Last night may have been the first really cold night in NYC in months (56 degrees, brrr), but the scene was warm and inviting when both art and music fans turned out for the opening reception of Talking Heads’ front man and multi-faceted artist David Byrne’s current project, Tight Spot.
A startling and visually whimsical outdoor installation, Tight Spot is comprised of a 48 by 20 foot inflatable globe fitted with interior sound effects (more about that below), which is literally wedged into a tight spot at 508 West 25th Street created by the High Line and a vacant lot recently acquired by the gallery, whose brick and mortar space is right next door.
While the globe is a static fixture, the installation’s sound feature creates something of an interactive experience. I spoke with Pace Gallery Director David Goerk at the opening and he not only showed me a photo of the globe’s interior (imagine a giant white room empty but for two audio speakers – so cool) but he explained to me that the sounds coming from within the globe are mechanically altered recordings of Byrne’s own voice
In the exhibit’s Press Release Byrne further reveals the process behind creating the desired sound to accompany Tight Spot:
“I knew what I thought that sound should be, and rather than using instruments, synthesizers or samplers to make the sounds that I imagined, I simply made them with my voice. It was the easiest and fastest way of creating what I was hearing in my head. I filtered and processed my voice so that it wasn’t recognizable.”
Rather than put ideas into your head about the meaning behind Tight Spot, I’d invite you to visit the space and come to your own conclusions. In the current global state of rampant war, ongoing economic struggles and widespread issues of environmental concern, it would be difficult to not take something personal away from this exhibit — and it is most definitely a conversation starter. Nice work, David Byrne!
Tight Spot will be on view until October 1, 2011 under the High Line at 508 West 25th Street in New York City.