Steve Roden


American artist Steve Roden presents his brand new work blinking lights at night made for the exhibition space Phonebox at the artist-run gallery IMO. Phonebox is located in a phone cabin, which now serves as an intimate exhibition space with room for only one person at a time. Here the public is invited to experience the sound work blinking lights at night June 26 – July 10.
Blinking lights at night by Steve Roden takes as its theme a view over Kobe, Japan, from a balcony which the artist has been visiting for almost 20 years. The rythm of blinking lights in the urban nightscape is transformed into a kind of visual and spatial score for a composition. The sound piece takes as its starting point small ‘beep’ sounds made by Roden while contemplating the «silent music» of the lights. The new work made especially for Phonebox is accompanied by a text written by the artist:
…because i have always experienced the view alone and in relative darkness, i began to think about how this outside visual experience at night might be able to converse with an inside audible experience in a small dark private space. Listening to my voice, i replicated each of the light rhythms on an old glockenspiel, and layered the recordings so that the relationship of the notes would resemble that of the field of blinking lights. I decided to present it as a 7” record because such an object needs to be activated by a visitor, as if one were opening a door to step inside, and closing it upon returning to the outside…

The work of Steve Roden, based in Los Angeles, spans various media. Roden’s work integrates various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) translated through invented systems into scores which in turn inspire the production of painting, drawing, sculpture, and sound composition. The scores are dictated by rigid parameters and rules though also full of cracks and holes that give way to intuitive decisions and left turns. The inspirational source material becomes a kind of formal skeleton that the abstract finished works are built upon.
Roden has among others exhibited at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and performed and played at Serpentine Gallery, London, SFMOMA, San Francisco and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Steve Roden’s work is the eleventh in a series of 12 sound-based works presented in Phonebox at IMO in the first half of 2010. The series is titled Sounds Up Close #1-12 and is curated by Kristoffer Akselbo and Rune Søchting. It is the intention of the series to present a number of important artists who work with sound as medium. The series reflects a number of different approaches to sound. Over a period of six months a total of twelve pieces will be presented each for a fortnight. The final artists in Phonebox is the Japanese artist Miki Yui (JP).

Phonebox has earlier served as a phone cabin for the employees at Carlsberg. During the next six months the space, which is acoustically isolated, will function as a unique frame for display and reception of sound-based works. Moreover, the space itself will play an important role in the conceptions of many of the presented works.


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