Notes Post-Viewing – Alvin Lucier

Piece seen at the ICC in Opera City, Nishi-Shinjuku. Just inside the entrance to a darkened room, about ten (hand-blown?) variously shaped thick glass jars with a green tint appearing at apertures and curves, stand on individual shoulder-height displays. Light is permitted to refract through the jars at a source either behind them or under them. Microphones are hanging into the jars apparently at an equivalent depth. The mikes connect directly to four or five small, but robust amps at the back of the room. Because of the lighting in the room the amps are barely noticeable until the eye has adjusted to the dark. Permeating the room is the subtly shifting hum picked up from the mikes, there is no constant sound or noise produced. Do we worship here? Should we sacrifice? A darkened laboratory in which the hypothesis is in the process of forming. Religion is tangential; science disavows the marshalling of religion. Centered on the light-space, where we define sound. Move away, lift your arm, breathe, twitch, and listen. And who moves? The alter is a… Do we alter the sound? Presence alters the entire room, and without it what becomes of the room? The sound continues; we know to distrust absence, silence. The room is particle to living and movement. Entrances and exits share the point of reading; movement, sound, heat together are melded and effect the tone of the point. Aurality is a reading, an intersection in a network of interactions; its placement is incidental and determined. To mark one point is always an aleatory gesture – an … context. Sound is language that circles forth…

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