press release

Never Mind That Noise You Heard will provide an opportunity to see (and hear!) recent installations and videos that consider the continuum between noise and music as a productive measure and potentially rich tool through which cultural, social, and political relationships can be gauged and challenged. Many works in the exhibition are the outcome of Allora and Calzadilla┬┤s investigations into militarism, war, and the inscriptions of power encoded in and through sound.

The central work will be a monumental installation entitled Wake Up (2007): a sound and light installation for which the artists asked trumpet players from around the world to interpret Reveille;the trumpet call which signals the start of the military day. These sonic re-workings open up the wake up call to other registers of meaning and associations. The recordings are linked to a series of speakers and lights embedded within the walls that divide the space, creating a visual/auditory experience.

The genesis of Wake Up lies in Returning a Sound(2003), a video work made in Vieques, Puerto Rico, an island used for the past 60 years by the US Military and NATO forces to practice military bombing exercises. The local and international civil disobedience movement led in 2002 to the stopping of the bombing, and the beginning of the process of demilitarization, decontamination, and future development.

Returning a Sound addresses not only the landscape of Vieques, but also its soundscape, which for residents of the island remains marked by the memory of the sonic violence of the bombing. The video follows Homar, a civil-disobedient and activist, as he traverses the demilitarized island on a moped that has a trumpet welded to the muffler, acoustically reterritorializes areas of the island formerly exposed to ear-splitting detonations.

Sediments Sentiments (Figures of Speech), 2007, consists of two white truncated forms, with tunnel-like passageways that were conceived as 1:1 scale models of some future disaster. These amorphous sculptures function as stages for a satirical dissection and re- interpretation of political rhetoric. From the tunnels come the voices of opera singers, performing through the musical language of opera fragments of speeches by key actors in the global theatre of recent political history: from Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama, to George Bush and Saddam Hussein.

The exhibition is curated by Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen. The Stedelijk Museum Bulletin will contain an article about the artists.

Jennifer Allora (b. 1974, US) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971, Cuba) have been working together since 1995. In recent years they have won a prominent place in the international art world. In 2007 they were awarded the Only Lyon Prize at the Lyon Biennial and in 2006 they were finalists in the contest for the Hugo Boss Prize, administered by theGuggenheim Museum in New York.

Allora & Calzadilla
never mind that noise you heard
Kurator: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen