Audiovisual artist John Duncan, who’s from Wichita but is now based in Italy, says he’s obsessed with learning what it means to be alive–and in his work he’s taken some rather extreme approaches to the subject. For his 1976 performance piece Scare, a response to an attack by a street gang during which he momentarily thought he’d been shot, he donned a cap and mask one night and knocked on the doors of two friends. When each man answered, Duncan pointed a gun at him, fired blanks in his face, and ran off. And for his 1979 piece For Women Only, an all-female audience was shown pornography and then invited into a back room to sexually abuse him. His music isn’t quite as visceral–it ranges from pin-drop quiet abstract work with German sound artist Bernhard Günter on the beautifully detailed Home, Unspeakable (Trente Oiseaux) to the more aggressive electronic sounds on his solo Seek (Staalplaat)–but he often gives it thought-provoking context. His 1996 recording The Crackling, which was made at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, frames the electron “as a metaphor for the process of life: isolated, compelled by a system that uses the electron’s own energy to force it into a path that leads at a constantly increasing pace to certain destruction–to a point of certain change, of complete resolution and the beginning of a new process.” For this rare Chicago gig he’ll perform a new work called Palace of Mind, which he describes as a “four-channel live concert based on the cyclical thought patterns of the human mind, or, more specifically, ways that the mind travels in a series of spiraling cycles rather than in a linear or forward-moving direction.” Saturday, 10 PM, 6Odum, 2116 W. Chicago; 773-227-3617.