NOVEMBER 9-29, 2023 NIGHTLY: Following the sunset sequence at the James Turrell, Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, Olivia Block’s original light and electronic composition is a dramatization of — and an investigation into — the limitations and thresholds of human perception. These transitional moments are expressed through sound and color in varying degrees of brightness and loudness.
For her “12 Degrees of Sky” experience, Block drew from the work of Alexander Scriabin, who, in 1910, composed “Prometheus, Poem of Fire,” Op. 60—partly based upon his interest in tone-color correspondence—for piano, orchestra, optional choir, and clavier à lumières (color organ). The color organ aspect of Scriabin’s composition was nearly impossible to produce while the composer was alive. Recognizing that artist James Turrell has expressed interest in synesthesia, suggesting that, like Scriabin, he too is intrigued by the pitch-to-color correspondence in human perception, Block conjoined these creative perspectives.
Employing Scriabin’s color-to-pitch mapping system with Turrell’s colored light system, Block created a composition which functions like a modern-day color organ. Composed for the multi-speaker system embedded in the walls of the Skyspace, “12 Degrees of Sky” combines electronically synthesized tones and the recorded sounds of the grand concert pipe organ at The Shepherd School of Music, performed by Hannah Lingen Cen. In addition to clear tones and colors emanating from the walls of the space, passages featuring white noise playing quietly and dim lights will create a perceptual twilight.
Supported by Nameless Sound and Rice University’s Arts Initiative Fund. Additional support for this program comes from the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, which oversees, maintains, and curates the Rice Public Art collection.
No reservations will be taken, seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.