellin.

And it’s all to celebrate the publication of Mellin’s “Compositions for Computer, Vol. 1.” Released by Oakland-based Kolourmeim Press, the full-color book with companion CD is more a chronicle of a dream than an academic tome, pairing stream-of-conscious abstracts with the images of John Soares and graphic art of Jeff Mellin. Copies of the limited-edition book and CD will be available at the event.

Performances will be followed by a brief Q&A session with the artists

A View From A Window. From The Outside.
A living installation for Joel Mellin’s “Compositions for Computer”

featuring the music of Joel Mellin
including an interactive presentation of “Must Pass”
as well as compositions from the new album

and performances by
Jodi Melnick, Holly Faurot & Sarah H. Paulson

photographs by John Soares; video & artwork by Jeff Mellin

Sunday, June 7, 2009
Starting @ 5:00 PM; Performances @ 7:00 PM
at National Mechanics, 22 South 3rd Street, Old City, Philadelphia
Admission is FREE

About the artists:

Joel Mellin (music) started his career as a systems engineer for a NASA funded gamma ray observation satellite, but left to pursue graduate studies in music composition at NYU. There, he worked on innovative digital music systems using genetic algorithms and sonar-based instrument controllers for real-time performance.

Mellin now uses computers for their robust calculation capabilities, their efficiency handling complex, tedious tasks and their objective, apathetic relationship with aesthetics and memory. He strives to realize the unheard, experimenting with new techniques, methodologies and musical paradigms.

His works include a 30,000+ raindrop thunderstorm, an automated Balinese Gamelan Gong Kebyar orchestra and a swarm of insects that follow a score. Often, his works takes shape in collaborative settings with other artists, performers and dancers.

He currently lives in in Brooklyn, NY. For more information visit

Jodi Melnick (dance performance) is a Bessie award-winning dancer and choreographer. A featured dancer with Twyla Tharp and Irene Hultman, she has performed and worked with Susan Rethorst, Sara Rudner, and Vicky Shick as well as NYC based freelance choreographers Tere O’Connor, Dennis O’Connor, Donna Uchizono, Yoshiko Chuma, and Yves Musard. She also works with Trisha Brown as an assistant director on Schubert’s ‘Winterriese’, continues to re-stage the work, and has appeared as a guest performer in the Trisha Brown company.

As a teacher, Jodi has taught master classes, technique, and workshops throughout the US, Europe, Australia, Russia, and Asia. Her gift as a teacher has been to translate movement into a format accessible to all bodies and all disciplines.

Her choreography has been shown in NYC, Japan, Ireland, Estonia, and Russia.

TimeOutNY has called her “extraordinary.” Chris Dohse of Dance Insider has said, “Jodi Melnick dances with the kind of porcelain beauty and rare, compelling physical presence that would make watching her boil water a satisfying experience.” And Claudia La Rocco of the The New York Times has called her most recent work, Fanfare (presented at the Kitchen in NYC) “one of the most satisfying dances I’ve seen.”

Holly Faurot & Sarah Paulson (performance) have collaborated for the past six years on performances that focus on movement as a language of basic human interaction. These large-scale, endurance-oriented performance artworks exist between the realms of performance art and dance and serve as non-linear autobiographical documents. The collection and comparison of their shared and unshared personal experiences are translated and re-assessed through the use of multiple videos, chance improvisation, sound and the choreography of the breakdown of time.

Faurot and Paulson’s work has been performed publicly throughout New York City and has been presented in galleries/venues including NYCAMS (New York Center for Art and Media Studies), English Kills Art Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NurtureArt, Brooklyn, The Chocolate Factory Theater, P.I.T. (Projects In Transit), and Spark Contemporary Art Space, in Syracuse, NY, among others. Their recent work, “Your Beautiful Grunt” was developed in the Harold Clurman Center for New Works in Movement and Dance Theatre Artist-in-Residence Program (MAD-AIR), at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and was performed in September 2008.

John Soares (photographs) is a gifted photographer with a seasoned gut for natural light and refreshing composition who infuses every shot with an unexpected sense of honesty and visual economy. His work is either a modern twist on the classical aesthetic, or a classical twist on the new aesthetic. He’s been called the “King-Daddy of Inventiveness;” Always trying something unexpected, whether it’s shooting portraits in a bowl of milk or projecting stuff onto other stuff or kicking tripods while the flash is going off. While the process is unequivocally slapstick, the outcome is consistently raw and emotional and always content based. Based in Boston, he shoots for a lot of major magazines and has won a bunch of big awards. (

Jeff Mellin (graphic art/video) is an award-winning art/creative director and illustrator who’s worked for national, regional and city magazines, arts and non-profit organizations, indie record labels and corporate clients. In recent years his creative arsenal has expanded to include photography, video editing and installation. Now based in Philadelphia, he works for clients from coast to coast, and collaborates with other artists of all sorts. (

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