The Cleveland Museum of Art and MOCA Cleveland have joined forces to present two contemporary installations by celebrated multi-media artist Janet Cardiff—Forty-Part Motet at the CMA and The Paradise Institute at MOCA. In celebration of these two innovative works of art the CMA’s first Friday happy hour event, MIX, will be a special collaboration with MOCA’s WtF (Welcome to Fridays) series. Join us Friday, June 7 from 5-9 p.m. at MIX: Connections for cocktails, live music and immersive art at both the CMA and MOCA. A free trolley will run all evening between the two museums. In anticipation of this exciting evening, we discuss Janet Cardiff and her groundbreaking installations.
Forty-Part Motet and The Paradise Institute come from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Forty-Part Motet is a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (1957, Brussels, Canada) and The Paradise Institute is a collaborative work between Cardiff and her husband George Bures Miller (1960, Vegreville, Canada). Both installations explore the human sensory experience and seek to completely immerse visitors in the artwork. Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller live and work in Berlin and British Columbia. They have been collaborating on multi-media projects since the early 1990’s.
Forty-Part Motet is a sound sculpture that involves forty mounted speakers arranged in a circle playing a 16th-century choral work. Installed in the middle of CMA’s Italian Baroque Gallery, each speaker plays an individually recorded choir voice. Visitors experience the power of the full choir while simultaneously discovering each unique voice as they get closer to the individual speakers. The effect is both approachable and haunting.
The Paradise Institute at MOCA focuses on the psychological effects of cinema. Visitors are seated in what appears to be a large, 1930’s era movie theatre – but is actually a small plywood structure. The effect of being in a grand theatre is created through careful attention to perspective and material. Once inside, visitors watch a 13-minute noir film clip while wearing headphones. As the film runs, realistic voices are played through the headphones that sound as though they are coming from people sitting around you. The voices distract from and yet heighten the anxiety of the dramatic movie scenes being played. Cardiff and Bures Miller’s goal is to question the boundary between reality and entertainment. How do we separate our lived experiences and memories from those we absorb through images?
The Paradise Institute run through June 9 and Forty-Part Motet runs through July 7, but you can experience both of these engaging installations in one night at MIX: Connections.