A friend and frequent collaborator with Icelandic composer Kjartan Sveinsson, Kjartansson had a song commissioned for performance by ten guitars and voices, all playing different parts. The libretto, as it were, consists of only a handful of lines from a scene in an old Icelandic film, in which both of Kjartansson's parents acted out a housewife's fantasy sex scene.
"Take me here by the dishwasher," she says to the plumber, and then the two undress each other. The couple minutes of footage from the 1977 film are projected on one wall while the musicians assume positions all around the exhibition space, each playing his respective part and singing his respective lyrics (in truth, there's a lot of improvising going on... and I'm not sure if it was intentional, but all the musicians are men. If it was intentional, I don't know why).
The song is only three minutes long, but it's composed in such a way that, like the video, it can be looped -- played on repeat for hours. Literally. Most days we perform the song for seven straight hours, except for Thursdays when we play it for ten.
This would probably drive me crazy, if the composer wasn't the former keyboardist for iconic post-rock ensemble Sigur Rós. I used to fall asleep to one of their albums, simply titled ( ) -- also a great album to bust out if you're ever in need of a good cry. Unsurprisingly, Sveinsson arranged this short song in the same hypnotic style, which actually lends itself to being played, and/or listened to, over and over and over. So it comes as no surprise to me that many of our visitor-spectators take a seat and just listen for extended periods of time -- even two or three hours.
It really makes me wish that I could have experienced the exhibit as only a spectator. But at the same time, I'm grateful that I'm actually getting paid to experience it instead -- and to build wicked callouses on my fingertips and vocal cords!
I'd love for all my peeps in the city to share this experience with me as well. Admission is $16 for the day, but it includes access to six other exhibits and an awesome rooftop view of the city! Please find below the address and schedule, through June 29th.
Mark your calendars and I'll look forward to seeing you guys there!
New York, NY 10002
Wednesday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Friday–Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
For more on the backstory, how I got involved in this exhibit, check out yesterday's post. Love.