Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller — Dream Machines
Until September 24
The work of Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller appeals to all the senses. Above all else, it probes and explores the sculptural plasticity of noise, sound, and music. The duo’s works are vehicles for individual excursions that combine a nostalgic fascination with the experiential worlds formerly afforded by cabinets of curiosity with the multimedia possibilities of the reality we inhabit today. Those who set out to fathom these works embark on a voyage of discovery, immersing themselves in the realm of dreams and poetry. The exhibition at Museum Tinguely offers a comprehensive overview of Cardiff & Miller’s work from their first interactive soundscapes to their sometimes dystopian, immersive, spatial installations of recent years.
The artist duo launched their now over 30-year-long career with binaural, on-site, Walkman cassette “audio-walks” before turning to CD’s and since 2000 using various video devices creating a simple form of augmented reality. Their first major musical installation, “The Forty Part Motet” (2001), pioneered the use of separate audio tracks, recording the voices of 40 individual singers which were played back in unison. Forty loudspeakers are arranged in an oval, each speaker an individual singer, simulating a virtual choir where the movement of the voices around the space creates an almost physical sculptural experience. Visitors can deconstruct the composition by moving around the room, tuning into individual voices, or experiencing the totality of the composition.
Cardiff & Miller’s creations are driven by their fascination with imaginative cultural practices such as writing and storytelling, film, performance, and theater, including puppet theatre, opera, and music generally. They work deliberately with the subconscious and with dreams that open up fantastical and often disruptive associative spaces.