Cory Arcangel at Team

Cory Arcangel Untitled (After Lucier) 2006 Mini-Mac [still from installation]

Cory Arcangel left Oberlin six years ago with a degree in Technology in Music and the Related Arts and his visual art has almost always incorporated disparate musical elements. His current show at Team however would look and sound absolutely right installed inside any one of the city's more serious schools of music. That is, if any one of these institutions was adventurous enough to encourage and present the kind of vibrant New Media work which could attract new and larger audiences to an endangered art form.

Actually, the piece represented in the image at the top of this post is totally silent, something of an exception in the exhibition which currently fills the gallery on Grand Street. Its subject however is very much the concept of musical performance and its structure relates to the work of one of our most revolutionary composers of "serious" music. Fellow blogger Joshua Johnson explains:

Untitled (After Lucier), 2006, confronts that specific issue [the dilletante's ignorance of the technical devices of much of today's art] head-on; Arcangel appropriates the strategy of avant-garde composer Alvin Lucier's 1970 piece I am Sitting in a Room, in which Lucier continued to re-record a recording of himself reading "I am sitting in a room..." until the recording became an abstract sonic portrait of the space he was recording in. Untitled (After Lucier) examines the implications of compression, by continuously digitally re-compressing a video of the Beatles famous Ed Sullivan appearance. As the video compresses it becomes more and more abstract-- a visual representation of the process of compression. Essentially, Arcangel asks us to question how the experience of culture is transformed by the container it is presented in. When a video is uploaded to Youtube it is modified by the technology, and thus takes on the characteristics of the "room" in which the viewer experiences it.
Ah, music to our eyes.

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