Mark So grew up in Syracuse and lives in Los Angeles. He has maintained a vast output of scores, tapes, and ephemera, including a cycle of some 300 pieces concerning the poetry of John Ashbery. He has also been active as a performer of experimental music, having given many notable solo and ensemble performances, as well as a collaborator on projects with artists of various disciplines, including Rick Bahto, Madison Brookshire, Adam Fitzgerald, Chris Girard, Julia Holter, Eileen Myles, Julie Tolentino/Stosh Fila, and Manfred Werder, often resulting in work that occupies its own genre.
So’s work explores ordinary situations in various open frames of perception and action, proceeding through simple means of recording/transcription/reading as well as changing experiences of silence. Rather than predicate standard categories of realization, the horizons in his pieces are often surprising and elusive. The scores — primarily text-based — ground diverse experiences of literacy, where action emerges between complete adequacy and pure discovery. While his work lately has turned from making scores to un-scored practices (particularly, to different uses of the typewriter and tape recorder), it remains largely preoccupied with the material experience of language — its mysterious capacity to hold a simple line, yet be struck by all the chaotic dimensionality of life — and drawn to a music fully astonished by this ever-emergent nature. So’s work often takes place in anonymous, open environments, and realizations have ranged from instrumentals, texts, and performed actions, to tapes, films, quasi-installations, and other, more fanciful/obscure manifestations.