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Single Wing Turquoise Bird

Visions and Voices

Single Wing Turquoise Bird was among the most sophisticated of the 1960s and ’70s psychedelic light shows. They used overhead projectors, slide projectors and film projectors to create swirling visual compositions. The group, who reformed several years ago, adding new technologies, will present two performances and a workshop.
Single Wing Turquoise Bird was among the most sophisticated of the 1960s and ’70s psychedelic light shows. Formed in 1968 in Los Angeles, “the Bird” accompanied legendary bands including Cream, the Velvet Underground, Sly and the Family Stone, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. Later, they performed to music by Steve Reich, Terry Riley and other avant-garde composers. With a core group of seven artists improvising collectively in real-time, the group used overhead projectors, slide projectors and high-intensity 16mm film projectors to create swirling visual compositions made from multicolored immiscible liquids. Anaïs Nin described their shows as “like a thousand modern paintings flowing and sparkling.” The Bird reformed several years ago, adding new members and incorporating digital technologies. The group will present two performances accompanied by Serbian guitarist Miroslav Tadic. Each performance will be unique, as the images and music are improvised, reflecting the interplay between the members of the Single Wing Turquoise Bird and guest musicians.

A three-day workshop will teach students about projected-light equipment, improvisation and collaboration in multimedia performance. The workshop is open to USC students only. For information about the workshop, please contact Christine Panushka at panushka@usc.edu.

Organized by Christine Panushka (Animation and Digital Art) and David E. James (Critical Studies).   

Photo: Andy Romanoff