Heather and Seth Warren-Crow
warren-crow+warren-crow’s Grayface deals with the multiple meanings of Al Jolson’s infamous phrase “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet,” included in his blackface vaudeville act and later featured in the films A Plantation Act (1926) and The Jazz Singer (1927). “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet” references not only Jolson’s charismatic performance persona, but also the power of the sonic-cinematic apparatus, itself. Indeed, the phrase is central to the mythology surrounding The Jazz Singer, often erroneously identified as the first Talkie. Its combination of syllables moves through time with a vigorous energy, animating various histories (of film, of stage performance, of cultural appropriation) and inhabiting various bodies (Al Jolson, the actors who played him in biopics, and the performer of Grayface). “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet” still haunts our cultural imaginations and promises to amaze us with an unattainable, yet already delivered, sonic power.
warren-crow+warren-crow create live art that maps the circulation of sounds, images, and collective fantasies as they travel through the space of popular discourse. Their collaborative works are both performance art and sound art—mash-ups of live vocal expression (such as talking, laughing, crying, growling, and, especially, singing) and manipulated audio or video clips culled from a wide variety of sources. The Warren-Crows have exhibited their work at Soundwalk festival of Sound Art in Long Beach, at NEXT Art Fair in Chicago, and in galleries and performance spaces in California, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Texas, Washington DC, Wisconsin, and Germany.
Heather Warren-Crow and Seth Warren-Crow also have solo careers as a performance artist and sound artist, respectively. Both teach at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where Seth is a sound designer and music instructor in the Dance Department and Heather is a professor of art theory and practice. Heather received a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Seth has an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College.