Obstacle Illusion

“The kind ​of fiercely independent artists the world needs more of.” ​​
LiveEye TV

“Extreme imagination”
Greg Burk, LA Weekly​​


A live multimedia performance pairing Thollem’s keyboard inventions with projections of ACVilla’s video vignettes. The result plays with our personal and collective consciousness through visual and sonic allegories, riddles and recontextualizations. The experience is simultaneously pleasurable and intellectually stimulating. It is a dream machine that enables subconscious thoughts and hidden memories. It’s eternity filtered through two perpetually traveling artists at the center of a world on the edge. ​

​”Slyly sublime and beautifully brutal”
​- August March, Albuquerque Alibi


June 25th (Santa Fe, NM) @ Center for Contemporary Art for the Sandbox Series/Currents Festival 

Interview with Thollem in The Wire: “Obstacle Illusion is a kaleidoscope of sounds layered upon each other, all created in real time. ACVilla’s technique matches with my musical approach because she is also layering images in real time. Working in an analogue manner with digital equipment, she creates optical illusions by projecting footage she’s taken along our tour onto the interiors of old adobe abodes in northern New Mexico.”

“There’s a continuous sense that things aren’t quite right but are still beautiful and intriguing,” he continues. “It’s a similar quality that I’m after with my approach with the Wavestate. We’re both interested in recontextualising sounds and images and therefore challenging our preconceptions about life and our relationship with the world.”

Since 2008, ACVilla has focused her time as a peripatetic traveler, musicians’ representative, photographer and visual artist. ACVilla’s pieces has been shown throughout the US in DIY spaces, museums, galleries, schools and universities, some being: Pioneer Works (Brooklyn NY); Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA); Crystal Springs Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR); Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (Buffalo, NY); Guild Cinema (Albuquerque, NM); Northwest Film Forum (Seattle, WA); Toledo Museum Of Art (Toledo, OH); and Krannert Art Museum (Univ of Il. Urbana). She commissioned by the internationally-renown Rova Saxophone Quartet to create No Distractions, a video score which they performed on their 40th anniversary. More

Since 2005, Thollem has played over 1,500 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians, dancers and filmmakers. In that time span, as leader or co-leader, Thollem has released more than 70 albums on 23 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. A brief cross section of his many recent collaborators include Pauline Oliveros, Nels Cline, William Parker, Amy Denio, Rob Mazurek, Mike Watt, Martha Colburn and Hafez Modirzadeh. In this performance he is drawing on music from his Electric Confluence albums which can be heard and acquired here.

Thollem’s on-going collaboration with visual artist ACVilla has resulted in many different projects, primarily documentaries and interviews/profilesof artists and art communities along their peripatetic travels under the moniker Silver Ochre.​