I am spending the summer completing a few more paintings and drawings for a solo exhibition this coming Fall. The gallery has a quality sound system. I want to use it.
The title of the exhibit is A Constant Vital Commotion. The series of paintings, drawings and prints is near completion…well maybe for this particular exhibit it’s near completion. I am looking for sound. I have never considered sound, it’s a new element for me. How will it support the work? How will the audience respond?
One time I asked contemporary dancers to perform for an opening reception of a solo exhibition. They filled the space with loud music. They interpreted the content of the work, the vices and the virtues, and moved themselves as the various characters, into the gallery space. I wanted them to interact with the audience as opposed to perform for them. Though I concluded it was a performance. It was a learning experience for all of us. I enjoyed working with the group, they were receptive, we clearly collaborated. They rehearsed and knew only as much as pre opening rehearsal can allow. The space was too small or the audience was too many, it was a First Friday event in downtown Phoenix…you can imagine. The audience stayed on one side of the gallery while the dancers moved in front of the work. Eventually a few brave visitors walked into the space to see the work. Because of the rhythmic inflow of visitors they would finish, break and begin again. I know that if I ever do that again, and I would like too, it will have to be the right space, with right flow.
Now I have this opportunity…to use sound. I am thinking about the experience a bit more this time. What do I want exactly? I want sound, maybe noise, to run not only for the duration of the opening reception but thru the entire run of the exhibit. Constant. I want the sounds, the noises to lightly impress upon the audience’s thoughts.
I want it to be ambient sound, subtle, electrical and visceral noise, suggestive of the inside of the body and mind. Or at least what I imagine the inside of the body and mind might sound like. I want air travelling, digestion taking place, rhythm of heart, of blood moving thru arteries and veins…synaptic pulses?…is that correct? Anyway, it’s what I’m looking for.
I found something on YouTube and contacted the group, who is out of San Diego. Robert, the musician who responded, is receptive to what I want to do. So I am listening to some of his work and thinking…thinking and listening. What he has could be exactly what I want. I don’t know just yet. I am also going to search locally. There could be some musicians right here in Phoenix.
Exciting…a new element coming into the picture. I need to stay focused on the present but some part of me is already considering…maybe next time…sound and video. I would’ve considered video this time, if most of the work was not complete. One thing leads to another, that’s how all of this works. Right now…the focus is to finish the work and find the sound. I like what I do…there are nerve wrecking moments, it’s true, never are they dull.