At start, the artist hears about an epidemic of tuba thefts occurring in Los Angeles high schools over the past four years. The school marching bands were missing their lowest resonant instrument. Alison O’Daniel sees this incident as a parallel to her hearing experience. As the tuba thieves would deprive the marching bands of a tonality, her hear misses certain sounds. Her sound universe halfway between deafness and hearing becomes a working hypothesis for figuring this intermediate state between sound and silence.
She then launches into the project of realising a film, eight sequences og which are presented in the installation in Brest. The film won’t speculate on the thieves and no tubas will be heard. Poetic associations rise between materials, time, quietness, and listening. The film investigates the main characters’ differing perceptual perspectives on meditation, longing and loss, their environment, travel, music-making, the past – all in relation to their domestic relationships.
Alison O’Daniel’s approach reverses the usual process of filmmaking by starting with musical scores she commissioned from one Deaf and two hearing composers who experiment with boundaries of sound (Christine Sun Kim, Steve Roden, Ethan Frederick Greene). She presented each with a range of materials (poems, news accounts of the thefts, images, etc.) that served as a ‘score’ for their score.
These musical works in turn inspired my production – an attempt to translate these scores into sculptures and a feature length film. As the project evolves, each medium influences the other. The film’s sound is sculptural, visual and tactile, engendering a corporeal understanding of the aural sphere. Sound becomes physical in sculptures I consider ‘quasi-closed captions’ for music, inviting access through material, shape, color, form. The project continues on-going investigation into questions of translation, inviting audiences to imagine other experiences as an avenue through which to understand the story of the film through sculpture and vice versa and also the way the story shifts between the aural and visual.
The exhibition is a call to the viewer to become a musician and play a musical and visual score with the works. The oppourtunity to imagine other experiences as solution enabling them to understand the story of the film through sculpture and vice versa.
Art in General (New York)
Art Matters Foundation (New York)
Center for Cultural Innovation (Los Angeles)
Foundation for Contemporary Art (New York)
Franklin Furnace Fund (New York)
Rema Hort Mann Foundation (New York/Los Angeles).