• Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin displayed their piece

    Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin displayed their piece "Listening Post" in 2002 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It is composed of 231 miniature text display screens that show snippets of conversations from chat rooms. The piece will be exhibited at the List Center beginning Feb. 12.

    Photo / DAVID ALLISON

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List Center show trips the light fantastic

Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin displayed their piece "Listening Post" in 2002 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It is composed of 231 miniature text display screens that show snippets of conversations from chat rooms. The piece will be exhibited at the List Center beginning Feb. 12.


"Son et Lumière" (Sound and Light), a new group show curated by the List Visual Arts Center's Bill Arning, presents works by four individual artists and two teams (including two MIT alumni) who use sequences of moving sound and lights in their works.

The show opens Thursday, Feb. 12 with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The show's title refers to the way an historic building can be illuminated at night with programmed, variable colored lights synchronized to a soundtrack.

"In recent decades, the ubiquity of video projection systems has transformed the art museum experience into one in which moving images splash across the walls of darkened rooms," Arning said. However, with its six large installations using LED screens, film projections, hidden cameras, subsonic and directional speakers, and simple light bulbs, "Son et Lumière" offers what he called "recoded" presentations of sound and light, "so the viewer encounters the unexpected."

These unexpected encounters include a light- and color-cued link to an actual traffic light in San Juan, Puerto Rico -- "Traffic Patterns" by Jennifer Allora (S.M. 2003) and Guillermo Calzadilla. "Listening Post" by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin (S.M. 1989) offers conversational snippets and statements from chat rooms as they float across a curved curtain wall of LED screens and are spoken by a mechanical voice. "Corner Piece -- The Space Between Us" by Ann Lislegaard is a light show timed to the sounds of two women's voices streaming from four speakers.

"It seems to me that much art today contains too much information," said Arning. With this show, he hopes to "prove that less information can stimulate a more resonant and profound experience."

A program of public talks by "Son et Lumière" artists and curators will take place at the galleries through the run of the exhibition, which will be on view through April 4. For more information, call 253-4680 or see http://web.mit.edu/lvac/www.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 2004.


Topics: Arts, Special events and guest speakers

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