Back Where the Weather Suits My Clothes

In Juneau, actually, waiting to catch a flight home, at a motel across the street from the airport. My plane leaves at 7:45, so I can leave here at about 7:25. I am a bit scatter-shot-- But I have been thinking about an art exhibit at my brother-in-law's gallery (Lurhing Augustine) by a Canadian couple, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. There were three multi media works. My favorite was The Cabinet of Curiousness, an antique wooden card catalog with 20 drawers. Viewers could open each one, and music (opera, the blues) spoken word (Winston Churchill, a nursery rhyme) or sounds (running water)-  would fill the room. When you opened a drawer  you heard the sounds, but when you closed it, the music or voice was silenced. The whole thing was "tuned" so that when the drawers were all opened it wasn't just noise, and so that any two, or five, or whatever, kind of sounded okay together. The people watching and listening created the piece, actually, by choosing to open and close random drawers. If that wasn't cool enough, one skateboard carrying art student asked a well-dressed middle-aged woman what the chest of drawers was originally for. "It's a card catalog," she said. She noted that the use of such an object upped the ante on the meaning of the piece. "It's an investigation of knowledge, time, our relationship to objects, and music- and creates a contrast between the obsolete system of cataloging single references and our current obsession with excessive information," she said, reading from the gallery material on the exhibit. He looked puzzled. Then she said, "You don't know what a card catalog is, do you?" "No," he said. He had never seen or heard of one. Feel old yet? 


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