Jenny Gräf is a sound, video and performance artist who explores peripheral places and states through composition, improvisation and participatory works. In Gräf’s music and art she invokes immersion and rupture to explore changing perceptions of diegesis and space, formal choices rooted in a deep interest in social roles and behaviors.
Gräf has produced sound and video work from projects she designed with people with Alzheimer’s such as The Guitars Project and The Hilgos Project to explore agency within the context of memory loss. She has created a number of pieces using meals and menu such as Threshold for Action and Sound, in which the audience’s menu selections generates a score for the musicians and food servers. In 2009 she formed The Stone Carving Oraclestra, which uses Experimental Archeology and the use of phonemes to channel sonic “readings” for members of the audience. In 2009 she premiered Proud Flesh, an experimental Western shot in the Badlands of South Dakota that contains an original score by Gräf and collaborator Chiara Giovando. In 2009 she was commissioned by Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago to create Osmosymbiotic Echo, a sound installation for the Chicago Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Fern Room.
Gräf uses the Tranoe, an analogue, touch sensitive analogue synthesizer designed for her by Peter Blasser, to process live vocals, guitar and percussion and to re-organize sound to present mutations of dominant themes in music. Blending non-static patterns with composed sequences her work blurs the lines between noise and song structure. Since 1996 she has been performing with MV Carbon as Metalux. Using processed sounds and open-ended scores, their music is experienced as a kind of sonic fiction. Other music collaborations include those with Chris Corsano (in Soliton), John Wiese, Twig Harper, Marcia Bassett and Chiara Giovando.
Jenny Gräf’s work has performed and screened work at venues such as PS 1 MOMA, Issue Project Room, D’Amelio Terras Gallery in New York, High Zero Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Maryland Film Festival, Brown’s Granoff Center for the Arts, Mukha Museum in Antwerp, CCA in Glasgow, Arnolfi in Bristol, Art Cinema OFFoff in Gent, Jazz House Copenhagen, Institute for New Media in Frankfurt, and the Director’s Lounge and Liebig 12 in Berlin. Her recordings appear on labels such as Atavistic, Ehse, BoxMedia, Load, Wachsender Prozess, Hanson, No Fun, Utech, Obsolete Units and 5rc.
In 2011, together with five other artists, programmers, organizers and activists she formed Greenpants collective and began the Luminous Intervention project which uses large scale public projection and performance to open up conversations around issues such as Unfair Development, the School to Prison Pipeline, Guantanamo and Rape Culture.