Absent Bodies
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 5:25PM


Janet Cardiff, 2001, The Forty Part Motet.

Author: Eloise Govier.

Do you explore the physicality of the body through sound and technology? Are you excited about new relationships between the body and technology? Do you address ideas about physical absence/presence in your work?

I ask because these are some of the themes we are tackling in the FAB16 Cartesian Cut? exhibition and the types of work we would not only like to exhibit, but also write about and share. 

The title of this entry, 'Absent Bodies', emerges from a sound sculpture I visited at the BALTIC Centre for Contermporary Art in the late summer of 2012. It was The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff (see above image). 

The piece consists of 40 electronic loud speakers arranged in an oval shape and these are positioned in a spacious (and in this case pure white) room. It begins with the gentle murmurs of humans getting ready to sing. Each speaker represents an individual voice, and the piece develops into a grand, powerful, choral work of merged (aka 'harmonious') sound that envelops the visitor. 

The hybridisation of the electronic form (speaker) and human sound (voice) creates a phenomenal dynamic in the space. Despite the physical absence of the choir, their presence is keenly felt.

In amongst the tension between the vocally present and visually absent body, is an artwork that zones in on the power of the voice. By reducing sensory stimulus within the space, the audience are afforded an opportunity to simply listen and, for some, it is an experience that stays with them. 

The FAB16 Cartesian Cut? exhibition are looking for works that address the exhibition theme made from any medium.

Free submission: email cartesiancut@fringeartsbath.co.uk, deadline 14/03/16.

Installation details:

The Forty Part Motet

2001 - A Solo work by Janet Cardiff 
Dimensions: 5.1m x 11m x 3m high
Duration: 14 min. loop with 11 min. of music and 3 min. of intermission 
Materials: 40 loud speakers mounted on stands, placed in an oval, amplifiers, playback computer

mission Materials: 40 loud speakers mounted on stands, placed in an oval, amplifiers, playback computer

website: http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/inst/motet.html accessed 16.2.16

Article originally appeared on Fringe Arts Bath Festival (http://www.fringeartsbath.co.uk/).
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