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UPCOMING September – December 2015

August 25th, 2015 by helga

The Book of Scores at Disjecta

light falling


9 – Subsonic Emissions @ The Torus Porta with RawmeanOnewayness (Erie, PA),
yek kooJulia SantoliPas Musique and Live video during the performances by Jim Tuite.
9pm @ 113 Stockholm St, Storefront 1A, Brooklyn, NY 11221

20 – Poetry Festival @ Widow Jane Mine Cave – yek koo + Julia Santoli (duet performance) 
1pm – 4pm @ 668 Route 213, Rosendale, New York 12472 – $5

26 – 1 November  – “8 Pillars”, Book of Scores exhibition & event @ Disjecta
“8 Pillars – A Free Score” – will be performed by Julia Santoli + 7 additional ladies (TBA)
8371 N Interstate Avenue Portland, OR 97217


8 – 31 – Khal @ The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in Christchurch, New Zealand
Opening reception: October 8
Performance evening: October 9 – Stainer Black-Five, Mela, Misfit Mod, French Concession, and Gemma Syme will be performing Khal scores

23 – 26Audacious Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand – public sound installation – an interpretation of the Khal score ‘Celestial’

25 – Artist talk part of Audacious Festival symposium


5 – 28 – Khal @ The Audio Foundation Gallery  in Auckland, New Zealand
opening reception: November 5 with Khal scores to be performed by Angeline Chirnside, Rachel Shearer + Beth Ducklingmonster, Purple Pilgrims, and Kathleen Kim

14 – Artist Talk @ The Audio Foundation Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand

14 – yek koo @ The Audio Foundation More TBA

18 – 31 December – Khal @ Nga Taonga Sound & Vision in Auckland, New Zealand 
opening reception: November 18 with Khal performances TBA



Unpublished Interview with Jennifer Lucy Allen of the Wire

August 25th, 2015 by helga

Jennifer Lucy Allen of the Wire asked me the following questions about my project Khal on March 30, 2015.  As far as I know it was never published.  I thought I would share the Q&A as my responses offer insight  into the project’s early landscape.

Jennifer Lucy Allen:  Can you tell me a bit about the residency – who runs it, and how/why you applied?

Helga Fassonaki: It was not a residency.  I resided in an artist’s studio for a month, but maybe I confused people by saying that cause many folks have asked me how I got a residency in Iran.   My uncle is an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor from Tabriz, Iran who now lives and works out of a studio in Shomal, which is along the Caspian Sea.  Because of him I was able to have access to this studio in Tabriz, a city in Northern Iran, part of the East Azerbaijan region. 

JLA: Can you describe the location? (Paint a picture, if possible?)

HF: To me the studio felt like a shrine located in an older part the city, close to an ancient mosque, bazaar, bathhouse, and the museum of Azerbaijan.  The studio is three floors – the main floor where I worked was more of a creative thinking hub – a kitchen, lounge area with couch and a single bed for guests, and a rectangle dining table where we’d gather for long lunch exchanges.  I worked in one of the side rooms on this floor.   The middle floor was covered in paints and stacks upon stacks of paintings and books.  The bottom floor was the sculpting studio that was covered in plaster, cement, pottery and had a giant firing kiln. Half the space was filled with huge sculptures and both finished and unfinished projects.    There was a tower air shaft that connected the floors and filled with plants.  One of my studio mates who I really bonded with would work downstairs and sing while working.  With the air shaft windows open, her raw uninhibited voice would resonate upstairs to where I worked.   Listening to her voice while I made the scores greatly influenced my process and brought incredible attention to the lone female voice, more so because its banned from public exposure in Iran. 

JLA: How extensive was your knowledge of the restrictions on performing before you started the residency?

HF: I was very aware of the laws before going to Iran.  The laws were created post 1978, after the revolution, making it difficult for both men and women to perform music other than classical and traditional, especially anything coined ‘western’.  And most specifically the law that bans women from singing solo for mixed men/women audiences.


Before I left I knew I wouldn’t be able to perform in Iran publicly, though curious about the ability to do so secretly. But still assuming I wouldn’t, I had an idea for this project to not only draw attention to the issue but also as a way to activate a global response that embraces and acknowledges the freedom of artistic expression.   I invited 16 female artists to participate before I left – all 16 accepted to receive a score in a non-standard notation that they would perform publicly in leu of my ability to do so.

 JLA: How did you present the work at the residency?

HF: I presented no work while in Iran.  I shared my process and the completion of my scores with my studio mates who were supportive and interested in the idea.

I spent my time in the studio scouting for materials (found) and creating the sculptural scores, each one was personalized for the artist I was sending it to.  My own political, emotional, and social experience while in Tabriz, seeped heavily in the making of the scores as well.  My greatest research and window into artist’s struggles came from the artists that I shared the studio with.  So I spent a lot of my time conversing with them.  One of them helped me in the process of shipping the scores from Iran to the 16 addresses outside the country.  This was a huge unexpected mission in itself.  All art must past through the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance’s council of art and possibly await months for approval or rejection before it can even reach customs.  To avoid this, my studio peer suggested I go through the normal international postal route and avoid saying I’m an artist.  I had to take the 16 objects to the post office unpackaged so they can examine before they approve packaging. I told them they were hand-crafted gifts I made for friends overseas.  They thought I was nuts and maybe took pity on me which helped a bit.  It was a crazy process nevertheless.

JLA: What have you taken away from it, as an individual and an artist?

HF: From my time in Tabriz, I learned about the significance and strength of an art community that really supports one another – its power in overcoming the pressures of society and unjust laws.  And that feminism is not about what women can’t do…its about supporting what women do and women supporting other women.   

So far I’ve had many exchanges with the participating artists and been learning a lot – this conversation is ongoing as the project moves forward.  One thing I noticed in working with these artists is that often its our own fear of public expression that inhibits us rather than backward laws.
I’ve been introducing new artists to reinterpret the scores.  One of the new added artists, Suki Dewey did a free-style spoken word interpretation of all the scores live at the Glasshouse show in Brooklyn, NY. Through our exchanges she spoke about the inhibition artists in the US have in performing publicly in the streets as activists, speaking out – being radical, political.  She asked, ‘Are we really free?’.
As I’ve been exploring this issue and the art climate in Iran, its also made me question my own strengths and abilities as an artist in a western landscape.  I’ve been developing an even deeper emotional and physical connection with voice and its channeling capabilities.

JLA: How does this project relate to your other work? 

HF: Most of my projects move through different phases – changing, evolving, and developing along the way. Nothing feels permanent or finished.  Often I bring in other artists/musicians to respond, collaborate, or interact creating another dimension or layer to the work.  This project is similar where I laid out the initial concept and then offered it outside myself to be interpreted, reflected, acted, performed, altered, expanded and exchanged, in effect creating an on going dialogue and a community outside myself. What happens in transit is what interests me most.   All my work tends to be an experiment where the outcome is unknown.  I don’t really see the point in doing something I know the outcome of.   On the other hand, its not always a clean finish.

JLA: Has anyone’s response surprised you?

HF: Artists sent me audio/video documentation of their public performances which is currently [WAS] showing at Los Angeles Contemporary Archives.  I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but very touched by the active and conceptual thought that went into each artist’s different interpretations.  Many who don’t normally sing, used their voice and I think it challenged and pushed some artists out of their comfort zones. 



July 2nd, 2015 by helga


Yek koo
Gabie Strong
Julia Santoli
Bob Bellerue

Doors: 8PM
9-15 Wyckoff Ave (L) to Halsey (M) to Myrtle/Wyckoff

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Gabie Strong (LA) and Yek Koo (NYC) – NE Summer Shows 2015

June 26th, 2015 by helga



Sat June 27
yek koo + Gabie Strong + Crazed (NY)
Spotty Dog Books and Ale
Broadcast live via Wavefarm/WGXC
440 Warren Street
Hudson, NY 12534

Wed July 1
yek koo, Gabie Strong, + local TBD
AUX/Vox Populi

Thurs July 2
yek koo, Gabie Strong, Julia Santoli, Bob Bellerue
Trans Pecos

Mon July 6
yek koo, Gabie Strong, Todd Anderson, Pretengineer
Deep Thoughts
138 South St,
Jamaica Plain
Boston, MA 02130

Tues July 7
yek koo, Gabie Strong, Jake Meginsky, and Matt Krefting
Jon Doe Jr. Record Store
269 Main St. Greenfield, MA

Wed July 8
yek koo, Gabie Strong, + local TBD
Albany Sonic Arts Collective
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St. Albany, NY




June 2nd, 2015 by helga

March 20, 2015 – April 9, 2015

'8 Pillars' score at LACA

'8 Pillars' score at LACA
Picture 1 of 32

Photos taken by Jens Jonason and Helga Fassonaki, 2015


KHAL AT GLASSHOUSE, March 11, 2015

KHAL AT LACA, March 20, 2015


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May 16th, 2015 by helga

THURSDAY MAY 21, 8:30p

9-15 Wyckoff Ave,
Ridgewood, New York 11385

FB event


yek koo live performance at KCHUNG RADIO – April 2, 2014

April 17th, 2015 by helga

Crystalline Morphologies
yek koo begins at 21:00.

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Walk Through of Khal at LACA – Thursday April 9

April 9th, 2015 by helga




Walk Through of Khal at LACA – Monday April 6

April 3rd, 2015 by helga


Photos taken by Jens Jonason, 2015


Khal At LACA – March 20 – April 9, 2015

March 29th, 2015 by helga

Khal_LACA2 Khal_LACA1Khal_LACA3 Khal_LACA4
Friday, March 20, 2015 – April 9, 2015

March 20, 2015
7:30 – 10pm – opening reception

Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA)
2245 E Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90021

An iteration of Fassonaki’s project Khal will be exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Archives (LACA) from March 20 to April 9th where the original 16 scores and recorded interpretations by the participating artists will be exhibited.

Special guest artist Fariba Safai will open the event on March 20th with a vocal interpretation of one of the scores entitled ‘Celestial’

Three artists will be performing Fassonaki’s scores live:
Kathleen Kim – performing ‘Punk Standards’
Gabie Strong – performing ‘Armour’
Shana Palmer – performing ‘Reveal Closed’.

Description of Khal project 


Khal at Glasshouse on March 11, 2015

February 23rd, 2015 by helga

Khal – A project by Helga Fassonaki
Wednesday March 11, 2015 – 8pm

246 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Glasshouse will be presenting the first iteration of Fassonaki’s project Khal on March 11th at 8pm. Sketched animation of visual scores will be accompanied by performing artist and environmental activist Suki Dewey’s spoken word interpretations.

Three artists will be performing Fassonaki’s scores live:
Zaïmph – performing ‘One Two Sides Dirty’
Kathleen Kim – performing ‘Punk Standards’
Kali Z. Fasteau – performing ‘5 Pillars’

Description of Khal project 


Sonic Postcard – Holy Conch – Airing February 14 on AFM

January 29th, 2015 by helga

Rachael Melanson, producer of Sonic Postcards  presents sounds from my Holy Conch on AFM, the radio station at Audio Foundation (Auckland, New Zealand).  Also included is an interview where I chat about my project Khal.
Airing on 1-14-15, 4pm NZST


More on Holy Conch


Matana Roberts performs One Song Two Sides Bold Breathing –

January 17th, 2015 by helga

A score created by Helga Fassonaki part of Khal project

sketch of ‘One Song Two Sides Bold Breathing’
Original Score made with felt and wire

Performed on January 14, 2015 by Matana Roberts:

KHAL Project



October 28th, 2014 by helga


In September 2014 Helga Fassonaki resided in an artist studio in Tabriz, Iran for a month. As a visual and performing artist, 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.

Due to 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 influenced by western culture, and therefore corruptive and forbidden. 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 during her residency in Tabriz to sixteen female artists and musicians living in the US, the United Kingdom, Denmark and New Zealand. The concept being that the scores be interpreted and performed publicly by these artists in lieu of Fassonaki’s ability to do so.

Different iterations of Khal will be presented at galleries in the US and New Zealand as a traveling exhibition in 2015/2016 where the scores and their interpretations by the participating artists will be displayed, heard, and reinterpreted – pushing the idea of a ‘living score’ as an archive open to edits, renewal and dialogue. As the series unfolds from one event to another, Fassonaki seeks to create a composition of voices and actions. Like the idea of Khal, (a derogatory term in Farsi for Iranian Pop music that was sent to Iran by Iranian US immigrants in the form of homemade mixed tapes so that Iranian residents could listen to their country’s own pop stars).  Through these simple actions, the hope is that the reverberation of freedom of expression can echo back across the globe and via the clandestine channels of the world wide web find it’s way back to the country in which the scores had their origin.

The participating artists who received and are performing Fassonaki’s scores include Kali Z Fasteau (NYC, NY), Kelly Jayne Jones (London, UK), Heather Leigh (Glasgow, Scotland), Jenny Graf (Copenhagen, Denmark), Zaïmph (Brooklyn, NY), Chiara Giovando (Los Angeles, CA), Shana Palmer (Baltimore, MD), Purple Pilgrims (North Island, NZ), Rachael Melanson (London, UK), Christina Carter (Austin, Texas), Gabie Strong (Los Angeles, CA), Ashley Paul (London, UK), Angeline Chirnside (Auckland, NZ), Matana Roberts (NYC, NY), Rachel Shearer with Beth Ducklingmonster (Auckland, NZ), and Kathleen Kim (Los Angeles, CA).

Additional artists include Suki Dewey (Oldwick, NJ) and Fariba Safai (San Francisco, CA).


March 11, 2015Glasshouse in Brooklyn, New York, 8PM
live performances by Kali Z. Fastaeu (NYC), Kathleen Kim (LA), and Marcia Bassett (NYC)

March 20 – April 9, 2015LACA (Los Angeles Contemporary Archives)
live performances by Gabie Strong (LA), Kathleen Kim (LA), and Shana Palmer (MD)

September 26, 2015 (opening) – Disjecta (Book of Scores curated by Chiara Giovando) in Portland, Oregon

October 8 – 31, 2015  – The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in Christchurch, New Zealand

November 5 – November 28, 2015Audio Foundation Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand

November 3 – December 18, 2015 – Nga Taonga Sound & Vision in Auckland, New Zealand 


on missing a beat

September 7th, 2014 by helga






August 13th, 2014 by helga

developed for radio only – explores the relationship between body, microphone and air movement.  investigates a sound concept without exposure to the ‘missing element’ – the physical contact between audience and performer.


Thursday April 2 – KCHUNG (Los Angeles, CA) – Crystalline Morphologies w/ DJ Gabie Strong, 7 – 9pm PST


Sunday October 26 – WSPN (Saratoga Springs, NY) – The King Loser’s Cut Out Bin w/ DJ Phil Donnelly – 10 – 12am
Saturday October 25 – WAVE FARM WGXC  (Acra, NY) – Saturday Night Special – 8pm
Monday October 13 – KDVS  (Davis, CA) – Live in Studio A with DJ Christine Richers (will air Oct 18 @ 10pm)
Sunday October 12 – KALX  (Berkeley, CA) – The Berkestir – 12 – 3pm
Saturday October 11 – KCHUNG (Los Angeles, CA) – Crystalline Morphologies w/ DJ Gabie Strong, 1 – 3pm
September 1 – WXYC (Chapel Hill, NC) – 4pm


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Crystalline Morphologies sound+vision on KCHUNG TV

July 23rd, 2014 by helga

“This is an experiment in sonic feedback set against visual dissonance. Features videos and camera work by John Pearson, with sounds by Ted Byrnes, Aisling Cormack, Helga Fassonaki, Matthew Hebert, Greg Lenczycki, Jorge Martin, RJ Russell, Andrew Scott, Jared Stanley, Gabie Strong. Live video production by Jens Jonason, Luke Fischbeck and Margie Schnibbe”
Saturday July 26 2-14
12:30 – 1:30 pm PDT
UCLA Hammer MuseumAdmission to the Made in L.A. exhibition is free. Parking is $3.Live sound and video performance for KCHUNG TV
2014 Made in L.A. exhibition @ UCLA Hammer Museum
Broadcast live on 

KCHUNG TV – Episode 8 – July 26, 2014 from KCHUNG TV on Vimeo.

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Holy Conch

July 14th, 2014 by helga

Helga Fassonaki, Oaxaca 2014

‘…one does not speak in a shell, one listens’ – (Patti Smith from poem ‘Conch’)

This project was inspired by Akio Suzuki’s ‘Listening Point’ project, Oto-Date, which I had the opportunity to experience under Suzuki and Aki Onda’s instruction during Field Studies 2014 in London.   A group of us were given maps and told to find one or more ‘listening spots’ that we later shared with the group.   No recorders, no instruments – our tools were our eyes and ears.  Our ears like shells brought us closer to an audible landscape. Holy Conch was realized with a similar intention – through the minimal act of listening allow the senses and mind to peel wide open.   Holy Conch was specifically realized while doing a residency in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Upon arrival to Mexico, I was quickly roused by the many different sights and sounds coming from every direction – It was sensory overload times 100.  I couldn’t focus on my intended project. Instead I wanted to be out of my studio and fully immersed in the cityscape.

After giving into the vibrant distractions, I decided to use churches as my listening spaces to somewhat escape the loudness – from bands to rockets to dance classes to kids shouting to drum circles to the iconic gas truck that drives with a jingle much like an ice cream truck to a man yelling ‘aqua’ every hour everyday, etc.  In contrast, I thought churches could act as spaces for inner-reflection – a solo dwelling place ideal for listening.  I located 18 churches in the Central Oaxaca area and for the remaining duration of my residency I visited a few a day.  Using each of these resonating chambers in essence as my work studio, I sat or stood underneath the dome ceilings or walked around the canals for as long as I felt like being there.  I often returned to the same church but never quite had the same experience twice.  These churches were never actually without sound.  With their doors open and much noise bleeding through, the churches were like the holy filters of society.  Sounds reflected, echoed, resonated, and transformed – yet there was silence in the form of stillness as separation from the outside world itself acted like a filter.  But with the sound of church bells came a subtle reminder of the hierarchical shape present within – a cone shaped golden spiral one can both listen through and hide within.

With a map and my notes, I invite visitors to have their own listening experience of Holy Conch, Oaxaca.

Please download PDFs and experience:


Holy Conch post live performance &  listening environment
June 30th, 2014

I created a listening environment in which I improvised live with segments of recordings I made in the different Churches – a byproduct to share with an intimate audience.  What fascinated me with the churches in Oaxaca was the underlying Pagan beliefs that were practiced before the Spanish arrived bringing over the Catholic religion (around 1521).  Many Catholic churches were built right over Pagan shrines or sacred places. The chosen spots revealed the Pagans’ close relationship with nature and land.

In my alter creation I included raw materials symbolic of a kind of Pagan ritual integrated with a Baroque gold backdrop, an essence of my sensory experiences during holy conch.  The creation of this new listening environment appeared to have meditative effects on the audience.


Obracadobra – Artist in Resident

June 7th, 2014 by helga

JUNE 2014
reporting from studio in

slow_movement   3_pieces


Studio sketches –

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June 7th, 2014 by helga

Cours de Poetique