JEFF TALMAN PRESENTS ‘SOUND MASS’
As part of his new exhibit at bitforms gallery, Talman explores the sound of “silence”
EXHIBITION: 05 20 05 – 06 30 05 OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY 05 20 05, 6–8 PM
Acclaimed international artist Jeff Talman will return to bitforms gallery in a show that explores the visual and sonic resonance of the cathedral of Cologne, Germany. In a series of two video installations and one sound installation, Talman delves beneath the placid surface of the cathedral at rest to expose the nuances of “silence.”
Endless Columns, a seven-channel video installation, features endless shots that pan up dozens of the columns of the cathedral. The textural quality of the stone is brought forward as the videos engage rhythm, gesture, and counterpoint. A large wall projection presents transparent layers of overlapping columns animated by continual panning. The eight-hundred-year-old stone columns undergo continual perspectival shifts, sweeping the viewer’s eye upwards, as the installation further addresses the natures of relativistic, geologic and human time in both the context of the cathedral and the gallery space. Talman’s exploration of the nature of the stone and the extreme vertical nature of Gothic architecture pays homage to the human drive to construct the monumental.
In the adjacent gallery, Sound Mass, an eight-channel sound field, creates a new auditory experience from the sonic resonance of the cathedral. This installation is based on the premise that every space has a unique sonic “presence” when at rest, which can be captured by waveform data. Even when a room sounds silent to the naked ear, small circulating wind currents that scrape against walls and other surfaces produce minute sounds, similar to those yielded by blowing air across the mouth of a bottle – this “room tone” is Talman’s raw material. After recording the cathedral’s room tone, Talman analyzed it and extracted the resonant frequencies. The sound field represents his nuanced choreography of the resonance of the cathedral’s unique “negative sound.”
The exhibition is completed by breath–sky and breath-stone, one-channel video installations inspired by the shape of the artist’s breath during his work in the unheated cathedral in late winter. These wispy traces of human exhalation are set against backdrops of stone and sky, contrasting ephemeral human processes with enduring natural cycles.
Award winning artist Jeff Talman has created installations for the City of Cologne for the Art Cologne Festival; the MIT Media Lab, The Kitchen, bitforms, Eyebeam, Art Interactive, Art Omi, the Tang Museum and others. His unique achievement is the sonic reiterative resonance system in which the inherent ambient resonance of an installation site is identified, amplified and returned to the site. Born in Pennsylvania in 1954 and subsequently trained as a composer and pianist, he served as conductor to numerous orchestras. His sound work leapt from concert stage to the Soho gallery scene in 1996. A 2003 New York Foundation for the Arts award winner in Computer Arts, Talman’s installations, sculpture and two-dimensional work are now regularly featured in major venues. For further information please visit www.jefftalman.com.