The Mechanical Syphonies for Two Cities
April 21 - June 21, 2006
The Christine Burgin Gallery is pleased to announce the opening on April 21 of an exhibition of new work by Paul Etienne Lincoln entitled "Two Mechanical Symphonies for Two Cities." The exhibition will include elements from two of Lincoln's large scale works -- "New York New York," 1986- 2006 and "Sinfonia Torinese," 2005 -- as well as recently published editions related to these projects.
Lincoln began work on "New York New York" in 1986. Although it is now nearing completion and has been exhibited at the Hamburger Banhof, Berlin and the Museum Folkwang, Essen, it has never been performed. The work, as it is designed, would perform in tunnels under New York City, over a 60-hour work week, a musical portrait of the city and it's role as the capital of industry, commerce and invention in the 20th century. It would, simultaneously, produce ice bonds and a steam organ rendition of John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever."
In this exhibition the 48 records, which serve to produce the electrical charges necessary to power "New York New York" will be on display. These records or "Influence Isolators" as Lincoln calls them, contain recordings of sounds that have been lost from New York. There are four categories of lost sounds, one for each of the four generators needed to run "New York New York." Each category is made up of sets of High and Low discs, spanning a period of New York's auditory history from 1920-1980. The first category uses popular songs about the city evoking areas of human endeavour, such as Manhattan's architecture, but also descriptions of the city's inhabitants and their lives. The second category uses Industrial (Low) and Natural (High) sounds. The third category uses Historic voice divulging descriptions of the city as recorded through the news, film poetry and political speeches to convey two distinct (High and Low) appreciations of the city, while the fourth documents the highest and the lowest vocal frequencies sung at the Metropolitan Opera for each year during this sixty year period. All recordings are mastered on the discs in chronological sequence and are indexed in a chart accompanying each category. During this exhibition, the records will be played sequentially on a sousaphonograph, the first of its kind, created especially for this exhibition.
Like "New York New York," "Sinfonia Torinese" is an auditory homage to a city, in this case the Piedmotese city of Turin where it was first performed at Guido Costa Projects in September 2004. Fuelled by the chromatographic breakdown of Turin's most enduring export, Carpano's aperitif Punt e Mes, the music of "Sinfonia Torinese" was produced by 14 taxidermied songbirds singing through minute whistles mounted in their beaks accompanied by a rare Italian automatic Racca grand piano playing a specially prepared score of Giovanni Pastrone's 1914 classic film Cabiria. On view at the gallery will be a selection of objects and new works related to the original "Sinfonia Torinese installation. The Christine Burgin Gallery has published a book by Paul Etienne Lincoln, "Sinfonia Torinese," and an edition of the fourteen songbirds which made up the original installation. Each songbird is mounted in a glass bell jar with a hunter's whistle placed in its beak. Upon raising the glass dome, each bird sings it's unique song, accompanied, as in the original performance, by the sound of the Racca grand piano playing music from the original film score of Cabiria,
Paul Etienne Lincoln born in London in 1959. He lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include The Metropolis of Metaphorical Intimations, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2003; Die Berliner Zuckerbärin, Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2004; Preludes, the complete editions: 1984-2004, Alexander and Bonin, New York, 2004; Sinfonia Torinese, Guido Costa Projects, Turin, 2004 and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, 2006.
Paul Etienne Lincoln
The Mechanical Syphonies for Two Cities, 2006
Installation views, Christine Burgin Gallery, New York