Knowing little of Vincent's working methodology, I fixed
on the detail that some of his work evolves for years before it is considered
complete. I tried to compose a work that in its own way existed in an in-between
state, initiated but not closed.
those ends, I worked with chance processes, as I have done with my Serendipity
Machines. I established a constraining framework, but determined that the
content of the piece would be determined by chance, when as I performed. My procedure
was simply: from my collection of original minidisc recordings, I chose several
dozen at random which met a single criterion: they had to contain at least one
track that captured a consistent soundscape longer than five minutes. Tracks that
qualified were identified on the disc with a sticker. (A unifying frame for the
piece was provided by a nine-minute long looped recording of my wife thumping
the wall in Angkor Wat's Hall of Echoes.)
the beginning of the performance, I shuffled all of the discs present and arrayed
them in several stacks. As the performance unfolded, I took one disc after another
in the shuffle-determined order; and from each, I added a track into an evolving
soundscape. Though the order of discs was random, I allowed myself the license
of selecting which track on the disc (if more than one was listed) to use, and
how long to use it.
chance procedure, and its effect on the piece as it unfolded, was described to
the audience in a brief question-and-answer period following the performance.
with all of my performances to date, I 'played' a set of minidisc recorders and
a small mixer. For this one, I placed five speakers between the six tables on
which Vincent's work was arrayed; I decided early on to try to work with, rather
than fighting against, the long narrow shape of the gallery. Different recordings
were mixed to different speakers simultaenously, producing a different mix and
emphasis depending on where one sat.
MATRIX is twenty-year-old
program at the Berkeley Art Museum, a unique 'framework for an active, experimental
interchange - a triangular conversation between the artist, the museum, and the
viewer.' Inviting an audience into the galleries after hours to hear my reaction
to Vincent's work is typical of the unexpected, delightful, and provocative gestures
undertaken in this highly-regarded series.
was an honor to be invited to participate in the MATRIX program; special thanks
to Adrienne Gagnon and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson for the opportunity and enthusiastic