Christine Seo – Looking Outwards 09

Ariel view of Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet, 2001 at At the Fort Mason Center for Arts + Culture, Gallery 308

This installation was by Janie Cardiff, which displayed forty separately recorded voices are played back through forty speakers strategically placed throughout the space. It was exhibited in a lot of different locations and was recorded by the congregational choir of the Gothic Salisbury Cathedral. This project was mentioned by Joanne Lee, in her Looking Outwards 04; she is in my Section C recitation. She pointed out that “There is something unique about the way all of the voices travel to the audience and mesh together to hit you at once, and that can only be experienced live. This installation seems to emulate that experience despite using speakers by giving each voice a different speaker channel.” I agree with what she said because the installation has 40 speakers playing a track in the recording, where each singer has their own individual mic attached to them.

Additionally, I am very intrigued by the experience the audience can interconnect with the installation. I think it is interesting to be able to place yourself into this installation. The interaction that happens where you, as the audience, can control (by where you are standing in the room) is a different level of technology and experience that people can have with sound. I actually was able to experience this installation myself at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, so I know how intricate each voice and connectivity is.

Caption: experiential video representation of The Forty Part Motet at The Art Gallery of Ontario

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