The Detroit Commissioning Project is an initiative supporting ambitious new work by Detroit artists as well as visiting artists collaborating with locals. The first phase of commissions included several projects by local and visiting artists. The second phase featured a monetary award known as the "Trinosphere," given to an individual artist who has contributed significantly to Detroit culture. It was not tied to a specific project. Previous winners of the Trinosophere cash prize are Detroit-based artists, saxophonist Skeeter CR Shelton and percussionist Brian Akunda Hollis.
Other Detroit Commissioning Project recipients include:
Bob Ostertag / a Detroit composition
Ostertag has published dozens of CDs of music, two movies, two DVDs, and four books. His writings on contemporary politics have been published on every continent and in many languages. Electronic instruments of his own design are at the cutting edge of both music and video performance technology. He has performed at music, film, and multi-media festivals around the globe. His radically diverse collaborators include the Kronos Quartet, the avant garde's John Zorn, heavy metal star Mike Patton, jazz great Anthony Braxton, punk rocker Lynn Breedlove, transgender diva Justin Viviane Bond, Quebecois film maker Pierre Hébert, and others. He is rumored to have connections to the shadowy media guerrilla group The Yes Men. In March 2006 Ostertag made all of his recordings to which he owns the rights available as free digital downloads under a Creative Commons license. Trinosophes commisioned a new untitled original work, utilizing software designed by Ostertag, as the culmination of a multi-week residency.
Thollem McDonas and Clem Fortuna / Microtonal Piano Works
Local musician and composer Clem Fortuna is a devoted micro-tonalist who has explored new tuning possibilities for the piano for years. San Jose native and globe-trotting virtuoso pianist and improvisor Thollem McDonas has been applying his prodigious technique and imagination to Clem’s tunings for several years now, in a collaboration that has seen several iterations performed in Detroit. This project is ongoing and was most recently revisited at our Over the Pavement festival in February 2015. In 2018, Trinosophes Projects’ record label imprint, Two Rooms, released Your Letter Must have Followed Me Around the World, the first recorded documentation of this collaboration.
Pat Lewis sings the music of Samantha Linn
This multigenerational project features lauded Detroit soul singer Pat Lewis (who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes and George Clinton) performing the music of emerging Detroit musician/songwriter Samantha Linn (The Arch Mystics). Although Lewis and Linn conceived of this collaboration and wrote the material on their own, Trinosophes financed the studio costs of recording this music for public release, which was released on 45 rpm vinyl.
Power to the Vanguard: Original Printed Materials from Revolutionary Movements Around the World (1963-1987) From the Collection of Brad Duncan
This premiere exhibition showcased rare prints, broadsides, pamphlets and ephemera produced by revolutionary Left movements and liberation struggles from El Salvador to Ireland to Mozambique. These remarkable paper items, never before publically exhibited, reflect the anti-colonial movements of Africa and Asia, the Black liberation movement in the U.S., the guerrilla insurgencies of Latin America, the influence of Marxism, and the women's liberation movement. The exhibition highlights the way these movements were intertwined during the tumultuous two decades that followed the early 1960s. These unique printed materials are from the vast personal collection of Brad Duncan, a former Detroiter and a rare book specialist - also known to many as the doorman at Trinosophes’ pre-cursor, Bohemian National Home, from 2004-2008.