String Quartet No.2: The Installing

Saturday 21 June 2008

I’ve put up some photos of the Redrawing show (plug!). This is the first installation I’ve done where I didn’t have to provide all the material, equipment, logistics, and labour myself – thanks to the curator and gallery staff of two.
The Spare Room, a small, separate room inside Project Space designed for video work, seemed like the natural location for my work in the show. This way the work had an immersive environment of its own, and could still interact with the other artists’ work in the main room by being clearly audible through out the space – and in the building foyer, too. I was assured the other artists didn’t mind this.

The room has two speakers set into the ceiling, so it was relatively simple to set up the work without an excess of intrusive equipment. The speakers don’t have a great sound quality and are getting a bit clapped-out, but the loud, consistent sound of the work helps to disguise these defects.
Because String Quartet No.2 originated as an attempt to emulate Phill Niblock, I thought it was only appropriate to add a video component to the work for exhibition purposes. Fiona Macdonald kindly made me a video of a blank, white screen, which plays on a continuous loop in the room while my cheap Malaysian laptop performs the music. This way the installation further emphasises the structural connection to Niblock’s work, and its substantial differences.
Visitors familiar with Niblock’s music have all commented that my piece isn’t nearly loud or grating enough. That’s partly because it’s pretty much as loud as those speakers in the ceiling can go but as I said, I knew that my piece would inevitably end up sounding different to a Niblock piece, even when imitating him as closely as I could. The volume is a flexible matter, in any case.