Curating Commissioning Producing


Perfect Partner:
A sonic pile-up on America's open road

A film by Kim Gordon, Phil Morrison and Tony Oursler,
starring Michael Pitt and Jamie Bochert with a live soundtrack featuring:
Tim Barnes, Kim Gordon, Ikue Mori, Jim O'Rourke, DJ Olive

The Barbican, London, and international tour
October 2005

Perfect Partner is a first time collaboration between artist and musician Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), renowned video artist Tony Oursler and acclaimed filmmaker Phil Morrison (Junebug). In a response to America's enchantment with car culture, this surreal psychodrama cum road movie starring Michael Pitt (The Dreamers, Last Days) and Jamie Bochert unfolds to a thundering free rock live soundtrack. The sound world of Perfect Partner is textural improvised music breaking into occasional songs that interact with the narrative of the film. Kim Gordon is joined on stage by producer and composer Jim O'Rourke, percussionist Tim Barnes, laptop virtuoso Ikue Mori and turntablist DJ Olive presenting an invigorating trip through live music, video and projection in a cross media adventure.

Gordon and Oursler's shared fascination with the dream lifestyle promised by car manufacturers, and the aspirational language of car advert copy (selling cars as our 'perfect partner'), provided the inspiration for this project. What followed was the desire to work with a filmmaker to create a backdrop road movie that would lead the narrative of an 80-minute performance. Cue Phil Morrison, a renowned film maker whose feature film Junebug (2005) had major cinema distribution and was received internationally to great acclaim. Morrison has also worked extensively in advertising and video - directing videos for Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo (the latter provides the music on Junebug) - making him the ideal person to collaborate with. The resulting film tells a story of a young man in search of his mother. On his travels he falls in love with a woman who agrees to help him. Together they take a test drive which becomes a road trip and develops into a faux-Godardian adventure. Based around a dialogue mixed with car advertising copy, the lo-fi aesthetics of the film provide a setting to the music and action on stage, back projected onto a large screen. The film stars Michael Pitt fresh from his lead role as Kurt Cobain in Gus Van Sant's film Last Days.

About the Artists:

Kim Gordon is a founding member of Sonic Youth and has also been involved in numerous collaborations with other artists and musicians including Julie Cafritz and Yoshimi (in Free Kitten), husband Thurston Moore (in Mirror/Dash), Lydia Lunch, Vincent Gallo, Sean Lennon, Cibo Matto, Eddie Vedder, Yoko Ono - she even took the role of Iggy Pop in ATP LA's Stooges performance in 2002 - as well as ongoing creative relationships with visual artists such as Dan Graham, Raymond Pettibon, Mike Kelley, Jutta Koether and Richard Prince. Kim Gordon's installation work has been exhibited across the US, Japan and Europe.

Based in New York, Tony Oursler's brand of low-tech, expressionistic video theatre is singular in contemporary art. His work animates non-living objects with the use of projectors. He has exhibited works worldwide at, among others, Jeu De Pomme, Paris, the Pompidou Centre, Paris, the Metropolitan Museum Of Art and Museum Of Modern Art, New York, Tate, London and MOCA, Los Angeles.

Similarly impressive is the diverse career of Jim O'Rourke; he was a fulltime member of Sonic Youth between 2000 - 2005, music consultant on the Richard Linklater directed comedy School Of Rock and producer for Wilco among many other acts, as well as being to a key player and composer in the world of experimental music. O'Rourke has been successfully bridging the gap between rock, jazz, electro-acoustic, improv and noise for over a decade and has collaborated with musical luminaries such as improv heroes Derek Bailey, Eddie Prevost, and Keith Rowe to and Austrian electronic pioneers Peter Rehberg and Christian Fennesz (in Fenn O'Berg).

Other musicians on tour include DJ Olive who produces "Vinyl Scores" for the turntable; palettes of sound or compositional components produced in his studio and then pressed on 12" vinyl. He also runs The Agriculture label. Ikue Mori is one of the most respected musicians of the NYC downtown scene, with a past as drummer in legendary No Wave group DNA with Arto Lindsay, she is renowned for her abilities as an accomplished composer and improviser and as one of the foremost electronic music innovators for her unique use of the drum machine. She releases records on John Zorn's Tzadik label and regularly collaborates with the downtown music scene centered around the label such as Fred Frith, Zorn, Christian Marclay, Zeena Parkins and many others. Percussionist Tim Barnes can is another Zorn accolade a member of the acclaimed group Text Of Light. Collaborators include Royal Trux's Neil Hagerty, Fluxus musician Henry Flynt amongst many others. Barnes is also as the keeper of acclaimed labels Quakebasket and Siltbreeze.

Perfect Partner premiered at London's Barbican Centre on Sunday 2 October 2005. The production toured throughout the UK and international venues:

4 Oct - Sage Gateshead

5 Oct - Happy New Ears Festival Kortrijk, Belgium

7 Oct - GAS Festival Gothenberg

9 Oct - Phoenix Exeter

11 Oct - Brighton Dome

12 Oct - Romaeuropa Festival Rome

It was also premiered in the USA at Montclair State University in October 2006

Perfect Partner is produced and curated by Electra and was a CMN Tours and Barbican co-commission.

Perfect Partner Box Set
Related Links
Tim Barnes
Kim Gordon
Ikue Mori
Phil Morrison
DJ Olive
Jim O'Rourke
Tony Oursler
Touring Project
Perfect Partner
Perfect Partner