Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Tony Oursler

Sound Digressions in Seven Colors, 2006

Seven-channel video installation with Plexiglas and aluminum projection panels, and audio.

Dimension variable.

Gift of Katherine S. Schamberg by exchange.

This video installation features footage of seven prominent experimental rock musicians. Oursler filmed each musician separately, yet presenting them together here suggests how chance might allow their improvised performances to produce harmonic sounds out of chaos and cacophony. The performers in the work include minimalist composer Tony Conrad (American, b. 1940); sound artist Steven Vitiello (American, b. 1964); avant-garde harpist Zeena Parkins [nat, b. date]; Ikue Mori (Japanese, b. 1953), a former member of the avant-rock band DNA (formed 1977, New York); J. G. Thirlwell (Australian, b. 1960), better known as the noise-rock phenomenon Foetus; and Kim Gordon (American, b. 1953) and Lee Ranaldo (American, b. 1956) of Sonic Youth (formed 1981, New York)—all of whom have previously collaborated in some fashion with Oursler. Inspired by sound-based color theories, the artist ascribes a different color to each musician. The life-sized projections create a more equal, one-to-one relationship between audience and performer than is viewers typically expected.