A Decade Ago: Christian Renou x TJ Norris Collaboration


LOOKING BACK + AHEAD: Ten years ago I was honored with a grant to create my last installation piece (of three) in a larger installation trio series called Tribryd: Genometrics (2003), Nucleo (2005) + Infinitus (2008). The final of the three was shown at the (defunct) New American Art Union. These three exhibitions, all held at various locations in Portland, OR dealt with the gentrification of working class urban environments. Infinitus concluded the series with a collaboration between American interdisciplinary artist TJ Norris and French composer/sound artist Christian Renou.

Renou’s 71 minute soundtrack played on a repeat cycle in the large room accompanied by Norris’ ceiling-projected video that ran the same length, and shown upside down and right side up, forward and backward simultaneously.

Something mono happens. It’s that very moment when space and time intersect, it can be nullifying, disorienting. – Brad Carlile

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.44.53 PM

Guests to the space could lay on the built lunges provided for any period they chose. As I was recently rummaging through a whole array of my CD archives I found a long lost interview with Julie Bernard and her show Art Focus on KBOO radio, this was her very final season after more than twenty years, and she was sadly lost to the skies in 2015, but her spirit will not be forgotten. Her excitement about my show was palpable in the studio that day, and I share our chat its entirety here:

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 12.44.41 PM

Land of Confusion (excerpt) Christian Renou, 2003

The first rendition of the track that Renou created appeared as a ten-minute track on the Beta-lactam Ring Records release Tribryd: Installation Soundtracks (2003). And then in 2006 I invited a large roster of artists to “remix” all the original soundtracks that would subsequently be used in the trio of exhibitions and appear on the CD/DVD set TriMix (Innova/American Composers Forum). Emmy Hennings of The Wire wrote a nice review of the set at the time calling it…contemplative, rather than intrusive. It was Swedish sound artist Andreas Tilliander under his Mokira moniker who took on Renou’s original track to create his own shortened version which you can hear a portion in the above interview.

Norris has made an album significantly greater than simply the sum of its songs.” – Igloo Magazine
A seamless, endless city – Portland Mercury


Land of Confusion (version), Mokira (A. Tilliander), 2006 (Container Publishing)

In a final brilliant stroke Renou chose to release the full track (edited to 64 minutes), but reprocessed & recorded at Brume Rec. in 2009 under his distinctive Brume moniker on the Songs From Under The Floorboards imprint (which falls under the Intransitive Recordings) in a short edition of 100 copies on vinyl with the title Draft of Confusion (2010).

Which leads us to the present day, when much of this is not but a memory, an archive, and I am starting to consider the possibilities of collaborating again, of potentially creating an installation that would deal with space in new ways, just thinking, processing, and moving forward…..

As you unpeel the layers of collaboration you hear echoes of Norris’s visual record of urban change.” – Tim Rutherford-Johnson


The city at night, and in the rain. – Art Scatter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s