1931

“x10R.2 with Suspended Ceiling”

2008
ceiling speakers, miscellaneous hardware, playback system, audio CD, fluorescent lighting, suspended ceiling materials.
12′ x 12′

Installation view: Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA. Included in the exhibition titled “Global Suburbia” curated by Sue Spaid. “x10R.1″ was played continuously at a high volume for the duration of the exhibition.

Audio: UBU Web

x10R.1 and x10R.2 were developed following the concept and structure of the Ascending Curve put forth by the Muzak Corporation. For the length of each of the 10 “Easy Listening” LP’s chosen, the sequence of the songs can be specifically structured for either a space of leisure or labor. The LPs that were originally pressed for leisure listening are, through a structural shift, resequenced into a simulated Ascending Curve providing background sounds that are intended for the space of labor. There were dozens of composers who had contributed to Muzak’s library of music to be processed. For the x10R CDs, I resequenced original LPs of ten composers who were at one time or another affiliated with Muzak. Many mood music and easy listening LP’s are arranged to be enjoyed at home and are listened to as mood music entertainment. The order of the songs on the LP might be sequenced according to the tempo and arrangements to diversify the listening experience, they were intended for the space of leisure and for pleasure. The resequenced records represented singular background spaces, and as superimposed, are heard simultaneously. This conflict of legibility is the audio equivalent of experiencing multiple spaces and the resulting impossibility of its intelligibility. The amount of acoustic/spatial information that is presented exceeds the human capacity. One may recognize fleeting fragments of a song or narrative flow, but as they continually compete and collide into each other, the regard for the underlying narrative is constantly in flux and compromised. I consider this audio work a form of sculpture in that it may challenge cognitive or emotional space and thus somehow affect the body physically or behaviorally. The legibility of the sound is partially dependent upon the gaps between the songs. x10R.1 maintains the two-second gaps between all the songs and with x10R.2, some of the gaps are lengthened or shortened at precise moments to allow certain passages to remain legible.

REVIEW: Disco Graphie – Collecting clues on new sound territories, “The Anti-Fun Magazine” (Media Library of the French Community in Belgium) Pierre Hemptinne, Listening Note 113 – Monday November 18, 2002 David Schafer “x10R.1 x1-R.2″ “A work of collage, but almost a document, a research project, a study on a traumatic section of our universal musical culture (2 copious CD for a very vast and complex matter). One could say [it is] the analysis of the repressive and coercive role of the liberal music of department store, music[s] of conditioning, forced therapies at the service of a fun vision of your situation in society. And everything goes. By successive waves. Overlapping, interpenetrating. Impetuous waves of sublime sillinesses. Primped [looking pretty]. Layers of tap dancing. Layers of chabada. A swirl for the romantic rags [magazines]. Tons of the pathetic. A flood of orchestral vacuities. Layers of “Volare” [the song]. Layers of spaghetti westerns. Layers of jingle bells. Layers of melodies of happiness. A swirl of sound tapes for certificates of the good life and morals. Syrupy praise of quietness, of the flat social electroencephalogram. Layers of “whisper” [speak more quietly]. Layers of heroic tear jerkers. From superposition to superposition, here is a fabulous oozing pile-up. All of these musics of the century are the testimony of a will to contain anguish, to drive back anxiety, to contain impulses in a watched [in the sense of surveillance], policed environment. And in this accumulation carried out by David Schafer, something occurs, unforeseen. Accumulation, the reactivated memory of pressures exerted on the social by these sterilizing ditties, makes these insipidities suddenly, excessively aggressive. It is complete symbolic violence contained – applied in homeopathic amounts, to the body of the social – which suddenly breaks out all at once. What a grand disturbance! From the infernal orchestra pit rises the nightmare! It overflows, oozes from everywhere, formidable nausea (“Clockwork Orange” style, except that here the horror is distilled by the most asexual music[s], the least suggestive to the act – it is a whole enterprise of repression which suddenly throws up). Impressive! Trying! Essential experiment.”