Saturday, August 18, 2007

Antonia Hirsch

Antonia Hirsch:

Tacet is a three-channel video installation, each channel featuring a full-body portrait of an orchestral conductor. Each of the three conductors is sight-reading the national anthem of one of the member states of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

When mentally conjuring up the sounds of an orchestra, the musicians’ involuntary movements, changes in breathing, etc., manifest their sense of the music’s rhythm, volume, or a particularly dramatic moment in the score.

All that is audible within the installation space are the incidental sounds of the musician’s reading — the shuffle of paper, the rustle of clothing, a sharp intake of breath — the body of the conductor acting as a catalyst for the music.

In Tacet, the national anthems act as a cipher for a democratic system’s necessary basis: the collectively imagined nation state. Globalization has given rise to economically-driven state alliances such as NAFTA, thereby calling into question the relevance of the nation state — together with its democratic institutions. Tacet explores how the collective fiction of the nation state is individually embodied and critiques conventional models aiming to harmonize divergent voices.

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