Concert no.5 – Photon Ecstasy


Friday, October 14, 2016
8:00pm (doors open @ 7:30)
@ NOMADLOFT – by invitation only
l’Artiste ordinaire is performing the soft premiere of Photon Ecstasy.


Listen online via Clocktower Radio Livestreaming



Photon Ecstasy is a performance project that engages music, sound, light, and science fiction to address the hubris of certainty. Created by l’Artiste ordinaire (Melissa Grey & David Morneau), it is a concert-length performance for spoken word, trombone, interactive light and electronics—including the beeps of subverted video game systems, samples from the NASA Audio Collection, and the randomness of the benjolin modular synthesizer. It is based on Dan Rose’s The DNA-Photon Project, an artist book and twenty-five machine-sculptures, which explores the certitude of industrialized capitalist countries, national security secrecy, and corporate overreach.

The performance is an adaptation of the original story about the quest to beam one woman’s DNA into the many worlds of the universe. Further inspiration is drawn from Message From Earth, the record created by NASA for Voyager, which transmits human culture deep into space. Grey & Morneau blur the lines between presentation and performance, fact and fiction, and art and commentary.

Photon Ecstasy was commissioned by the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania for “Arbitrary Pleasures: Plaisirs Arbitraires,” an exhibition of some never-before-seen artist books from Penn emeritus professor, Dan Rose. Drawing from the tradition of formal constraints Rose’s visual narratives of such topics as the underarm, anthropology, philosophy, sex, motherhood, large corporations, and gender identity take the viewer-reader on journeys into elegant absurdity.

l’Artiste ordinaire will premiere Photon Ecstasy at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania on October 20, 2016.


Melissa Grey & David Morneau
Composers – Performers

Robert Kirkbride
Trombone Mute Designer (“culoboccalogist”)

Ezgi Ucar
Creative Technologist

Gregory Beson
Trombone Mute Fabricator

Dan Rose
Artist. Author: The DNA-Photon Project


Established in January 2016, l’Artiste ordinaire (l’Ao) is a collaborative partnership between composer-performers Melissa Grey and David Morneau that has launched electronic performances and Soft Series, a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres. Live electronic performances include 7^3 [M] (Benjolin synthesizer, Game Boy), Gadget Berry Dimple: A Glossary of False Translation (Benjolin, Merlin, Spoken Word) for Hans Tammen’s Rakete bee bee? Rakete bee zee! 100th Anniversary of Dada at Spectrum NYC, and Hyperlocal 2.0 for Thomas Piercy (Bass Clarinet, Sine Waves, Beats). l’Ao is developing Photon Ecstasy, a concert-length performance project that engages music, sound, and science fiction to address the hubris of certainty, which will premiere at the University of Pennsylvania Special Collections Library in conjunction with the exhibition of artist Dan Rose’s DNA-Photon Project (October 2016).


Composer Melissa Grey’s projects include concert works, electroacoustic performances, installations, food and sound events, and frequent collaborations with artists, architectural designers, musicians and composers. Her works have been described as “elegantly diabolical…strikingly eerie and captivating” ( Recent projects include kinetic scores based on combinatorial memory wheels: blur (after blue hour) for Payton MacDonald’s Sonic Divide project and Volvelle for the Bowers-Fader Duo. She created an electronic soundscape with the modular synth Benjolin to broadcast in the gallery space for the exhibition curated by artist Angela Grauerholz, Michèle Lemieux | The Whole and Its Parts, From drawing to animated films, exhibited at the Centre de design, Université du Québec à Montréal September-November 2016.

With artist and animator Nicole Antebi, she has ongoing animation-sound projects that include live performance and processing with Grey performing a vintage Merlin music machine: Procrustean Bed, composed for violinist Lynn Bechtold, premiered at the New West Electronic Arts and Music Organization Festival in San Diego; and Magic Square, a triple collaborative effort, features new music by synthpop pioneer, Vince Clarke, and premiered at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York.

Grey teaches Sound Studies at the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York City. She is an Associate Director of Composers Concordance, and a Board Member of Miolina, the violin duo of Lynn Bechtold and Mioi Takeda.


David Morneau is a composer of an entirely undecided genre. Described by Molly Sheridan as a “shining beacon” of inspiration, his diverse work illuminates ideas about our culture, issues concerning creativity, and even the very nature of music itself. His eclectic output has been described variously as “elegantly rendered”, “happily prissy”, “impressive”, “unusual, esoteric, and offbeat”. His chiptune album, Broken Memory, “absolutely wrecks shop.… For that, David Morneau wins.” His current projects include Not Less Than the Good, a secularized morning prayer service based on Henry Thoreau’s Walden, which is being composed for New Thread Quartet (a New York based saxophone ensemble) and will include field recordings made at Walden Pond and read excerpts from Thoreau’s book performed by J.D. McClatchy; and Vintage Machines, a series of pieces utilizing vintage video game systems to make music. Morneau is composer-in-residence with Immigrant Breast Nest, a New York City netlabel.


Robert Kirkbride is Dean of Parsons School of Constructed Environments and Associate Professor of Architecture and Product Design. Dr. Kirkbride has been director of studio ‘patafisico for 25 years, and is also Spokesperson and a founding Trustee for PreservationWorks, a non-profit organization for the adaptive reuse of Kirkbride Plan Hospitals. Robert designed the Morbid Anatomy Museum, in Brooklyn, NY, with collaborator Anthony Cohn, and authored the award-winning multimedia online book, Architecture and Memory, which focuses on two Renaissance memory chambers. Kirkbride has been a visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and architect-in-residence at the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy. At Parsons/The New School, where he recently received the University Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr. Kirkbride established the Giuseppe Zambonini Archive at the Kellen Design Archives, and is an ongoing contributor to Memory Studies. Robert received his Ph.D. in the History and Theory of Architecture from McGill University, and a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Design of the Environment from the University of Pennsylvania.


Ezgi Ucar is a New York based sound artist, creative technologist and multimedia designer. She earned her MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design, soon after her undergraduate studies in Industrial Engineering at Middle East Technical University. Her works revolve around sound experiments, multisensory explorations, physical computing, wearable technology and material research. She exhibited and performed her work at Metropolitan Museum of Art, Circuit Bridges Concert Series, SXSW Interactive, Parsons School of Design, Eyebeam, NYC Media Lab, Numa Paris, and New York Hall of Science. She gave talks about her projects at SXSW Interactive 2016 , Immersive Worlds Conference at Baruch College and Dreamyard Project. She is currently working as a creative technologist at Loomia, where she is also a resident artist.


Gregory M Beson is a designer and craftsman living in New York City. He continues to practice professionally and hone his hand skill while also expanding his perception and knowledge through studies in art, design & philosophy.

Currently Gregory is enrolled in Parsons School of Design Industrial Design MFA Program for which he has received the Presidential Scholarship.

He earned a Bachelor of Sciences degree from The New School University as a member of the Cohort 21 experimental experiential self directed learning program, for which he was awarded an accompanying full scholarship & fellowship.


Dan Rose is a leading theoretical artist working back and forth across two dimensional images and the way they are transformed by various techniques into three dimensions. Trained as an anthropologist, Rose wrote Black American Street Life about living on the streets of Philadelphia the year after Martin Luther King was murdered. His artistic production began by making a hundred one-of-a-kind artist books and covers many of which have been distributed by the Serpentine Gallery and the London ICA in the UK and by Printed Matter and other venues in the U.S.

His artist book, The DNA-Photon Project included 25 actual machines and thus became a three dimensional novel. A collaborator, Melissa Grey, composed music based on the book and wrote and performed a radio play that aired in New York City and London. With Rachel Cheetham-Richard he formed the Steamroller Laboratories devoted to visual experimentation; and the results of their collaboration has been shown in Philadelphia galleries. They have also founded an artist circle called the OuDiPo, translated from the French as, the sewing circle of potential images.

Dan Rose is a Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania from which he also received an honorary Master of Arts degree.


[photo by Karjaka Studios]


Soft Series is a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres of new music in an intimate environment with lively pre- and post-concert conversation.