Michel Nedjar was born in 1947 in the Parisian suburb of Soisy-sous-Montmorency to an Algerian Jewish father and a Polish Jewish mother. His discovery of the Holocaust, in which he lost several family members, occurred with the shock of seeing Alain Resnais’ film Nuit et brouillard (Night and Fog), which inspired both his drawing and doll-making. Following his encounter with avant-garde filmmaker Téo Hernandez, he began extensive travels in India, Morocco and Mexico, became an avant-garde filmmaker (having participated in the group MétroBarbèsRochechouArt), and generally began his artistic endeavors. At the same time, he also was a co-founder of the major museum of Art Brut in France, L’Aracine, now part of the Lille Métropole musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut (LaM). His work is included in the collections of many museums, including the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme (Paris), the Collection de l’art brut (Lausanne), and the Centre Pompidou (Paris) as part of the Donation Daniel Cordier, and he has regularly been exhibited around the world, notably with retrospective exhibitions in Germany and Holland (Les Ongles en Deuil, 1995-96), France (Chairdâme, 2001), Austria and Switzerland (animo.!, 2008-09), with another major retrospective planned at LAM in 2017.
Allen S. Weiss
Allen S. Weiss curated the show and edited the catalogue Poupées [Dolls] at the Halle Saint Pierre in Paris; his object theater My Dolls has been performed internationally; and besides the three versions of Danse macabre that he created at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, he has also directed Theater of the Ears (a play for electronic marionette and taped voice based on the writings of Valère Novarina) and produced with Gregory Whitehead L’Indomptable (an essay on dolls) for France Culture, as well as both Glissando (Hörspiel) and Radio Gidayū (soundscape / musique concrète) for the Klangkunst program at Deutschlandradio Kultur. He is the author and editor of over 40 books in the fields of performance theory, landscape architecture, gastronomy, sound art and experimental theater, including Phantasmic Radio (Duke); Feast and Folly: Cuisine, Intoxication, and the Poetics of the Sublime (SUNY); Varieties of Audio Mimesis: Musical Evocations of Landscape (Errant Bodies); Zen Landscapes: Perspectives on Japanese Gardens and Ceramics (Reaktion); two culinary autobiographies, Autobiographie dans un chou farci (Mercure de France) and Métaphysique de la miette (Argol); as well as a novel, Le livre bouffon (Le Seuil). His work has been supported by Fulbright, Étant Donnés and Japan Foundation grants, and he teaches in the Departments of Performance Studies and Cinema Studies in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Tom Rasky is an independent filmmaker, animator, jazz musician, sound engineer, and visual artist. Following a successful career as an industrial and commercial builder in Toronto, he has devoted himself to the arts. He produced the multi-award-winning film A People Uncounted (2012), the first full-length documentary concerning the fate of the Roma during the Holocaust, which has been featured in film festivals around the world and which was nominated for the Producers Guild of America Award. He has just completed production on the short animated film Journey to the Moon, as well as on the animated comedic short INC’d, for which he and his team have developed several new animation techniques. As a sound engineer he has recorded many major artists in all genres of music on the Toronto scene, including work on several Juno Award winning albums. He plays weekly as drummer and percussionist in various jazz, funk and rock bands.
Photo: Tamara Romanchuck
Alex Waterman is a cellist and composer based in New York. His duo with dancer Michael Schumacher was featured in the Lyons Biennale, the Steps Festival, and Strut Festival in Perth. His sound installations have been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Serpentine Gallery, The Highline, Vilma Gold, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht. His books include Agape and Between Thought and Sound (both with Will Holder) and a book on Robert Ashley, Yes, But is it Edible? (New Documents, 2014). He has scored and co-directed several award winning films including A Necessary Music, which won the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2009. He has composed soundtracks for a number of artists including Shannon Ebner, Cameron Gainer, and Ricardo Valentim. Waterman participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial where he built a television studio and installation space to produce three operas by Robert Ashley. He has taught at Bard College, NYU, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University.
Photo: Elisa Santiago
Sasha Boychouk grew up in a musical family in Western Ukraine. Since early age he was exposed to a rich diversity of East European ethnic music. The decision to become a professional musician brought him to the renowned St. Petersburg conservatory and the St. Petersburg symphony orchestra under the direction of Evgeny Mravinsky. After graduation he got a job with the St. Petersburg TV/Radio orchestra. Also he became a leader of the Moscow Saxophone Quintet with which he has traveled all over Europe, Asia and North America. On the trip to Canada, Sasha Boychouk decided to make this country his home, which gave him many opportunities to play with world's greatest jazz players such as Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Pat Metheny, Diane Schuur, Arturo Sandoval and pop stars like Michael Bolton, Gladys Knight, Michael Bublé and others. He also works extensively on original Broadway productions.
Brandon Scott Besharah
Brandon Scott Besharah is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer. He has studied advanced acoustic guitar technique in France under Pierre Bensusan, and with Canadian guitarist Don Ross, as well as jazz saxophone under Kirk MacDonald, and jazz theory under Barry Harris and has performed with Don Thompson, Oliver Schroer, Don Ross, Haygood Hardy, Guido Basso, and Pat LaBarbara among others. He appeared on all the major Canadian television networks, and was featured on the 1998 Juno Award winning album by Judy and David, and has been awarded several Ontario Arts Council, Factor, VideoFact and Canada Arts Council Grants during his career, including the award for Best Performer of the year on CIUT’s “Acoustic Workshop” radioshow. Brandon Besharah works out of Toronto Canada as a music educator, composer and session musician.