What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

First visit to the newly, vastly expanded SFMoMA. So much sound in this massive space, this collection of massive and intimate spaces. Way up on the top floor I was happy to see this large-scale triptych from 2007 by Dave Muller (whom I knew when we both lived in Davis, California, in the early 1990s). Titled “cassettestack (A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You),” it’s a collection of detailed acrylic-on-paper magnifications of much-loved tapes. Like his depictions of the spines of vinyl record albums, these paintings emphasize wear, specifically the wear that comes with repeat use. This doesn’t smack of thrift-store detritus. There may be some nostalgia, but there’s no received affection. You can’t hear the recordings, but you know they were heard, and heard often. The tapes range widely in style, fittingly topped by a set from John Cage, who had his own personal take on reworking pre-existing tape to express ideas about the materiality of sound. Of course, Cage worked hands-on with the tape itself.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.

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