Art, Music Thrive at SCHEMEFest

This week’s edition of the music column is a little strange
for a couple reasons. Perhaps most notably, the event I’m covering wasn’t
primarily about music. Further, of the musical acts present, I was
personally involved with (read: in) half of them. Luckily, I’ve got a solid
sense of self-deprecation, so keeping the narcissism to a minimum shouldn’t be
too taxing.

Still overflowing with that new building smell, Pomona College’s Studio Art Hall played host Nov. 7 to SCHEMEFest, a multidisciplinary art festival put on by the recently-founded 5C creative
collective Schema. The festivities took up much of the second floor and offered
something for everyone, whether you wanted to chill in the pillow fort and listen
to readings of Le Petit Prince or
dance your cares away in the Gray Space, a large room with a wall of windows that opens onto the Pomona-Pitzer baseball field. 

If I’m being entirely honest, since I spent most of my time either setting up, performing or dancing, I ended up missing many of the
installations and performances that happened earlier on in the night, like the existential consultations provided by Elicia Sara PO ’15 and the poem-and-a-drawing set-up of Wendy Johana Noreña PO ’18 and
Leyla Akay PO ’18.

With that being said, I heard enough from other Schemers to feel
confident in saying that the early acts proceeded without a hitch. While the more interactive
nature of the pieces resulted in my having to miss them, they seemed well
received, and they definitely acted as a solid way to differentiate an
event like this from the standard visual art showcases that usually take place
on the SCC Balcony. Biased as I may be, Schema’s open approach to creativity is already well on its
way to carving its own little niche on the campuses. 

As far as musical performances go, I can’t really avoid the
part where I was a third of the first piece, along with Zach Schwartz PO ’16 and Ryan Smith PO ’16. The installation ran
through various ambient soundscapes, at some points serene and others jarring
(and vaguely grimy), culminating in a sound that can’t be described as anything other than a big wall of noise. I won’t pat myself on the
back here, but the slow, chill vibes went over very well in the space of the
Art Hall classroom, a far cry from our more aggressive, strangely standoffish
performance to all of three people at Art After Hours the week before.

In the same space, Nissa Gustafson PO ’15 then performed a non-narrative,
experimental shadow puppet play with an old-school projector and paper cutouts
while an improvisational jazz trio (made up of Lucas Littlejohn PO ’17, Filip Skrzesinski
PO ’17 and Kim Rodrig PO ’17) played on the side, providing a suitable musical
counterpart to the lovely visuals.

While all this was happening, the Gray Space was
the site of a dance party, replete with four DJs (ugh, again, one of whom was
me) and some fittingly trippy projected visuals.

I won’t bother trying to actually review the DJ sets
themselves, since I can’t imagine that would interest anyone who was there or
matter to anyone who wasn’t, but I will say that Skrzesinski, Ethan Fukuto PO
’17 and Aaron Cyr-Mutty PO ’16 were all great, dropping all kinds of
heavy-hitting riddims.

Besides me trying (and failing) to get a crowd of 20 to
dance to bonkers PC Music edits, the only real hiccups in the Gray Space were
structural. The first set of speakers (which were thankfully replaced by Cyr-Mutty’s set) simply couldn’t hold up in a space that large, and started
clipping far too easily. 

Similarly, the crowd never felt dense enough for real
weirdness to ensue until far past midnight. Hopefully in the future, that problem will solve itself. Schema has only officially existed for a few weeks at this point,
and if they keep working at this pace, the creative collective could secure
their place as the artsiest party starters around.

Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC, and his first concert was NSYNC. 

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