Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Murder of Crows: a sound installation

Sound and mixed-media installation with audio speakers, amplifiers, computer, electronics.

Since the 1990s, the experimental art of Canadians Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller has been a fascinating exploration of how sound affects and shapes our experience. World-premiering at the 2008 Biennale is their largest installation to date, The Murder of Crows – an astounding 100-speaker artwork that envelops the viewer/listener in the experience of the sculptural and physical qualities of sound. The large and cavernous space of Pier 2/3 is filled with speakers mounted on stands, chairs and walls, creating a minimalist ‘flock’. The installation is structured like a play or film, but with images created only by voice, music and sound effects. Inspired by Goya’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters – from the series of etchings called ‘Caprichos’ (c. 1799), which was a denunciation of the evils of society in Spain in his day – the artists have placed a lone megaphone horn on a table in the middle of the space. Out of this horn comes Cardiff’s voice reciting dreams and thoughts as if, like Goya’s sleeper, she is absorbed in her own nightmares. Using multiple soundscapes, as well as compositions by Freida Abtan, Tilman Ritter and Titus Maderlechner, the artists create a ‘sound play’ that physically envelops the listener in a moving field of sound and music.

(This artwork has a 30-minute duration. Seating provided.)


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