Khal Publication Launch – 2 Day Event (postponed)

March 19 & 20, 2020 (Postponed due to COVID-19 until further notice)
Human Resources
410 Cottage Home
Los Angeles CA 90012

Thursday March 19, 7-11pm (Opening launch and Performances) – $10
Gallery open for viewing at 7pm
Performances begin 8pm and feature:
Swing State (Angel Chirnside and Helga Fassonaki) will perform Khal score Hypocrisy
Jessika Kenney will perform Khal score Outside In
White Magic (Mira Billotte) with Kathleen Kim will perform Khal score Hum Hum Hum Hum Hum
Pauline Lay and Ang Frances Wilson will perform Khal score Armour

Friday March 20, 7-11pm (Launch Performances and Dinner) – $20 – $25
Gallery open for viewing at 7pm
Performance and dinner begin 8pm and feature:
Helga Fassonaki and Jessika Kenney performing 8 Pillars – A Free Score Live
Special Persian Dinner Buffet (honoring Nowruz and the first day of Spring)

If interested in purchasing the very limited Khal publication, they are currently available at from these three locations (Los Angeles, Bay Area, and NYC):
Helga Fassonaki, Sming Sming Books, Drawing Room Records

Press Release

Helga Fassonaki began the Khal project in 2014 while living in Tabriz, Iran for a month. As a visual artist in Iran, what she was able to share in public was restricted. Furthermore, as a female performing artist, the use of her voice in public performance was restricted.

After the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini “condemned all forms of music, other than classical and traditional Persian music” as being corrupted and influenced by Western culture, and therefore, forbidden. During this time, Khomeini also forbade women from singing solo in public because of “the seductive quality of the female voice”.

Since performing as she chose was illegal in Iran, Fassonaki sent compositions in the form of sculptural scores created in Tabriz to sixteen female artists and musicians living in different cities and parts of the world. The concept being that the scores be interpreted and performed publicly by these artists in lieu of Fassonaki’s ability to do so.

These “living scores” were then passed on to other participants to be interpreted and performed, creating in the process an open book of socio-spatial exchange. Iterations of Khal were exhibited at Glasshouse (Brooklyn, NY), Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA), Disjecta (Portland, OR), the Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery (Christchurch, NZ), the 2015 Audacious Festival of Sonic Arts (Christchurch, NZ), Audio Foundation (Auckland, NZ), Viewfinder (Auckland, NZ), and Nga Taonga Sound & Vision (Auckland, NZ). As the series unfolds from one event to another, a cumulative composition of voices and actions will continue to grow until the law inhibiting artistic expression ceases to exist. This ongoing exchange and peaceful protest refers to the derogatory use of the Farsi word “khal,” coined to describe the passage of Iranian pop music in the form of homemade mixtapes. Once pop music was no longer being produced or sold in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, the Los Angeles Persian community sent mixtapes to residents in Iran so they could listen to their own country’s pop stars. Fassonaki remembers partaking in this movement when she was a kid residing in Los Angeles.  The steady flow of cassettes soon became state-approved in Iran, an example that gentle poetic actions can push through governing law.

After years of gathering and communicating with a growing number of participating voices, Fassonaki is thrilled to present a dedicated publication – a living archive of drawings, interviews, compositional notes, and recordings, published by Sming Sming Books and  Drawing Room Records.

Human Resources is pleased to present a two-day publication launch and exhibition on March 19 and 20, featuring the publication hot off the press, an installation of sound, artifacts and drawings, a video screening featuring one of Maryam Bagheri Nesami’s interpretations for “One Song Two Sides Bold Breathing – The Missing Score”, and a video archive featuring public performances of every artist who performed one of the scores.

Preserving Fassonaki’s original idea where each presentation of Khal is a new iteration as well as an ongoing archive, the launch will include live performances by new artists who have been chosen by some of the original recipients of the scores. The two-day launch will conclude with a special dinner hosted at Human Resources that will mark the beginning of spring and the Persian holiday of Nowruz.

The original recipients of Fassonaki’s scores include Matana Roberts (New York, NY), Kelly Jayne Jones (Manchester, UK), Kali. Z. Fasteau (New York, NY), Gabie Strong (Los Angeles, CA), Christina Carter (Austin, Texas), Chiara Giovando (Los Angeles, CA), Heather Leigh (Glasgow, Scotland), Rachel Shearer (Auckland, NZ), Jenny Gräf (Copenhagen, Denmark), Purple Pilgrims (Coromandel, New Zealand), Angel Chirnside (Auckland, NZ), Marcia Bassett as Zaïmph (Brooklyn, NY), Ashley Paul (London, UK), Kathleen Kim (Los Angeles, CA), Rachael Melanson as Ro Sen (London, UK), and Shana Palmer (Baltimore, MD).

Additional participating artists include Maryam Bagheri Nesami (Tehran, Iran / Auckland, New Zealand), Gemma Syme as Instant Fantasy (Christchurch, New Zealand), Fariba Safai (San Francisco, CA), Sarah Kelleher as Misfit Mod (Christchurch, New Zealand), Beth Ducklingmonster (Auckland, New Zealand), Tina Pihema as Piece War (Auckland, NZ), Yasi Alipour (New York, NY), Nazanin Daneshvar (New York, NY), Julia Santoli (New York, NY), Suki Dewey (Califon, NJ), Laura Sofia (New York, NY), Ella Chau Yin Chi as French Concession (Christchurch, New Zealand), Elizabeth Mary Maw (Auckland, New Zealand), Mira Billotte as White Magic (Los Angeles, CA), Hermione Johnson (Auckland, New Zealand), Zahra Killeen Chance (Auckland, NZ), Jo Burzynska as Stanier Black-Five (Christchurch, New Zealand), Helen Greenfield as Mela (Christchurch, New Zealand), Joan Sullivan (Baltimore, MD), twelve anonymous artists (Tabriz, Iran), Jessika Kenney (Los Angeles, CA), Pauline Lay and Ang Frances Wilson (Los Angeles, CA), and more as the series continues.

The publication of this project was made possible, in part, by a recently awarded Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Biographies (of those performing the launch)

Swing State (Angel Chirnside and Helga Fassonaki) 

Swing State’s brazen punk-jazz intention emerged in the lull of summer 2010, somewhere between a pink beginning and a meditative ending. Over the past decade the notions have only accumulated. Angel Chirnside, the original recipient of the Khal score “Hypocrisy”, presented Swing State with an opportunity to reinterpret the score and rehearse live as duo for the first time.

Helga Fassonaki 

Helga Fassonaki is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist and curator working with nature, sound, video, performance, and installation.  She performs solo as yek koo, a project begun in 2006 and duo in Métal Rouge (with Andrew Scott), formed in 2005. She is the founder of a curatorial project called untune.  Her work solo and in collaboration, has been presented at MOCA (Los Angeles), LACA (Los Angeles), Whitney Museum of American Art (as part of the Whitney Biennial 2014), LACE galleries (Los Angeles), Human Resources (Los Angeles), Audio Foundation (Auckland), Blue Oyster gallery (Dunedin), Box Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Disjecta (Portland), Zebulon (Los Angeles), Café Oto (London), Vox Populi (Philadelphia) among many others.

Jessika Kenney

Jessika Kenney is an award-winning vocalist, composer, sound artist, and teacher, working for the last 25 years in realms of the subtle melody, with attention to the physicality of sound, translation processes, and perceptions of context. Kenney’s music can be heard on Ideologic Organ, Black Truffle, Weyrd Son, SIGE, and bandcamp. She has performed her own compositions and those of many colleagues, as well as music of Annea Lockwood, Hossein Omoumi, Morton Feldman, Simone Forti, Giacinto Scelsi,  Jarrad Powell, Trimpin, Nartosabhdo, and many others, informed by the atmospheres and techniques absorbed through the practice of Javanese sindhenan and Persian radifs. Kenney’s ongoing collaborations with Eyvind Kang have been described as “serious, refined music” by the New York Times. Her involvements in noise, metal, electronic music and minimalism include work with Lori Goldston, Wolves in the Throne Room, ASVA, Alvin Lucier, and on the Sun City Girls last record. Her 2015 gamelan-based LP “ATRIA” was released by the avant-metal SIGE label, alongside a large-scale, site-specific and interactive sound, calligraphic score, sculpture, and video installation filling five rooms at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.

Kenney taught from 2007-2015 at her alma mater Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She studied sindhenan with Hajjah Nyi Supadmi in Central Java from 1997-2000, Tembang Sunda with Hajjah Ibu Euis Komariah in 2009, and since 2004 studies radifs with Ostad Hossein Omoumi (UC Irvine) , with whom she recorded ‘Voices of Spring’ 2007. Kenney received the James Ray Distinguished Artist Award in 2014, as well as the Stranger Genius Award in 2013 and the Korean American Coalition of Washington Artistic Achievement Award with Eyvind Kang in 2014, and the Lionel Hampton Festival Best Jazz Vocalist Award in 1992. Kenney is a VoiceArts adjunct faculty member at California Institute of the Arts since 2017.

White Magic (Mira Billotte) with Kathleen Kim

White Magic is artist, vocalist, and composer Mira Billotte, performing with accompaniment or solo, the sound ranges from psychedelia to meditative, drifting from traditional to experimental folk, a soulful, mystic music.  Billotte’s composition for Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum, Hum involves a meditative improv to open the textural landscape of cycling sound.

Pauline Lay and Ang Frances Wilson 

Pauline Lay is an instrumentalist, composer, and events organizer in Los Angeles. She has performed and presented work at several larger institutions, venues, and areas throughout the US, but has also enjoyed the spirit of DIY venues, backyards, and cozy living rooms. Apart from her solo improvised violin and electronics performances, she currently performs and collaborates with other musicians in varying iterations and genres from duets to larger ensembles including her sound enveloping piece, “5×5, a composition for 25 synthesizers.”

Her interest in creating familiarity, the feeling of giving, and human connection through sound and performance is the basis for “5:4:1, a composition for horns, voices, and percussion” -premiered on July 25, 2019 at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles. Pehrspace and its non-profit, Pehr Arts, Ltd. are other projects she spends time on.

Angela Frances Wilson is a Los Angeles born composer, with a practice built at the intersection of healing art, and improvisational music. Using modern digital and analog mediums, they investigate modes of perception, and the impact of hybrid space.  Ang is releasing & performing accessible music in the U.S., France, and Indonesia, both as an improviser, and under the moniker Teasips.  As Electric Sound Bath, Brian Griffith & Ang offer sonic aid through monthly sound bath residencies at the SIlverlake JCC, Hyperslow, and Kinship Yoga.