Art Spent my lunch hour today in the company of Tate Liverpool and more particularly the Janet Cardiff installation Forty Part Motet. It’s described in the programme …
“Forty Part Motet 2001 is based on a choral work by the sixteenth century composer Thomas Tallis. Cardiff has replaced each singer with an audio speaker and the audience passes through the work, listening to different voices and harmonies as they progress. The intimate relationship between the disembodied voices and the viewer creates a highly charged emotional atmosphere that is experienced in a very public way.”
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.
Was going to be posted on 25th June 2003 but I gave it to Metafilter first instead ...

No comments:

Post a comment