Whitehot Magazine

Whitehot Recommends: Charley Friedman: Soundtracks for the Present Future

Charley Friedman: Soundtracks for the Present Future (detail and installation views), 2021. Courtesy Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE. Photograph: Colin Conces.

By WM March 4, 2024

From the press release:

The Griffin Foundation Gallery, January 17 – April 7, 2024

Originated by Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and curated by Rachel Adams, Chief Curator and Director of Programs

Charley Friedman: Soundtracks for the Present Future is an immersive, auditory installation that combines nearly 60 second-hand guitars, mandolins, and basses to create a singular instrument. Suspended from the ceiling in a constellation, the instruments form a labyrinth of sounds and vibrations that perpetually shifts as viewers navigate the work. Through computer software, the instruments “play” various compositions ranging from classical European music to new or recent compositions modified for this installation. By exploring the diverse styles, genres, and techniques of the medium, Charley Friedman calls forth the imprint music can make.

Music has the power to stimulate a spectrum of emotions and memories, which, in turn, can build human connection and empathy, and, at times, locate common ground. This work aims to both dissect and affirm one’s relationship to music as a catalyst and as an art form. Together, the instruments highlight the power and harmony of a collective voice, while never deafening the unique character of the lone guitar.

The installation loops through original pre-programmed compositions, creating an ever-changing soundscape with no concrete beginning or end. As the participant moves through the installation, certain notes take prominence based on their proximity to each instrument. This allows for a completely individualized and self-directed experience with the compositions, giving each individual the ability to affect the experience they have. No interaction is ever completely repeatable. WM



Whitehot writes about the best art in the world - founded by artist Noah Becker in 2005. 


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