Alvin Lucier – ‘I am Sitting in a Room’ (1969)

A piece that I discovered in my manifesto project seminar this week; Something that really opened my eyes to the magic of sonic art and minimalism within this realm.

The piece is created utilising Alvin Lucier’s reading of; “I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.” which is played, and recorded on one of two tapes. It is then played off of the second tape and recorded on the first one, and then vice-versa. This continues for around 45 minutes usually, but can vary in time. The piece is actually created purely through the acoustics of the room that it is created within; in which the vibrations of the voice being recorded over and over soon become nothing more than an abstract noise, almost drone, that encompasses a peaceful, consistent series of notes, stomping out any semblance of words within.

There’s something medititive about the noise that is produced, almost as if echoing the space within the room and crafting a sound from this emptiness. It has inspired me to consider the possibilities of utilising a form of drone or ambient music as a backing track for my video.


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