Today's Daily Dirty Diary

JANET CARDIFF TAKES OVER THE CLOISTERS

Janet Cardiff, a Canadian multi-media artist presents the sound installation “The Forty Part Motet” at the Fuentidueña Chapel housed inside of the Cloisters Museum.  When entering the saintly space, visitors are surrounded by an oval configuration of forty speakers. Separated into eight groups of musical registers — soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass — one for each unique voice vocalizing “Spem in Alum” by composer Thomas Tallis. Translated as “In No Other Is My Hope”, visitors are invited to experience either the piece as a whole or the individual translation of sounds from each singer in this polyphonic vocal composition. The installation marks the first time that a contemporary art piece has been exhibited at the Cloisters.

Reactions to the installation range from  shock to profound spiritual awakenings. Cardiff has previously exhibited the installation at a limited gallery space at MOMA PS1. The 12th-century chapel holds historical significance as a sanctuary that existed throughout years of religious strife between Christians and Muslims. Furthermore, the acoustics offer a uniquely heightened experience of sound transmission. In a city inundated by constant stimulation, “The Forty Party Motet” serves as much as a deconstruction of noise as a resonance of multi-textured vibrations.

 






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