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Soundtrack | Katinka Kleijn

May 02, 2023 - May 31, 2023

Free with museum admission

A rocky coastline on a cloudy day.

Duane Linklater, Sunrise at Cape Spear (still), 2011. Single-channel HD digital video, text from Wikipedia conversations, artist story (handout);
12 minutes, 39 seconds.
Courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.

About the Event

At the invitation of Duane Linklater, cellist Katinka Kleijn performs in response to “Santu’s Song,” a musical fragment, in the exhibition Duane Linklater: mymothersside. The performances occurs at regular intervals in early May, but at unannounced times, creating the opportunity for a serendipitous encounter. Linklater conceived these performances in connection with his 2011 project Sunrise at Cape Spear, on view in the exhibition at the MCA. “Santu’s Song” and Sunrise at Cape Spear each present spare yet poignant elegies to the Beothuk, Newfoundland’s Indigenous inhabitants, who were falsely thought to have perished in 1829.

“Santu’s Song” is a fragment of a song as remembered by Santu Toney, a Beothuk woman who learned it from her father when she was a child. In 1910, just prior to Toney’s death at age 75, anthropologist Frank Speck recorded the song on wax cylinder. However, having long since left Newfoundland where she lived among other Indigenous peoples, Toney could no longer recall its meaning or context for the Beothuk. As a translation several steps and many years removed from cultural practice, this performance touches on both loss and survival.

Soundtrack is a series that invites contemporary sound-based artists to transform your MCA experience on a select day of the month with custom soundtracks reflecting their perspective of works on view in the museum. DJ sets and bands occupy spaces in the museum as the building itself amplifies their sound constructions.

About the Artist

A woman playing a cello is dramatically lit against a black background.

Katinka Kleijn. Photo © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017.

Hailed by the New York Times as “a player of formidable expressive gifts,” Dutch-born cellist Katinka Kleijn has enjoyed a genre-defying, interdisciplinary career. Classically trained, she has since cultivated an exploratory, interactive creative practice at the fertile intersection of improvisation, composition, and performance art.

Much of Kleijn’s work illuminates the cello’s anthropomorphic qualities, often by placing the instrument in thought-provoking new contexts. In 2019, Kleijn and cellist Lia Kohl waded in Chicago’s Eckhart Park Pool with 30 cellos for their devised piece Water On the Bridge. Similarly, Kleijn’s The Body as a Variable Resistor (2021) uses a shared-circuit synthesizer to articulate parallels between the human and cello body. RESIDUUM (2022), a film made in collaboration with Aliya Ultan, pairs Kleijn’s cello with trash of epic proportions, like 600 feet of Mylar or a dress made of soda cans.

An active musician in classical and contemporary classical spheres, Kleijn is a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and International Contemporary Ensemble. She has performed as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Hague Philharmonic, and the Chicago Sinfonietta, and presented her solo multimedia presentations at the Library of Congress, North Carolina Performing Arts, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. Kleijn’s 2016 world premiere performance of Dai Fujikura’s cello concerto at Lincoln Center was released by SONY Japan. As an improviser, she has collaborated with musicians like Bill MacKay, Ken Vandermark, Macie Stewart, Joe McPhee, Claire Rousay, Caroline Davis, Damon Locks, and Du Yun.

Kleijn is a Drag City recording artist, releasing STIR with Bill MacKay (2019), Momentum 5: Stammer with Ken Vandermark (2021), An Ayler Xmas with Mars Williams (2017), and SINE NOMINE with Mark Feldman (2022).