Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler
River of Fundament (REN)
Audio Project Management, Coordination (Audio), Sponsoring,
Technical Recording System Design, Budgeting (Audio)
Jonathan Bepler, Matthew Barney Studio
In 2008 I worked again with composer Jonathan Bepler on the Matthew Barney opera project REN, which took place in an old car lot in Los Angeles. With a generouse sponsoring of Microtech Gefell and True Systems we were able to record the live opera using a 32 channel recording setup. Artists that were recorded included price winning ranchera singer Lila Downs and a marching band. “Ren” represents the first stage of the soul in its journey through the afterlife, in which it’s “Secret Name” is released. This first chapter in the River of fundament project will reference the Cremaster Cycle, linking Barney and Bepler’s earlier project to the iconography and of ancient Egypt. The 1967 Chrysler Imperial used in Cremaster 3 is set in the parking lot of the dealership, demolished an funereal, accompanied by a drum and bugle corps who parade the audience further into the lot and towards the showroom. The Chrysler Imperial is dragged inside the showroom and then shredded with a 20 ton excavator. Khepera, the Egyptian god of self-renewal appears, and presides over the activity to follow. A group of mechanics enter the showroom and separate the remains of the car into piles using cutting tools. Forming a chorus, the mechanics and musicians proceed through the lot and leave the dealership. Khepera, alone with the remains in the showroom chamber, sings of the Ren.