Null Point is an initiative for experimental music and sound art in Buffalo, NY founded in 2014. A flexible collective of artists working at junctures between music composition, sound art, performance, media art, and social practice, Null Point focuses on context-sensitive, embodied, participatory, and durational work by institutionally and socially marginalized artists.
Null Point’s events emphasize new work by emerging artists as well as neglected radical works of the past. In the realm of new work, Null Point has overseen the creation of place-situated sound works in vacant grain silos and other outdoor sites by Alejandro Acierto, Abby Aresty, Tim Feeney, Arrow Fitzgibbon, Jez riley French, Ethan Hayden, Sarah Hennies, Christian Kesten, Christof Migone, Lena Nietfeld, Matt Sargent, James Saunders, Andrea Steves, and Colin Tucker. With older experimental music, the initiative has aimed to construct performance and curatorial contexts for radical intermedia work where none exist. In 2017 Null Point gave the belated world premiere of David Dunn’s 1975 day-long outdoor piece PLACE, leading to additional performances around North America and a guest-edited special issue of the journal Sound American on the piece. In 2018 the initiative has begun a long-term focus on the work of Yoko Ono, with performances scheduled in 2019 and beyond.
Synthesizing the possibilities of the contemporary music ensemble and the post-studio art curatorial project, Null Point combines the former’s intensive focus on performance practice with the latter’s attention to place- and community-situated curatorial practice. In this way, Null Point curates events by fostering synergies between work and context, creating ideal circumstances for a particular work and, conversely, programming works that intervene optimally in particular circumstances. Performance and curatorial practice are built from the ground up for each work and context; as a result, the initiative often keeps works in its repertoire for years (for instance, work by Eva-Maria Houben, Mieko Shiomi, Mark So) and sustains long-term institutional partnerships (Artpark, Silo City, WASH Project).
Null Point cultivates partnerships with a wide range of institutions, from local to international: with arts institutions (Burchfield Penney Art Center, Canadian Music Center, Fridman Gallery, Memorial Art Gallery), community organizations (Old First Ward Community Association, Cincinnati Public Library), universities (Dartmouth College, Eastman School of Music, Princeton University), architectural repurposing projects (Silo City, echo Art Fair at Buffalo Gear and Axle Plant), and funding agencies (Art Bridges Foundation, New Music USA, Toronto Arts Council). Event contexts include historic rustbelt industrial sites, parks, laundromats, former toxic waste sites, streets, rivers, and libraries, in addition to more conventional art spaces.