May 14, 4pm, RSVP Tauba Auerbach

Ultrasounds with Dr. Elise Desperito

Dr. Elise Desperito, Assistant Professor of Radiology for Columbia University Medical Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital, will lead an ultrasound event at the Artist’s Institute in response to Tauba Auerbach’s kinetic sculpture, whose form is inspired by fascia, the meshwork of connective tissue in the human body, and the currents that flow through it. Participants are invited to bring objects they would like to ultrasound. (Fleshy, viscous substances like fruit and thin items suspended in jelly work best. Items need to be able to get wet.) Dr. Desperito will explain how sonography works and how to read this kind of medical imaging. Space is limited. Please e-mail with a brief sentence describing what you hope to bring, and we will be in touch.

April 12, 6pm–8pm Tauba Auerbach

Exhibition Opening

April 5, 7pm, RSVP Alvin Lucier

"The Queen of the South" and Ron Kuivila, "Sparkline, with acceleration"

Alvin Lucier, The Queen of the South (1972)

Drawing on the experiments of 18th century physicist and musician Ernst Chladni and 20th century physician Hans Jenny, Alvin Lucier’s The Queen of the South  attempts a direct visualization of sonic vibration. In 1787, Chladni drew a violin bow along the edge of a brass plate sprinkled with a thin layer of sand. The vibrating surface bounced the granules into symmetrical forms—stars, waves, grids, and labyrinths—he termed “sound figures.” Nearly two centuries later, Jenny published the book Cymatics, which further explored and photographically documented the effects of sound vibrations on various substances. Lucier’s score calls for performers to sing, speak, or play electronic or acoustical instruments to activate responsive surfaces strewn with fine materials in order to make visible the effects of sound. The title is drawn from a figure in alchemy, which attempts the transmutation of one substance into another. The Queen of the South will be performed by Ron Kuivila.

Ron Kuivila, Sparkline, with acceleration (2003)

A spark is the visual analogue of a sound: it appears briefly and then disappears, leaving a trace in the memory. Curiously, the sound of a spark has no “body.” Instead of vibrating (pushing and pulling the air), it literally tears the air via a flow of electrons. For Sparkline, with acceleration, Kuivila records sparks as they jump across parallel wires and then plays back these sounds at a slowly increasing rate. Initially sounding five octaves below, the sound of the spark gradually accelerates until it is several octaves higher than the initial sound and stops.

This event is free, but advance registration is required and space is limited. Please RSVP here.

March 17, 4pm Marina Rosenfeld

Bill Dietz, Fumi Okiji, and Marina Rosenfeld on Radical Receptivity

Artist Marina Rosenfeld, whose exhibition Music Stands is on view through March 30th, will join Fumi Okiji and Bill Dietz for a conversation on radical receptivity. Fumi Okiji is an academic and vocalist whose work crosses critical theory, black feminist thought, and performance studies. Bill Dietz is a composer and writer who works on the genealogy of the concert and the performance of listening.

February 21, 6pm–8pm Marina Rosenfeld

Exhibition Opening

Marina Rosenfeld creates sound systems. Sometimes these are performances for military orchestras or for rows of earbud-linked teenagers; at other times they take the form of physical interventions into sites, charging various objects (bass cannons, PA loudspeakers, or microphone clusters) with the tasks of amplification and reproduction. In every instance, Rosenfeld carefully attends to the distribution and directionality of amplified bodies in space, considering the relations of power that these arrangements concretize and contest. Eschewing sound as transmission—the authoritative, unidirectional pronouncement—Rosenfeld explores the disruptive, feminist potential of machinic propagation. She programs unruly flows of sonic material in closed circuits or recursive, feedback-prone systems, interrupting the silence of the white cube with momentary eruptions of noise and vocality.

Rosenfeld will present an exhibition of new work called Music Stands at the Artist’s Institute with related programming, on view through March 30th.