Symphony O (for Jim Blachly)
From 12 noon Sunday 13 November 2005 to 12 noon Monday 14 November 2005
Symphony 0 was a durational performance work by conceptual sonician, Seth Kim-Cohen. For 24 hours, Kim-Cohen strummed one chord on an acoustic guitar. After each strum, the sound was allowed to decay until it was no longer audible. Then he strummed again. Certain unpredictable variables very slowly came into play: the construction of the guitar, the age of the strings, the humidity and temperature of the room, the dynamics of the strums. Each had an effect, gradually changing the tuning of the chord. He did not make any adjustments to the tuning, allowing the specifics of these 24-hours to impose themselves on the outcome of the piece.
Symphony 0 was conceived as a tribute to the New York-based conceptual sculptor, Jimbo Blachly.
This performance was open to visitors throughout the 24-hour period.
"The question: what would happen if one chord were strummed for 24 hours, each strum occurring only after the previous strum was allowed to decay to silence? The answer: this. Two strums were recorded every hour, on the hour and on the half hour — with the exception of 1:00 A.M., which was inadvertently missed and made up at 1:13 A.M. There is some crackling after three of the strums, due to the phantom-powered condenser microphones warming up. Once I realized this was occurring, I Ieft the mics on for the remainder of the 24 hours, thus eliminating the crackle."
Seth Kim-Cohen is a conceptual sonician who concerns himself more with acts of thinking, interpreting and imagining than with acts of listening or watching. His work often unfolds according to systematic instructions and restraints, allowing performer and audience to be both participant and spectator, to make the work by witnessing it. Kim-Cohen’s work has happened at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, and Reception Space. He presents Unst: Bespoke Sound on Saturday afternoons on Resonance FM. From January 2006, he is artist-in-residence at Yale University.