A brief chat we had with these dudes up at ATP suggested spawning a live-performance piece from Animal Collective’s mind-melting “visual album” Oddsac would be a tall order. Said Avey: “It would take a lot of practice. Just ’cause we’ve basically assembled all the music and sounds, kind of a little bit piece by piece, you know, and not really in a live sort of setting. Yeah, it would take a little bit of work. We could do it … for a good occasion. It would take a lot of planning for sure.” An occasion has arisen — the ongoing 50th anniversary celebration of NYC’s Guggenheim Museum, specifically. Because they love museums. But rather than recreate Oddsac, Animal Collective’s once more joined forces with Oddsac director and longtime bro Danny Perez for something fresh: a one-night only (so far) “site-specific performance piece that will transform the museum’s rotunda into a kinetic, psychedelic environment.” You don’t say.
Titled Transverse Temporal Gyrus, the multi-media installation will feature “original recorded music composed specifically for the work along with video projections, costumes, and props, rendering the band members and performers into intense, visual abstractions.” It’s a free-reign event, running over three hours with attendees encouraged to wander the museum and come and go at will. It’s presented in conjunction with Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum and Tino Sehgal, exhibitions which have cleared the rotunda of its usual artworks, paving the way for this mindfuckery. Animal Collective have penned a statement of intent which connects noises of the jungle and urban life, along with my favorite phrase “inside your brain.” Engage:
One of the things that you notice almost immediately in the jungle are the birds; so many different sounds coming from so many different directions. Are they communicating to each other? What are they saying? Does each variation serve a purpose? Why are there repetitions? Is there a pattern or is that just your imagination? If you don’t know the first thing about bird songs, these questions can rack a brain for days. The jungle seems louder than most New York apartments but its symbiosis makes it subtler if not more pleasing to foreign ears. The longer you sit awake in bed listening at night, the more you hear. It brings to mind Jane Goodall hanging out with chimpanzees in Tanzania and how she noticed them reacting to distant or inaudible sounds that at first she couldn’t hear, but as her ears adapted to the environment after months she began to hear them too.
But as the environments around us change quickly, as people encroach more and more on land where only select symbioses occur, we wonder how this will change the sounds around us and how this alters the way we hear things and react to them. As New Yorkers we are all familiar with the everyday noise around us–the car alarms, the subway trains braking, the music in bars–so familiar that sometimes we drown them out. But then do we not realize how these sounds are affecting us? How they make us feel or act? With this in mind we wanted to create an environment where people could take some time to listen to other kinds of sounds and get away from those familiar sounds of the city. Keeping in mind the birds of the jungle, we’ve created an array of sounds with Animal Collective’s music that is seemingly random…or is it? We invite you to come take some time out and sit with us. As time passes it is our hope that you will wonder if you are hearing songs or patterns or maybe simply hearing more. The visual work of Danny Perez has been incorporated to turn the environment of an empty museum into a more mysterious hideaway. The core elements and colors are worked into the piece in order to unite this room of sound with the inside of your brain. We hope you enjoy.
Thanks for joining us.
–Animal Collective, February 8, 2010
The mind-melting will occur Thursday, March 4th. For members, tickets are $25 and on sale Thursday (tomorrow) at 10AM; the rest of us uncultured non-members get a crack Friday at 10AM for $30 a pop. Keep on this link for purchase info.
UPDATE on 2/18 @ 10:17AM: Sold out within 17 minutes, if not less. Damn you, snooze alarm.