Bio

Zak Argabrite is an artist working in music, art and technology based in Wellington New Zealand interested in how sound, performance, text, space, and light can relate to social/cultural ritual and an awareness of the people and things around us. They create pieces for performance and installation, inventing and building in a variety of mediums surrounding the concert and sound art domains including performance notation, instrument building and handmade electronics.

Zak was born in Louisville, Kentucky where they grew up playing jazz, funk, blues, experimental and classical music, while maintaining a passion for visual arts. They moved to NYC in 2012, where they studied Jazz, Composition and Sound Arts, and worked for several years in audio engineering and venue management. In 2019, Zak relocated to Wellington, New Zealand where they are currently pursuing a PhD in Sonic Arts at Victoria University of Wellington.

As a composer, Zak has had the privilege to have had performances internationally and written music for large ensembles, orchestras, big bands, chamber ensembles, and solo artists. Zak has also had the opportunity to exhibit works of installation and video art, and perform internationally in a variety of settings on saxophones, clarinets, homemade wind instruments, custom-made electronic instruments, and as a visual projection artist.

News

Whenua Pūoro

14.APR.2021
ᏏᏲ, I will be helping to lead a workshop with musician Noel Meek and taonga pūoro composer/performer Rob Thorne, 24 APRIL 2PM NZST at the Adam Concert Room at NZSM, Te Whanganui-A-Tara, Aotearoa. The workshop will focus on performing with natural materials (specifically stones), in the context of taonga pūoro and in works by Pauline Oliveros and Christian Wolff. Stones will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own 🙂 Following the workshop will be a performance led by Noel, Rob and myself.

BROWSER Festival

18.MAR.2021
I’ll be collaborating with artist Becky Brown on a new web art piece for the inaugural 2021 BROWSER Festival (11-12 June). The festival will have an in-person component held in Stuttgart DE, but will also be accessible online internationally.

MAL PRACTICE

14.FEB.2021
ᏏᏲ! I’ll be performing visuals using some circuit-bent and hacked video equipment for MAL PRACTICE, a night of experimental club music at Valhalla, Te Whanganui-A-Tara, Aotearoa 8PM-3AM NZST. The event is part of PRACTICE, an ongoing series of experimental club shows. Check out the awesome poster and more about the event ᎠᎭᏂ.

New project with Celeste Oram

15.FEB.2021
I’ll be leading the design and build for four custom-made electronic devices for composer Celeste Oram to be featured in an upcoming theatrical work of Celeste’s. The piece is being written for Berlin-based German/Icelandic ensemble Adapter. A performance date for this project is TBD, 2022.

ResBaz Performance and Research Presentation on YouTube

26.NOV.2020
I’ve uploaded the live stream from my ResBaz presentation (see previous post) onto my YouTube page. Thank you to everyone who tuned in it was a really good time for me! Check it out here:

Upcoming Virtual Performance and Research Presentation

10.NOV.2020
I’ll be doing a YouTube live stream as part of Research Bazaar (ResBaz) hosted by Auckland University and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. You can find info about the conference here:

https://resbaz.auckland.ac.nz/

In my live stream I’ll be discussing the PhD research in Sonic Arts that I’m undertaking at New Zealand School of Music and the Victoria University of Wellington’s Engineering Department. I’ll be showing off some of the second-hand, discarded e-waste devices that I’ve been collecting as part of that research, some of the hacking I’ve been doing to turn them into audio visual instruments. I’ll then be doing a 20 minute performance, followed by some discussion about the environmental concerns that e-waste poses and how this informs my recent work. Should be fun!

Valhalla show with Amy Jean and Alice Agnes

1.NOV.2020
I’ll be playing with projections for a show with my friend Amy Jean as well as Alice Agnes at Valhalla in Wellington NZ on Friday 13th.

https://www.facebook.com/events/284046122869262/

New Streaming Project e-Waste TV (eW-TV)

1.SEP.2020
I’m excited to announce some new things underway for a big project. Please start watching this space for some audio visual work that is coming out of my PhD Sonic Arts research into e-waste here at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

All the devices used to produce the audiovisual works broadcast at this link will be from my growing collection of second-hand, discarded e-waste circuits which I will be hacking, circuit-bending, modding, and artistically recontextualising into pieces for performance and installation over the next few years. Currently all my broadcasts are made from my studio here in Wellington, New Zealand.

8.JUN.2020
On May.24.2020 a new work of mine, Dirt was broadcast on 95bFM’s Artbank show. I had a chat with Tom Tuke about the piece and what it’s been like watching COVID in NYC from here in New Zealand. You can listen to the interview below:

You can check out the whole show {here}.

Audio Painting for InfraSound

1.MAY.2020
InfraSound Ensemble has recently released my collaboration with them, Objects Improv #1 and it also serves as the fourth installment in my Audio Painting series. The collaboration started with InfraSound ensemble using a four minute video I made to improvise with household objects in sync with the changing colors and shapes. Their four minute improvisations were re-mixed into an eight minute track and given to me to “score” with a new video. The combined eight minute video/audio is below:

Dirt

18.APR.2020
My new piece Dirt is up, more info on the work page. You can also listen here:

Events

(Past events under construction)

Upcoming:

JUN.11-12.2021 Virtual collaborative work with Becky Brown for BROWSER Festival 2021
@ The World Wide Web (Time TBA){info}

Past:

MAR.03.2021 Public PhD Confirmation presentation on my research
@ 86FT 006 New Zealand School of Music 10AM-11AM NZST

FEB.20.2021 Performing live with hardware-hacked projections for MALPRACTICE
@ Valhalla 8PM-?? NZST

NOV.26.2020 Virtual Performance/Presentation for ResBaz 2020
@ YouTube Live 12PM-1PM NZST, {info} {watch}

NOV.13.2020 Performing live with hardware-hacked projections with Amy Jean and Alice Agnes
@ Valhalla 11PM-3AM NZST, Wellington NZ {info}

MAY.24.2020 Dirt broadcast and radio interview on 95bFM’s Artbank
@ 95bFM 10.00AM-12.00PM NZST {listen}

MAY.14.2020 Audio Painting commissioned by InfraSound Ensemble
@ Facebook Live 7.30PM EST {watch}

JAN.01.2020 Pan Sonus performs ITCHY
@ St. John’s in the Village, New York NY USA

JAN.12.2020 Orchestra Enigmatic performs Debris Cloud
@ 21C Gallery, Louisville KY USA {watch}

JAN.10.2020 Orchestra Enigmatic performs Debris Cloud
@ 21C Gallery, Louisville KY USA

OCT.19.2019 Solo improvisation
@ Pyramid Club, Wellington NZ

AUG.29.2019 PanSonus performs ITCHY
@ Pyramid Club, Wellington NZ {info}

AUG.31.2019 PanSonus performs ITCHY
@ New Zealand School of Music, Wellington NZ

Watch

Audio Painting Series (2020-present):


debris cloud 2016/17 (2019)
for chamber orchestra and cellphones
written for Orchestra Enigmatic


ITCHY (2019)
for 2 performers and electronics
written for PanSonus


TOCAR (2016) rev. 2019
for performer and installation
performed by Jon Clancy


AGENT/OBJECT/PLACE/USE (2018)
on orchestra


werkFalse (2017)
for solo flute, performer with amplified ears and amplified table
performed by Leia Slosberg


[UNTITLED] (2016) (2017) (version for cello)
for cellist, installation and electronic performer
performed by Thea Mesirow and Zak Argabrite


nest (2016):
site specific sound installation
written for The Loretto Project 2016

land:

house:

barn:


MOTHLIGHT (2016)
for 1 or more cellos and projected video
performed by Thea Mesirow and Kevin McFarland


to growth inside leaving (2015)
for two toy pianos and student viola
performed by wind-up elephant


micros (2014)for cello
I.
II.
III. Offing (for cello and 5 channel video):