Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Noise Can be Hostile: 7,8,7,5

Noise Can Be Hostile: Seven, Eight, Seven, Five

Anthony Montuori, in Collaboration with Ethan Berry and Maggie Cavallo

The experience of passing by the Frame 301 exhibition window at Montserrat College of Art has been altered by a new site-specific installation. Montserrat College of Art graduate (2009) Anthony Montuori created a n evocative, minimal visual landscape with 27 used speakers pressed upon the glass. A colorful vortex of wiring connects the speakers through a small hole in the wall. A murmur of sound is audible from the sidewalk, emphasized by pressing one's ear to the pane of glass that separates the viewer from the speaker.

In planning the installation, Montuori and his collaborators, Montserrat Faculty Ethan Berry and Frame 301 Curator Maggie Cavallo, considered the ease with which the public participates with Frame 301 in comparison to the number of people who willingly enter the 301 Cabot Street building to view the gallery within. Montuori pursued the ambiguous, yet often dueling definitions of public and private spaces by calling our attention to the glass that separates the street from the gallery. "The sidewalk is public property that is still owned or controlled;" the artist explains, "window displays are also used to sell products, and in times of unrest the first to be smashed and looted for their contents." While the gallery spaces at 301 Cabot Street and the sidewalk that flanks it are both considered public, a visitor's past experiences with these areas are varied and affect how the spaces have been categorized and experienced. Beginning with a consideration of Frame 301 as a symbolic space between academic private property and the public area of the street and sidewalk, Montuori demonstrates how multifaceted these demarcations can be.

In titling his work, Montuori found influence in the conceptual art and Truisms (seemingly self-evident statements) of spring 2009 Montserrat College of Art exhibitor and honorary doctorate recipient Jenny Holzer. "In my window display, the first Truism, ‘Noise Can be Hostile,’ is present due largely to the nature of the piece as kind of a wall of sound and as an image of abundance; where too much is in favor here; too many speakers and an iconography of decadence," Montouri explains. He appropriated the phrase from the vinyl lettering of the past Frame 301 installation by Miles Conrad. The artist goes on to explain, "the numbers in the title refer to the truism: Private Property Created Crime. This is also in relation to the organization of the speakers in the windows. Four separate panes, four words. 7,8,7,5 respectively." Yet we also see reference to the window as a site, the window as a symbolic display of private property.

Montouri pulls from the ideas of Holzer to use in other works. His interest lies in sampling from other artists but abstracting what he takes. "I see this as a kind of sampling that one might find a DJ or postmodern musician engaging in." While passing by, viewers (or listeners) will hear the sounds of classical music, a contemporary DJ (emphasizing Montuori's idea of sampling), stand-up comedy, the sound of people clearing their throat and theoretical readings. The choices for the audio components emphasize the jagged, imaginary edges that separate private and public, and high or low culture.

Near the door of 301 Cabot Street, a phone awaits viewers’ curiosity. By making the conscious decision to pick up the phone and place it to their ear, viewers will hear a clear reception to the sounds going on inside. Montuori's piece encourages us to think critically about the spaces we deem as public and private, and to have the courage to participate in both.


Influence of Jenny H's Truisms?

I have been pulling from this list for a while now and using it in other works. I am interested in sampling from other artist but abstracting what i take. I see this as a kind of sampling that one might find a DJ or postmodern musician engaging in.

Who were the situationists? What do they have to do with your piece?

I small group who wrote much on capitalist society and who could be considered a continuation of marxist theory. Their writings focused on urbanology, the spectacle and various methods for reclaiming the landscape or shifting existing media to subvert them. This piece sees itself situated in a display window which puts it in the position of spectacle. It is viewed by individuals traveling in cars, a commodity often used, by the situationists, to describe the eptiome of the spectacle. Also their urban studies, which favored unteathered exploration of urban landscapes relates perhaps to the people who might walk by. Perhaps they may pay more attention to their surroundings as they continue their journey.

What audio is playing? Any direct quotes?

Classical music, stand up comedy, readings of theory, contemporary music (girl talk, which is all about appropration and juxtopisition), people coughing or clearing their throat. etc. The phone will be a source as well, so that talking into it will produce sounds through some of the speakers.

Anthony - btw, in all your situationist reading did you ever get into daniel buren? He's my fav.

not in the situationist reading but I am familiar with buren and enjoy the idea that work can be critical of where it is placed or the institution that exhibits it...

Idea of the experience of someone walking by?

that they might place their ear to window, feel the glass vibrate... get a sense of the various sound sources. With the phone, hopefully a level of contribution is conveyed and afforded the active viewer.

How does this piece relate to other works you've done? How has your work developed?

It certainly relates in my use of stand-ins for words. I have an interest in language and its inadequacy to convey information. Ive layered various sound sources together in the past but never in this way and certainly not as an installation. This piece is really very much a combination of a lot of the things that have interested me in other media: Combining desparate imagery in either collage paint or video; dealing with language; sampling from other artists to recontextualize their works.

How does the piece work, technically, what is involved?

It is basically a lot of speakers all wired to seperate sound sources that will be playing on endless loop. The speakers are either adhered with hot glue directly to the glass or strung up on a horizontally taught metal cable. The telephone will be monitoring the sound in the window by having the speaker in the headset connected to a microphone placed in the window and the mouth piece in the phone will be connected to several speakers so as to be another sound source.

Noise can be hostile?

Certainly. I’m sure the people in 301 will feel that way by the end of the month. It can be intrusive... even classical music in this case will start to lose its beauty. Of course it also refers to the sound sources and the nature of capitalist modes of advertising(window display)

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