Louis Katz

Five Octaves: A visit by the organ repairman



up one


Rebuild in Studio

Statement written for The Kansas City performance

Ceramics has edges. Step over the edge, G-d forbid, you are a painter. Where are these edges, and what happens when you get close?
I have been making kilns as art for quite a while. This pipe organ kiln is about as far as one could get from something to fire pots and still call it a kiln. Outside of the "fun with flames" aspect of clay, this piece does not seem ceramic. I have thoughts about doing away with the kiln and just using pilots on my gas jets.
There is a smidge of tinker and alchemist in potters of the 20th century U.S. Usually the tinkering has to do with kilns; the Bendel's Burner, Olson's Flat-top, Lowell Bakers' sawdust burners. Glazes bear the formulator's names; Shaner Red, Wertz Carbon Trap, Leach 1234 Celadon, and Katz 1,1,1, Celadon. Perhaps this kind of tinkering is what ties my work to clay.
Modern tinkers often feel that they would have been better born in the age of steam. They are often more comfortable around mechanical devices and simple electricity than silicon chips. Smoke, noise, heat, simple machines and steam are not qualities that make the ceramist tinker nervous. These qualities along with the rhythms of train travel should be comfortable to the potter, with his machines, smoke and rhythms.
The clicks of tracks go by as pots and musical measures do. Music is cut into sections and phrases, pottery into wareboards. Other delimiters of rhythm, stations stops, kiln loads, symphonic movements all relate. In pottery we often affiliate ourselves with the material. Perhaps another affiliation is with rhythm.
In 1975 I made a conscious decision to cut back on music to devote time to clay. Who would have guessed that 27 years later I would be practicing keyboard music an hour a day for a ceramic performance. Clay, music, math, and dance have threads of commonality. Describing music through patterns in flame, pottery form through the dissection of curves in calculus, and understanding throwing through dance, all has value. My work here I hope will also be fun.

Corpus Performance

Archie Bray

Kansas City

Link to EOZEO documentary on The Archie Bray Performance

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Performance in KAnsas City,2002

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1 Megabyte Short