Audio and Video Installations
By Alan Berliner
167 East 69th Street
New York City
March 19 - April 16, 1996
Alan Berliner, a leading experimental filmmaker, has also been producing a growing body of installation work that utilizes found and appropriated picture and sound sources. A common thread uniting his film and installation work is the frequent use of contemporary mass media, especially newspaper, radio and television.
Critical Mass activates the newspaper page as cubist space... a daily mosaic composed of the people, faces, places, stories and symbols of our time. By combining car radios, audio speakers, televisions, and a video collage composed of tens of thousands of computer animated newspaper photographs within one work, Berliner has created a kind of "information cacophony," reflecting his fascination with the aural and visual forms with which our culture documents itself. Late City Edition is a precursor to Critical Mass, incorporating small video monitors inset within bundles of newspapers, randomly stacked as if waiting to be recycled. Again, Berliner makes use of a serene yet explosive montage of newspaper photographs, culled over a 15 year period, to evoke the cumulative overload of history unfolding day by day.
In his interactive sculptures Audiofile and Aviary, participants can compose and orchestrate their own sound collages - from nuanced and delicate concrete musics to wildly implausible, raucous cacophonies - by manipulating special file cabinet drawers, each of which contains a unique sound. Audiofile, with its playfully diverse and eclectic array of audio imagery, and Aviary, with its focus on the songs, gutteral calls and percussive rhythms of birds, become participatory musical instruments, challenging the way we listen by recontextualizing what we hear.
In The Red Thread, Berliner explores the transformation of electrical energy into both light and sound. Through the simplicity of gesture, the spectacle of scale, and the pure geometry beauty of electrical wire as graphic line, he gives aesthetic dimension to the relationship between the distance a sound travels and the time it takes to get there.