Audiovisual installation by Eli Kahn at the South Bend Museum of Art
Eli Kahn does not consider himself a visual artist.
However, the longtime local musician currently has an exhibition open until July 3 at the South Bend Art Museum.
“I like to create spaces that have a feeling for them,” Kahn says. “I think my music is based on trying to present a feeling, so I wanted to do it with a visual component.”
He released the solo album “How Are You? No, really… How are you? an immersive audio-visual experience, something he’s done a few times in the past, starting with “STRT/SLCT” with Saint Mary’s College art professor Krista Hoefle at the Birdsell Project in South Bend and, most recently, ” Portal to a Better Dimension” at South Bend’s Pier Park with visual artist GIIIVENS.
“A nice presentation”
For this project, Kahn led the design and presentation surrounding his music. In the past, he considered himself to have full control over his music, and art was a logical continuation of his endeavors.
He says that although he cannot paint a painting, the mood of his digital art is enough to make an impact compared to traditional art.
Upon entering the installation, the music seems to move around you, using the depth of the instruments to draw the viewer into the album.
“It’s a cool presentation of a project that I hadn’t really written for this specific medium, but now it’s coming to fruition and giving it new life,” says Kahn.
“It’s like the anti-Spotify”
While you can listen to the album in its current exhibit on Spotify, in the future Kahn wants to write music specific to this immersive system and only release the music as part of the exhibit.
“It’s like anti-Spotify,” he says. “Right now music is so quickly consumable that you can think of a song and listen to it five seconds later, but I want people to come into the space that I’ve created for them. It’s very intentional and I think that makes it a more meaningful connection than if your attention is turned into “I want to find this in five seconds” or “I heard the hook, I’m done with that”.
“More intentionality on emissions”
Kahn graduated from Indiana University at South Bend in 2010 with degrees in classical guitar performance and music theory and played in the bands sobriquet and The BEAT before forming his current band, the “Jazz Duo head nod” After Ours.
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While touring with After Ours, he found a large musical community in Asheville, North Carolina, and recently moved to the southern city to be more grounded in the scene there.
“Out in (Asheville), I didn’t make my own music,” Kahn says. “Usually I’m in my own band and I make my own music, but I’ve been in a lot of other people’s bands doing a lot of different music. They have an amazing funk scene, which I didn’t know about before. going there a few years ago but I love playing old classics with these amazing musicians.There is a different pedigree of artists there.
But he also wants to delegate his time artistically.
“I’m looking to play a little less than I’ve done in the past few years with more intent on the shows being really cool and less on the ones I have to make a living off of,” Kahn says. “I would really like to continue whatever I’m doing to the extent that I’m able to do it. I want to…continue to work with my band when it makes sense because we’re in different places.
“I will always have roots here”
Even in Asheville, however, he knows the South Bend area is a place where his art can dwell.
“I will always have roots here,” says Kahn. “I feel like the time I left was right after I was assigned to write a play for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra …I got to do some things that I was glad I stayed for, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in Asheville and beyond. I will always come back here. I have family here and all my friends are amazing artists that I would love to keep in touch with, but it’s really nice to go out and do other things too.
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• What: “Eli Kahn: How are you? No, really… How are you?”
• Where: South Bend Museum of Art, 120 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., South Bend
• When: until July 3
• Hours: noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday
• Cost: Free
• For more information: Call 574-235-9102 or visit southbendart.org.