Suran Song

Centered: There’s More to Life than Increasing Its Speed. We Need Each Other Here!

Centered: There’s More to Life than Increasing its speed. We need each other here!
Gandhi Sculpture: 14th Street and Union Square (SW corner)
Oct 12 – Oct 15, 2017

http://sense.artinoddplaces.org/artists/song-suran/

In this action, participants will strengthen their kindness muscle and ability to be thoughtful and patient through yoga. They will assemble in Union Square at rush hour to study ways of sitting, standing, and walking to bring peace, within a busy crowded space by utilizing yoga for the hands (mudras), and breath patterning (pranayama). These yogas help bring serenity and kindness, building mental and physical stamina while developing an appreciation for one’s lungs and heart. They also bring a sense of exponential patience, even in trying situations.

Schedule

FREE YOGA: MUDRAS & BREATH FOR PEACE IN BULLYING CROWDS

Thursday, October 12 – Sunday, October 15
From 5:30-6:15pm

SE corner of Union Square at the Gandhi sculpture
FREE! Just show-up!

Night #1 focus is FREE YOGA: Healing breath & hands
Night #2 focus is FREE YOGA: Breathing & handling healing colors
Night #3 focus is FREE YOGA: Healing sounds
Night #4 focus is FREE YOGA: Healing words

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Seeing Things in a Whole New Light by Tim Kane, The Times Union

Seeing things in a whole new light
Images in “Electron/Photon” bring new worlds in focus
Tim Kane, The Times Union – 10/5/17

http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/article/Seeing-things-in-a-whole-new-light-12256296.php

With such a small gallery space, the Lake George Arts Project would seem to be limited in what art it could display. About the size of an average living room, the Courthouse Gallery is small even by community arts standards.

Yet, over the years, the gallery, under Laura Von Rosk, has regularly overcome this liability. A case in point is the current exhibit “Electron/Photon,” open through Oct. 27. Focusing on light and photography — not exactly a new topic — it examines how photons and electrons, the two micro-elements that carry light, can be manipulated into forms of expression through various media.

From different points of view and methods, a trio of artists expands our understanding of the world beyond our immediate sight, a vast place that encompasses much of the universe. In doing so, the layers of content emerge well beyond the gallery’s walls, pushing down the artificial boundaries of the built environment.
Working at the most diminutive level, Dee Breger’s images are made using a scanning electron microscope to magnify specimens 30,000 times. She then enhances the original prints, adding an aesthetic flair to the microbes. A tarantula’s leg becomes wistful feathers. Or a quiet forest.

It’s easy to get lost in her images as you focus on the tiny structures. When our senses are confronted by these colorful innerscapes of something beyond our perception, there is sense of wonder. Suran Song’s meditative explorations expand on this notion.

Her work is inspired in part by the practice of yoga. Here, she displays large-scale C-prints from a recent project “There’s More to Life Than Increasing Its Speed! We need each other here!” They depict flower mandalas projected onto the hands of yoga students held in various mudras — symbolic hand gestures — while practicing yogic breathing. The imagery is culled from the Sanskrit “Pushpam Veda” that expresses water as the basis of flower offerings to the deities.

Spend enough time, and you’ll find they radiate a stillness that is filled with so much energy. Not a frenetic type, but one that is calming and uplifting, a release from the past and future, allowing yourself to fully be in the here and now, but not entirely in the gallery space. They are ultimately about the metaphysics of mindfulness and reflection.

This theme is carried further by Eleanor Sweeney, but from a wholly different perspective. She employs wood, metal, paper and fabric, rather unusual materials for photography. The pictures in this show are made on Mylar. She places a piece of Plexiglas over the material against a tree or wall. Since the Mylar isn’t tight, the slightest breeze creates a reflective material.

Sweeney’s images recall the 19th-century landscape art movement called tonalism, which saw color and light as primary over line and composition. Like Sweeney, tonalism urges you to pause and wonder what is real and imagined.

Having all of these artists together packs a lot of content into a small space, but they somehow don’t crowd each other out at all; they find space beyond the confines of the walls. Their interaction together makes for a truly group exhibition that generates some electricity, rather than a three-artist assemblage merely vying for attention and negating each other.

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Experiential Yogic Art Out of a Uhaul Truck

Try Experiential Yogic Art… out of a Uhaul Truck!
Brooklyn Reader – October 19, 2015

https://www.bkreader.com/2015/10/try-experiential-yogic-art-out-of-a-uhaul-truck/

Central Brooklynites, come experience yogic art and meditative mandalic gazing this Wednesday! But wait… all of this taking place… in a Uhaul truck!

Guests and the public at large can practice repose, rest and mandalic gazing with Suran Song’s flower mandalas project, Radical Tenderness, co-curated by Denise Amses and Kimberly Marerro.

The “Mobile Meditation Unit” will be parked in front of the gallery for the opening party of the art exhibit, located at 165 7th Street in Brooklyn.

Enjoy an open bar and free vegan supper buffet. Please make a reservation so the artist can prepare her free vegan supper buffet for the public; the gallery will provide free wine, beer, and seltzer water for all who reserve a plate!

Radical Tenderness will run Wednesday, October 21 through Saturday, November 21. The gallery is op9en Tuesday – Friday, from 1:00pm – 6:0opm and weekends by appointment.

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Six Creative Ways Artists Can Improve Communities by Laura Zabel, The Guardian

Six creative ways artists can improve communities
Laura Zabel, The Guardian – 2/12/15

http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2015/feb/12/creative-ways-artists-improve-communities?CMP=share_btn_fb

The Guardian newspaper referred to my socially-engaged performance art piece of neighbors practicing yoga together! Below are photos of it, plus my house before and after The Laundromat Project Artist Residency — I got rid of most of the furniture to make room for “Yoga (Re)Public” to continue. The last image is new work of yoga for the hands, a flower mandala as light — Mudra Flower Shower: Chamomile (presencing sunlight, equanimity), 2014

In a line, a few humble words under The Laundromat Project paragraph, you’ll find reference to this neighborhood art-yoga project I have been doing at JH Laundromat and JH Super Laundromat, and from my living room since 2012.

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Conjunction of Art, Science Intrigues Researchers by Blue Greenberg, Herald-Sun

Conjunction of art, science intrigues researchers
By Blue Greenberg, Columnist
Herald-Sun Dec 20, 2014

Behavioral scientists at Duke University and artists have joined forces to learn more about what makes us tick. This discussion between art and science began at Duke’s Center for Advanced Hindsight in 2012. The scientists set forth specific research ideas and asked the artists to respond to them through their art. On the center’s website we read that controlled experiments allow behavioral researchers to measure and reflect on our lives and to test whether their intuitions about the world are true and figure out why they may be wrong. The text continues that while art and science are very different a discussion between the two would be very useful.

Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, is the director of the Hindsight Center. As part of the research into the behavior of human beings, Ariely added an art component, titled the “Artistically Irrational Exhibition Series.” The center gathers up a group of artists, identified by their response to an on-line call and, with the help of art curator Catherine Howard, a number are selected to take part in the research.

Each project begins with a discussion of the particular undertaking and continues with the artists’ reflections on the topic. In this way the artists offer the scientists new lenses for their research which provides the feedback loop between them and the artists. All of this conversation results in an exhibition of paintings and sculpture that sit on the walls and floors of the lab/office of the Duke University Center for Advanced Hindsight. The center, like many that are part of the Duke system, has offices off campus and this one invites visitors to visit and see the artistic responses to the research.

“Market Mixers,” is a part of the Exhibition series. With 12 artists on board the discussion focused on the lives of everyday people and how they are caught in a constant tangle of efficient markets versus human markets, and how, ultimately, social capital cannot be built with cash. According to their website, examples used in the discussion were a “date can feel like prostitution with the introduction of money or a gift can seem offensive when accompanied by mention of its dollar value.”

Among the artists are painters, printmakers and a sculptor. An example of a response is in Marisa Dipaola’s “Valuing Van Gogh.” In the wall text she muses about Van Gogh, whose work was worthless during his lifetime and is valued at millions today. She continues how she gave her parents her own original paintings on special occasions reasoning they were certainly worth more than some “tacky” gift from a discount store. Further into her musings she begins to attach a monetary value to the paint, the postage and her time and, in the end, decides the window of time she had to carve out of her schedule to create the work was the “rarest of gifts” and her peace of mind was “indeed priceless.”

Gabriella Boros attacked the problem by seeing it through the use of black and white woodblock prints which look very much like the German expressionist images popular between the two world wars. In her triptych about the “Gift Horse,” the first panel shows a woman shoving food down the mouth of her male escort while showily paying the bill; the horse watches from the sidelines. The central image, which is the largest, portrays a woman whose arms are overflowing with a huge basket of flowers while the children seem bewildered at the gift of another ball and the horse looks on with mouth open and teeth showing; an obvious reference to “looking the gift horse in the mouth.” In the last panel there is a business scene where the men are dressed in suits and two are making a deal by shaking hands. (She points out this is the 1950s when deals were made by the shake of hands while today contracts fill hundreds of pages). The surrounding men are waving contracts and the horse moves away, ignored and unnecessary in this world.

Using the medium of stitchery in their “Result, Happiness/ Result, Misery,” Tanya Hart and Victoria Holmes quote from David Copperfield to riff on the “Market Mixers.” Mr. Micawber tells the young Copperfield if his income is 20 pounds and he spends “nineteen six,” the result is happiness, but if his income is 20 pounds and he spends “twenty ought six,” the result is misery. The artists created two samplers, decorated alike with straight lines like an accounting page; “Happiness” has flowers and trees all carefully worked in an ordered and rational cross-stitch. “Misery,” is decorated with freehand embroidery and the apple tree branches and spiky weeds break through and take over the page. In their explanation the artists conclude that family happiness and finances only co-exist when the finances are kept in check, otherwise they will strangle the family.

Other ideas include Suran Song’s use of the Buddhist idea of Seva, an ancient Indian word meaning “service,” and that service could be work without any expectation of payment and Michelle Gonzales-Green’s exposition on the Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle.” Gonzales-Green’s wire sculpture takes the shape of two figures entwined while acrylic forms of coins and deposit slots fall around them and writes that this image reminds us that in order to sustain ourselves we need reciprocal relationships whether we want to or not.

I do not know whether the art offered the researchers anything new but, as a spectator, I came away with many questions and a new understanding about introducing money into a social situation and how that changes everything.

Editor’s note — “Market Mixers: When Social & Market Norms Collide” runs through Dec. 31 at the Center for Advanced Hindsight, 2024 W. Main St., Erwin Mill, Bay C.

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Yoga (Re)Public by Thomas Mariadason

Suran Song turned a laundromat in Jackson Heights into a space for private reflection. Now she’s inviting her neighborhood to practice yoga in her living room.

By Thomas Mariadason
September 18, 2013

A little boy thrusts a card towards me as I angle off Elmhurst Avenue onto 91st Street. I lean over in stride, gently tug it out of his hands, and smile. Most days, I’m ambivalent about whether I’ll take flyers on the street (folks are just hustling, right?) or politely “no thank you” my way on by (got places to go, man) but this four-year-old is too earnest to reject without suffering pangs of guilt. I quickly eyeball the promo material for Aquario Salon and realize my destination isn’t far off.

I’m en route to see Suran Song, a performance and visual artist who maintains a local yoga studio in Jackson Heights. Arriving on the 2nd floor of the red brick apartment building, I scan the row of blue doors for “SONG.” Nothing. Then, I spot the word “YOGA” printed on a peephole label. Of course.

When she answers the door, Song and I have a quick chuckle about the label as I acclimate to what feels and looks like a full-fledged yoga studio. Warm lighting, hardwood floors, bright greens, purples, reds. Song explains that after seven years in Jackson Heights, she and her partner agreed to sacrifice much of the space in their home—save the kitchen and the bedroom—for the purpose of a public yoga space.

Her broad portfolio of colorful mandalas and yoga action paintings (body impressions of yoga poses on paper) line the walls revealing that yoga and art are indeed the self-same practice for her. Decades ago, as part of her work as a ceramicist in his production department, pop artist Peter Max directed Song to paint a swami’s face on hundreds of plates. This repetitive task was an unconscious meditation—and a step towards her discovery of the very conscious practice of yoga long before she had ever held a pose. Eventually, after experimenting as a punk rock vocalist, Song studied a Himalayan style of yoga that has become the backbone of her artistic expression. Last year, she even tried yoga-integrated performance art inside the JH Laundromat on 37th Avenue, not far from her home.

The path to her yogic home winds not only through the residential blocks of eastern Jackson Heights, but through an eclectic family history. Her father, a Socratic-loving intellectual left Korea rejecting Eastern thought and religion. Her mother, a Greek Midwesterner from a clan of restaurateurs and merchants, emigrated to Michigan through Astoria.

I’ve also heard that Suran speaks Esperanto–a universal language invented by a Polish ophthalmologist that’s still spoken by thousands (and maybe millions) worldwide.

Esperanto?

My grandmother and grandfather actually started the Korean Esperanto club. People think really negatively of it, but it was just invented to be a simple language. And it was pretty connected to the Communist movement at the time. That’s how my grandparents met. They eloped from there.

So did you grow up speaking Esperanto?

Well, my grandmother didn’t know English that well. She spoke Korean, Esperanto, and Japanese. I never sat down and learned it, but I would overhear it. So I had like a pidgin Esperanto/Korean/Japanese. And I spoke to my grandmother in those three (laughs heartily). I never went to look at its structure and so I don’t really know it. For my dad, it was always about finding common language. For him, that eventually was English. That’s also probably part of that generation. WWII. A “liberating language.” So, I think that the idea of Esperanto or English as compared to Korean was also something that probably really appealed to him.

There are a bunch of influences at play for you. How does that connect at all to the intense multiculturalism you see here in Jackson Heights?

It makes me so excited to be here. I feel like Jackson Heights is a unique microcosm. It’s not like any other place that I’ve been in in the world.

And in your home studio? What does the community that comes here look like?

It depends on who comes and which night. It’s really wonderful. We get grandmothers. I get 16-year-old kids, 10-year-olds. I get mothers, I get fathers, I get couples. Colombians, Peruvians, Mexicans, Chinese… some Tibetan ladies have come, and then some Indian ladies have come. Sikhs too. It’s just people. People just show up. For the most part it’s people who are really adventuresome. They’ll go up to a second floor apartment to someone they’ve never met before and do yoga together. It’s kind of, in that way, the common denominator—that everyone has a nice, adventuresome spirit.

I understand you taught yoga at a laundromat?

I just wanted to put it out in a way that was swadeshi. Gandhi talks about the neighborhood republic. So, I wanted to work within a few block radius of where I lived and serve the neighbors more than the people going to a rarefied place… It was to make it accessible to people who’ve always wanted to try, but never had the time to go do it. And I love the laundromat! You’re cleaning your inside and your clothes! (laughs) It was great. I wouldn’t have done this (gestures around studio) without that. This came from people there, saying they enjoyed the project. It was so useful to people. I just feel it was really where it belongs. I kinda don’t understand why more yoga teachers don’t put it out on the street that way. Or put it out where people can taste it. If it hadn’t been about doing it in the laundromat, I wouldn’t have thought about creating another space for it.

In some parts of the city, when people open up a yoga studio, it usually comes with the same warning label as a new Starbucks, you know “beware the ides of gentrification” and such. How is your yoga studio different?

So much of it is about being at home… in your body, being friends with your mind. For people coming here, making home, who just left home, I thought it would be a really good…a good service. And maybe, in terms of social sculpture, it could put into place some ways to maybe make art, sort of performance art. I really wanted it to be affordable and to be something that you could just do like taking a walk, not a big set-aside time or like $25 bucks to go to it and then it becomes really rarefied. In the places that I’ve been teaching in—spas, clubs, and retreats—there, it’s this thing you do to relax when you’re really, really stressed and you go back only when you’re stressed out again. Bringing it at home and setting up the space to make it easy for people to come was important. On Tuesdays it’s by donation, so you pay what you want. I want to do it this way cause I also just wanted, in terms of making artwork, to see if there could be a bit of an impact that I could make in my neighbors’ lives.

Anyone that’s an immigrant and goes to live in another country, to me, they’re artists par excellence. I mean, they’re completely creating.

I suppose as a yoga instructor you end up having an ability to read people and what’s stressing them. What are those things that folks in Jackson Heights are bringing to the space?

Most people who come are looking for health benefits. There are a lot of folks who just arrived here within a year or two. They’re really stressed out. People have a hard time sleeping, just worried about money and worried about work, and can’t sleep. Then it really takes such a toll on your whole system, so I made the classes in the late evening, after work, so we could do deep relaxation.

Is there something about the immigrant experience that brings up some particular stresses?

I think it’s the quintessential American experience and I think it’s just the idea of the bravery of leaving home. There’s a lot of creativity that needs to happen. Anyone that’s an immigrant and goes to live in another country, to me, they’re artists par excellence. I mean, they’re completely creating.

Immigration as an act of art?

I mean, it takes so much to leave all the conditioning and come in and learn a whole other set of conditioning and then figure out, you know, which conditionings are going to serve a more peaceful purpose: which conditionings from old world drop away, and which ones from here you take, and so on.

To what degree is your yoga practice a spiritual one?

It’s pretty much completely devotional.

This past July, a group of South Asian practitioners launched a new initiative aimed at recognizing the vital role of South Asians in the practice of yoga, and in many ways seeking to reconnect the practice to its cultural lineage and spiritual tradition. They held a talk at the Brecht Forum to discuss some of the issues with cultural appropriation and secularization of the practice. What do you think of those issues in American yoga?

That’s a great question. The question of authenticity and xenophobia—if you get too polarized in one camp or another, that interlacing becomes complicated and difficult and the simple way to do it is just to say “yes” and “yes.” And to work with being aware of not offending, but at the same time there’s got to be a willingness to extend for others to have their own cultural lens. That’s part of the kaleidoscope that’s creation.

Do you think it’s even possible for a genuine practice of yoga to survive without a spiritual basis? I mean there are yoga competitions and even an attempt to put yoga in the Olympics.

It’s really about un-conditioning your own belief in your thought processes and your ideas about what’s right and wrong, and this is so inclusive. Everybody is the center point and there isn’t just one. It’s unity through intense kaleidoscopic difference and multiplicity. That’s what I hear in Sanskrit and that’s what I do in yoga. That’s why I think it’s such an important and powerful tool for civil rights.

“Unity through intense kaleidoscopic difference and multiplicity.” Sounds like that could be a slogan for Jackson Heights.

Yeah! You see it on the train. People reading their language newspapers, sitting next to each other, eating their rolls and doughnuts on their way to work.

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Yoga Finds a Home in Jackson Heights Laundromat by Whitney Light, The Metropolitan Monitor

Yoga finds a home in Jackson Heights Laundromat
Whitney Light, The Metropolitan Monitor – 12/3/12

Bent over in downward-facing dog position, the yoga students lowered their heads, lifted their hips, closed their eyes, exhaled. Then the door opened. Eyes shot up to look.

After an awkward moment, instructor Suran Song chirped, “Come right in!” A woman trundled past the seven students’ bottoms with a loaded laundry cart as they lowered into cobra pose.

Since June, Wednesdays are yoga mornings at the JH Laundromat in Jackson Heights. Song, a local painter and performance artist who incorporates yoga in her work, acquired a grant to offer two months of free weekly yoga classes to anyone who cares to join. They’ve been so well received, she has extended the classes beyond their planned August finish on her own time through November.

On yoga days, participants kick off their boots at the door and settle onto foam mats. The scent of detergent hangs pleasantly in the warm air and a TV hums with the morning news. The Laundromat seems miles from the busy commerce of 37th Avenue outside, which, Song said, is what she hoped for.

Song first discovered yoga as a child. When her older Argentinian cousins visited her family’s home in Pennsylvania, she’d watch with curiosity as they rose early to practice yoga in the living room.

Yet it wasn’t until she was an adult in Ann Arbor, leading a performance-art punk-rock band, that she learned the value of yoga for herself, she said. In 1999, while the band toured and lived month after month from a van, she bought a set of yoga tapes on VHS and started practicing on the van floor. It brought her comfort, she said.

“Yoga is about finding a way to come home to yourself,” said Song. When you find your home, it’s natural to want to help others find theirs, she said, and pointed out that Jackson Heights is full of people—immigrants—who have literally left their home.

The idea of bringing yoga to the immigrant community appealed to The Laundromat Project, to which Song applied for funds. Since 2006, the non-profit arts organization has produced 16 art projects in 25 Laundromats across the greater New York area and Philadelphia. Funded by numerous cultural organizations and individuals, its goal is to help improve the well-being of low-income people of color using art.

But before Song even heard about the grant, ideas were converging at the Laundromat.

Song had been thinking she wanted to take yoga out of incense-perfumed studios and back into the neighborhood where she lived. In part inspired by the Occupy movement, she read about Gandhi’s ideas for self-sufficient villages and yoga’s integrality to daily life.

“It’s not a rarefied experience,” she said, explaining that yoga is like a good teeth-brushing, or a hot shower—a healthy thing to do every day.

At the same time, she was washing her socks and sheets at JH Laundromat, noticing its sunny windows, large foyer and clean floors.

Owner Xu Jiang himself was wondering about using his extra space for entertainment, he said.

“Here we have people from all backgrounds coming. Chinese, Korean, Indian, people from Middle East, Europeans. Many of them cannot even communicate to each other,” said Xu. “If I can, I would like to make it a more fun place for them.”

Song had met Xu, but felt shy about proposing yoga, she said. Then, she saw an ad for The Laundromat Project online. She told Xu about it, and he agreed she should try for it. In April, the proposal got approved.

A $3,000 honorarium lets Song attend professional artist workshops for six months, and a $1,000 budget produced the yoga classes, as well as a complementary series of art prints: Song helps her students to use tempera paints on their body to make a record on paper of their yoga poses. The results help students by revealing how they carry their weight, a key yoga concept, she explained.

Within a month, the class was peaking at about 15 people, roughly half newcomers to yoga and half newcomers to the Laundromat, Song said.

“Always the class is almost complete,” said Margarita Cortes, who attends every week. The 70-year-old Colombian immigrant had never practiced yoga before. She survived two bouts of cancer in the past 12 years. It was her doctor’s orders that she take the next opportunity to try yoga, she said.

“I completely lost my balance,” said Cortes. “I’d be in the shower and I’d try to dry my legs. Before I had to sit but today I can stand up and do it.”

Ideally, Song said, she hopes to offer more classes in the Laundromat and other “nooks and crannies.”

Xu is also enthusiastic. He’s told other Laundromat owners across America about it, he said, through the online forum of the Coin Laundry Association.

“I actually posted pictures for other Laundromats to see, and they liked it,” said Xu.

Xu himself is usually at home on Wednesday mornings taking care of his newborn, otherwise he’d join in, he said.

Nearing 9 a.m., as the washers and dryers whirred and customers shuffled in and out, Song led her students in their final sitting pose.

“Whole body breathes in, whole body breathing out,” she said. “See if you can stay with that meditation…”

Cah-chink! Cah-chink! Cah-chink! Quarters fired out of the coin machine.

Clink, clink, clink, they went into a young man’s hand.

“…no matter what!” Song implored.

A few minutes of meditation later, the students opened their eyes.

“Namaste,” they said. “Thank you.”

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Laundromat Transforms Into Art & Yoga Studio by Megan Montalvo, Queens Tribune

Laundromat Transforms Into Art, Yoga Studio
Megan Montalvo, Queens Tribune – 8/30/12

The local laundromat has long been the site where the community goes to fluff, fold and wash their dirty duds.

While it may host seldom interactions between washers and dryers, it is hardly considered to be the go-to hot spot for neighbors to get acquainted.

In Jackson Heights, a new phenomenon is taking over the local JH Laundromat, located at 85-15 37th Ave.

Customers who would normally be engaging in a dull routine of separating their colors from their whites are now beginning to use the space as a yoga and art studio.

The unconventional use of space began earlier this summer when local resident Suran Song partnered with the community-based public art organization The Laundromat Project to offer free classes at the JH Laundromat.

Song, who has been a long time artist and devotee of yoga, said her inspiration behind the classes came from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“Much of my work used to be in high end businesses that catered to the 1 percent,” Song said. “By working with the Laundromat Project in my own community, I get to reach a broader group of people who may not have the means to pay for classes.”

Every Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Song introduces participants to basic yoga principles and introduces experimentation with mono printmaking.

By painting a layer of ink between a yoga mat and a sheet of paper, students learn their about their foot fall patterns and how to retain balance.

After each held pose, students can lift the paper to reveal an imprint of their stationary body position.

“Yoga is all about holding positions and finding peace,” Song said. “Working with the art techniques is an amazing and innovative way to help individuals work on their breath and balance.”

In November, prints that are made from Song’s installation “Yoga Body Prints and Principles” will be exhibited as art at a gallery space in Manhattan. The date and location will be announced in early fall.

Song will continue offering free yoga courses at the JH Laundromat every Wednesday through September.

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Suran Song in Stag’s New “Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo” Most Tuneful Release to Date by Richard Massimo, Providence Journal

Providence Journal, Providence, RI – 7/8/04
By Richard Massimo

In March 2003, Suran Song, of the group Suran Song in Stag, went to the New York protests against the run-up to war in Iraq. She didn’t know it at the time, but the rallies would indirectly lead to the group’s latest record. “There were masses and masses of people,” Song remembers. “I had gone to rallies in the ’80s, also, and there were way more people at these [recent] demonstrations.”

Song and bassist William Weis were frustrated by the lack of media coverage of the rallies. “It just seemed as though they were completely ignored… We decided to let our frustration out about that… “I started to analyze, when I was watching TV, the mechanisms that are used to keep things on an even keel.”

The result is Kitty Igloo & the Plastic Stereo. According to Song, it’s the group’s most tuneful release to date. “We’ve always tried to make CDs that weren’t just soundtracks, where each song could stand alone,” Song says, “but I think this time we were more critical in terms of what we could cut…. It’s our fourth record, so we wanted to make something that was more challenging and more concise.”

It’s both.

Formed in 1996, the core of Suran Song in Stag is singer Song and bassist Weis, who runs his bass through a battery of effects to produce a variety of sounds. Their records have drummers (Doug McEachern on Kitty Igloo), but for touring, they transferred the drum tracks to a CD and perform along with them. Musically, Weis’ tweaked-out bass and Song’s frosty voice combine with frenetic tempos and fractured song structures to evoke ’80s New Wave with more of a rock crunch.

Lyrically, the work is the story of Kitty Igloo taking arms against monopolization and conformity, “about dealing with the repercussions of it, or trying to be the antidote to it…. We wanted to make something that had a fairy-tale, or unreal, quality to it that would talk about what you keep hearing about on the news.”

“Polybucket Radio” describes the solution to media monopolization: “Enlist all sounds the radius your block bounds/ It all comes together listening to each neighbor.”

“Do You Sing?” is a challenge to artists, particularly song writers: “Do you sing like Britney Spears?/ Or do you sing like there’s something wrong?/… Do you sing like Joe Strummer?/ Or do you sing like there’s nothing wrong?”

On “T.V. Screams,” Song sings, “If I’m being trained in just what to want/ The serfdom to sit still for it to be seen.”

Onstage visuals “flesh out the flow” of the songs to help build the story of Kitty Igloo’s battle against The Plastic Stereo. Projected visuals for the group’s performance, Song says, include pictures from The Wizard of Oz taken directly from a TV screen onto slides, then hand-colored. Song says of The Wizard of Oz, “a metaphor for what government is, and capitalism is, it’s all in there. So we wanted to use that as a way to bring fun, but also a pointedness, to what we’re doing.”

Alternating with the Wizard of Oz shots are pictures of friends and friends’ children cavorting in “Papa Bush and Baby Bush masks,” Song says.

The band has also become part of the nonprofit group Music for America, and literature on current issues and voting-registration cards will be available at its merchandise table. “It’s a small way for us to bring some positivity,” Song says.

Suran Song in Stag’s music and performance has always had a bit of the political, Song says, but the band was trying to be more explicit this time around. “I think [previously] we were maybe even a little afraid to be clear about it, because we didn’t want to scare people. But right now, it’s time to be clear.”

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The Full, Textured Sound of Suran Song in Stag’s latest CD, “Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo”, Attest to the Talent of Bassist William Weis and Vocalist Suran Song by Mark Norris, Art Voice

Art Voice, Buffalo, NY – 7/8/04
By Mark Norris

The full, textured sound of Suran Song in Stag’s latest CD, Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo, attest to the talent of bassist William Weis and vocalist Suran Song. Aside from some great drumming, bass and voice are the sole elements propelling the songs most of the time.

Song draws on her background in experimental, visual art, and infuses its daring and drama into the band’s indie-pop base. The influence of ’80s new wave and college rock singers Siouxsie Sioux to Johnette Napolitano echos in Suran Song’s melodies and inflection, as she clearly aims to bring urgency and intrigue back into pop music. The bass-heavy instrumental component of the band’s sound is frantically informed by early art-punks like The Minutemen and Wire.

Suran Song in Stag is a band with something to say, and their independent, anti-corporate message packs extra potency at this point in history.

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Suran Song in Stag Release New Disc “Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo” by Joe Wawyrzniak, Jersey Beat

Jersey Beat
By Joe Wawyrzniak

SURAN SONG in STAG – Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo

There are albums that you listen to and they basically just do the trick, supplying a solid half hour or so of satisfying sonic entertainment. Then there are those occasional strikingly extraordinary works of true art which cut an immediate beeline to your nerve center and force you to think, feel, and become more alert in a way that’s nothing short of amazing. Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo is one of those extraordinary albums I’m talking about.

There’s something going on here with robust, throaty, haunting vocals, fat, throbbing basslines, relentless drum beats, thick, heavy, constantly churning trudging sound, and especially the fiercely keen and incisive songwriting that’s truly phenomenal as all your preconceived notions of what rock is and isn’t are gleefully turned on their ear. The net impact of this incredible music is equally visceral and intellectual: Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo is that rare exceptional album which makes you think and shake your ass simultaneously, offering plenty of food for thought to chew on and digest without ever forgetting to keep things potently rockin’ at the same time.

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Suran Song in Stag’s New CD, “Kitty Igloo & the Plastic Stereo” Has Original Melodies Sleater-Kinney Should Envy, Plus Lyrics Opting for Joe Strummer over Bruce Springsteen by Chuck Eddy, The Village Voice

Village Voice – Critic’s Pick for 6/18/04
By Chuck Eddy

Suran Song in Stag: their previous album was a blatant Gang of Four homage featuring a Duran Duran cover that starred Marshal Mathers’ “coming out”. Their new CD, Kitty Igloo & the Plastic Stereo has original melodies Sleater-Kinney should envy, plus lyrics opting for Joe Strummer over Bruce Springsteen. But mostly, this sly guerilla-art duo still recall the everyday-voiced herky-jerk girl punk of Delta 5 and Bush Tetras.

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