M E L
The Dream House Opens for the 2004 / 2005 Season - Our Twelfth Year!
La Monte Young Marian Zazeela
Sound and Light
Dream House: Seven+Eight Years of Sound and Light, a collaborative Sound and Light Environment by composer La Monte Young and visual artist Marian Zazeela, is presented in an extended exhibition at MELA Foundation, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor. The environment is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 2:00 PM to Midnight. Suggested contribution is $4.00. The long-term exhibition opened in Fall 1993 and will continue for this season through June 18, 2005.
Young and Zazeela characterize the Sound and Light Environment as "a time installation measured by a setting of continuous frequencies in sound and light." In the light environment Marian Zazeela presents four works, two environmental: Imagic Light and Magenta Day, Magenta Night, in installations specifically designed for the site; and two sculptural: a neon work, Dream House Variation I, and a wall sculpture, Ruine Window 1992 from her series, Still Light. In the environment Imagic Light, Zazeela projects pairs of colored lights on mobile forms to create seemingly three-dimensional colored shadows in a luminous field.
In the concurrent sound environment, La Monte Young presents The Base 9:7:4 Symmetry in Prime Time When Centered above and below The Lowest Term Primes in The Range 288 to 224 with The Addition of 279 and 261 in Which The Half of The Symmetric Division Mapped above and Including 288 Consists of The Powers of 2 Multiplied by The Primes within The Ranges of 144 to 128, 72 to 64 and 36 to 32 Which Are Symmetrical to Those Primes in Lowest Terms in The Half of The Symmetric Division Mapped below and Including 224 within The Ranges 126 to 112, 63 to 56 and 31.5 to 28 with The Addition of 119, a periodic composite sound waveform environment created from sine wave components generated digitally in real time on a custom-designed Rayna interval synthesizer.
Both artists are presenting works utilizing concepts of structural symmetry. Zazeela's mobile forms are arrayed in symmetrical patterns with lights placed in precisely symmetrical positions creating symmetrical colored shadows; the wall-mounted light sculpture and the neon are both symmetrical forms. Young's sound environment is composed of frequencies tuned to the harmonic series between 288 and 224, utilizing numbers with factors of only 9, or those primes or octave transpositions of smaller primes that fall within this range. The interval 288/256 reduces to a 9/8 interval as does the interval 252/224. Thirty-two frequencies satisfy the above definition, of which seventeen fall within the range of the upper, and fourteen fall within the range of the lower of these two symmetrical 9/8 intervals. Young has arranged these thirty-one frequencies in a unique constellation, symmetrical above and below the thirty-second frequency, the center harmonic 254 (the prime 127 x 2).
Young has stated that: "This is my newest and most radical work; the Rayna synthesizer has made it possible to realize intervals which are derived from such high primes that, not only is it unlikely that anyone has ever worked with these intervals before, it is also highly unlikely that anyone has ever heard them or perhaps even imagined the feelings they create."
In 1966, Young and Zazeela pioneered the concept of the continuous sound and light environment, and have since presented large-scale sound and light productions in museums and galleries worldwide for continuous periods from one week to five years, including installations in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; documenta 5, Kassel; Kunstverein, Cologne. Under a long-term commission from the Dia Art Foundation (1979-85), Zazeela and Young collaborated in a six-year continuous Dream House presentation set in a six-story building on Harrison Street in New York City, featuring multiple interrelated sound and light environments, exhibitions, performances, research and listening facilities, and archives. Now in its twelfth year, MELA Foundation's Dream House: Seven+Eight Years of Sound and Light, is Young and Zazeela's longest installation to date.
In Minimalism:Origins (Indiana University Press, 1993), Edward Strickland has written of their collaborative environments: "Intense light [is] aimed through [colored] filters at quasicalligraphic aluminum shapes hung by ultrafine filaments. The effect is a unique and extraordinary transvaluation of perception: the mobiles seem to hover unanchored, while the shadows they cast in various hues attain an apparent solidity against the light-dissolved walls equal to their literally palpable but apparently disembodied sources. Like Young's music, to which it serves as an almost uncanny complement, Zazeela's work is predicated upon the extended duration necessary to experience the nuances which are its essence."
Their one-year sound and light environment collaboration, The Romantic Symmetry (over a 60 cycle base) in Prime Time from 112 to 144 with 119 / Time Light Symmetry (Dia Art Foundation, 22nd Street, NYC 1989), was described by Village Voice critic Kyle Gann as "some of the strangest and most forward-looking art New York has to offer." A 1990 Donguy Gallery, Paris, exhibition was purchased by the French Cultural Ministry National Foundation of Contemporary Art for permanent installation in a French museum. Die Tageszeitung wrote about their 1992 DAAD Ruine der Künste, Berlin environment: "A longer stay in the Dream House is necessary to experience the full effect. The mind is calmed by the environment in a meditative way, and subtle sound and light effects that are veiled at first sight then come to the fore."
Of the current environment, Seven+Eight Years of Sound and Light, Sandy McCroskey has written in 1/1 that "Zazeela's light sculptures have invariably, teasingly refused to surrender their entire secret to photographic reproduction, so much do they depend on the retinal impact of activated photons in real time and so much do they exploit, in ways analogous to Young's techniques, the creation of visual combination tones and an accumulation of after-images.
In June 2003 Nick Stillman wrote in The Brooklyn Rail: “The Dream House can inspire sincere self-reflection—of how people physically move, of how little time there is for stillness, of how we’ve become trained to seek and to reward movement and action. To embrace the Dream House is to become entranced and lost in time. And with no permanent closing date established for Young and Zazeela’s collaborative installation, this could be the dream that never ends.”