From September 6 through September 14, 2003, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present 33 RPM: Ten Hours of Sound from France, a unique exhibition of electronic music by French sound artists. Organized by Laurent Dailleau, celebrated composer, performer, lecturer and journalist, 33 RPM examines the history of sound art in France, exploring 50 years of cutting-edge musical creation. To underscore the extensive nature of artistic explorations in sound, this exhibition features an eight-day listening room playing prerecorded material and is accompanied by a compilation CD that includes new works by a cross section of the artists featured in the exhibition. The CD will be released by the 23Five Inc. label in collaboration with SFMOMA and will be available for purchase in the MuseumStore.
The listening room component of the exhibition presents 10 one-hour programs, played on a rotating basis in the Museum’s first-floor Phyllis Wattis Theater during regular Museum hours. The first two programs include material from pioneering musical research centers GRM and IRCAM, Paris-based organizations renowned for breaking traditional conventions to explore more innovative compositional techniques. The remaining programs examine thematic groups of compositional investigations in the following categories: Tape, Computer and Laptop, Microphones and Loudspeakers, Improvisations and Beyond, Rhythm and Bands, Radio, Performance and New Composition. A brochure will be available in the listening room to enhance visitors’ understanding of the musical arrangements. The essays included in the brochure, written by Dailleau, contextualize the listening room presentation by drawing upon historical trends that inform contemporary French sound. The brochure’s contents will also be available as a multilayered iteration of the project embedded with related sound files in SFMOMA’s online gallery, e.space (www.sfmoma.org/espace), as part of CrossFade: Sound Travels on the Web, a project that focuses on the Web as a performative space for sound art.
33 RPM is the fourth in a series of sound exhibitions at SFMOMA, illustrating the Museum’s devotion to the presentation of regionally focused sound work. The first listening room featured selections from the archives of Studio Akustische Kunst (Studio of Acoustic Art), Cologne, and was organized by Klaus Schöning, the studio’s founder and director. The 2001 program, entitled Ju-jikan, included works by Japanese sound artists from the 1950s to the present and was organized by renowned musician and performer Atau Tanaka in collaboration with Ryoji Ikeda and Shunichiro Okada (aka i.d.). Last year curator Philip Samartzis organized Variable Resistance, a survey of contemporary Australian sound art. 33 RPM continues the Museum’s commitment to the exhibition of sound installations, performances, networked experiments and recorded arrangements as integral components of the media arts program. All past sound exhibitions are available on CrossFade: Sound Travels on the Web, online at www.sfmoma.org/espace.
33 RPM: Ten Hours of Sound from France is made possible through the generous support of the James Family Foundation.