|AGAINST A HARD SURFACE
kinetic sound sculpture exhibition by Dan Senn
Galerie ve Sklepě, Pohořelec 25, Prague (MAP), poster (PDF)
Opening 18:00, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
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Dan Senn is an intermedia artist in the fluxes tradition with direct links to the work of John Cage. His art encompasses kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film, but is most pervasively influenced by his work as a composer of classical music. This exhibition, AGAINST A HARD SURFACE, in one sense, is a music composition for five percussion instruments fabricated especially for Galerie ve Sklepě. The "score," rather than being music notes on paper, are sub-audio tones (below the hearing range) which were likewise arranged in a linear fashion but, instead, stored on three CD players. The pendulums (percussion mallets), that rock back and forth striking the "hard surface" of the instruments, and sometimes a found resonator (bell-like objects), are put in motion by modified speakers which are moved by these very low tones and, in this way, perform the score. The sensitivity (sound density) of the pendulums, an extension of the score itself, is controlled by balancing the colorful beads on each pendulum. The result is a presentation which exists symbiotically (in balance) between the purely sonic and visual—one which may seem random but in fact is repeatable and, therefore, is just complex.
Meaning and metaphor in this installation is not intended. The artist is working simply and playfully with materials and processes which tickle his fancy. The mirrors are used because the artist thought it would be interesting to hammer dressing mirrors with colorful pendulums and nothing more. The sculptural instrument made of rough and used construction wood, was incorporated to contrast the four mirror instruments but also to add another level of sound density to the installation, a decision not unlike adding, say, a piano to a piece originally intended for string quartet. On the other hand, while intended meaning had no conscious role in the development of AGAINST A HARD SURFACE, once installed in the gallery, a rough basement venue near the famous Prague Castle, meaning and metaphor inevitably arrive which is special to each listener-observer. This is intended and enjoyed by the artist for he too does the same.
Dan Senn has a doctorate in music composition (minor area, ceramic sculpture) from the University of Illinois-Urbana. He has been a professor of music/art at Ball State University, Indiana, at the Canberra School of Music, Australia, and elsewhere. He currently lives and works as a professional composer and artist in Portland, Oregon and Prague, The Czech Republic.
For more information go to Dan-Senn.com.