Dolby Digital 40.0
June 25, 2003 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Spent my lunch hour today in the company of Tate Liverpool and more particularly the Janet Cardiff installation Forty Part Motet: "Using (a) piece of secular music as a starting point and working with four male voices (bass, baritone, alto and tenor) and child sopranos, Cardiff has replaced each voice with an audio speaker. The speakers are set at an average head height and spaced in such a way that viewers can listen to different voices and experience different combinations and harmonies as they progress through the work." It's an example of art as experience, the viewer (or in this case listener's) perception of the work as important as the thing itself. [more]
posted by feelinglistless (6 comments total)
In reality this is Dolby Digital 40.0, and has the effect of standing in the centre of a group of singers as they perform. The difference here being that you can approach and singer/speaker and hear a single voice and how it fits within the complicated harmonies of the whole. It’s an example of what I feel is the best kind of art – it’s about the interaction between the viewer and the piece itself. While I’m sure the selection of equipment and speakers were important, in this case the object lacks form – it’s the sound and how it’s presented and how the listener perceives it. But equally it couldn’t be ‘displayed’ anywhere other than in the sometimes sterile environment of an art gallery because then it would be encroached upon by other forces. Here it had a quite dignity and was magnificent.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:08 PM on June 25, 2003

God, I am so so very envious that you got to see this glorious, transcendent work in person.

*cries* Thanks so much for the links, though. Those of you who haven't heard of this piece, do take a look....
posted by jokeefe at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2003

My pleasure. And I've emailed Matt about the link.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2003

*shriek of delight* It's on until September--that means I can see it when I'm in England in August! Hot damn!

Uh, yeah, these mood swings. Um. Okay.
posted by jokeefe at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2003

cardiff is awesome. i stumbled across her walking tour in london, and was overjoyed when she one-upped it at sfmoma. anybody else do these? if so, remember the moment when you pushed through the sfmoma door marked "DO NOT ENTER"? still gives me shivers.
posted by jcruelty at 5:15 PM on June 25, 2003

jcruelty: did the sfmoma, the steps behind you in the stairwell were very, very creepy.
posted by signal at 5:25 PM on June 25, 2003

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