Alvin Lucier: I am sitting in a room (Farszky, Gagic, Gligo, Labos)


06.05. / 23h / Alvin Lucier: I am sitting in a room (Farszky, Gagić, Gligo, Laboš) @ French pavilion (40′)

Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier: I am sitting in a room (1969)

Kaja Farszky – voice

Bojan Gagić – light

Nikša Gligo – introduction

Višeslav Laboš – recording and reproduction

American composer and composer Alvin Lucier (*1931) is definitely one of the most significant and influential personalities of experimental music. He was the initiator, pioneer on numerous fields of composition, performance and sound installations, including research and the use of brain waves, space acoustics, as well as natural characteristics of sound waves in music pieces. As an explorer of the acoustic phenomenon and sound perception in most of his pieces he explored the physicality of sound, frequencies of space, as well as the sound transmission via physical medium. Together with Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, he was a member of the influential group Sound Arts Union, and since the 70s he has been teaching at the Wesleyan University. Several of his works are considered “classics” of the contemporary music and key pieces of experimental music: Music for Solo Performer (1965), Vespers (1968), Music on a long thin wire (1977), as well as I am sitting in a room, the piece Lucier wrote when he started his acoustic research of resonant frequencies and its use in a musical piece, back in 1969. I am sitting in a room is probably his most well known piece, where Lucier records himself reading a text, reproducing it and simultaneously recording it in a specific space. The new recording is then reproduced again while recording the reproduction, repeating the process a certain number of times again. Using the frequencies of the space where he performs the piece, Lucier deconstructs the narrative content of the spoken text, thus creating a musical piece where only a rhythm of the text from the beginning remains recognizable. Because of the specific acoustics of the French Pavilion, with its space frequencies defining and creating the piece, this legendary piece of experimental music is performed at the third Showroom of Contemporary Sound. A short introduction before the performance will be given by the academician Nikša Gligo, who performed the piece in the 70s, as a part of the project 3 Situations x 15’ + 4 dancers of the Chamber ensemble for free dance KASP. Back then, Gligo was the artistic director of the Music Showroom and he closely collaborated with Milana Broš and her KASP Ensemble, and their common project was a partly a programme of the Music Showroom, first performed in December of 1976 at KSET, later performed in other venues. Artist participating in this year’s performance are the light designer and multimedia artist Bojan Gagić, whose artistic answer to Lucier’s compositional process given through the medium of light will also mark the international year of light.

I am sitting in a room, izvedba 1976. godine u KSET-u

“I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now.

I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed.

What you will hear, then, is the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech.

I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.”