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Paul Etienne Lincoln: Two Mechanical Symphonies for Two Cities: New York New York, Sinfonia Torinese

Christine Burgin Gallery
243 West 18th Street, 212-462-2668
April 21 - June 23, 2006
Reception: Friday, April 21, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

A performance by the artist which includes demonstrations of sound works Influence Isolators for New York New York and aspects of Sinfonia Torinese, takes place on the night of April 21st at 7.00pm

Begun in 1986 and still incomplete, New York New York will eventually perform a single 60-hour musical portrait of New York City and it’s role as the capital of industry, commerce and invention in the 20th century, simultaneously producing ice bonds and a steam organ rendition of John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. This exhibition presents the 48 records, which make up the Influence Isolators for the larger New York New York installation. These records, although never intended to be audibly played during the performance of New York New York, contain recordings of sounds that have been lost from New York and together serve to produce the electrical charges necessary to run the installation. During this exhibition, the records will be played sequentially on a sousaphonograph, the first of its kind, created especially for this exhibition.

The 48 records displayed in a vitrine are divided into four categories, 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.

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 fourteen songbirds with a hunters whistle placed in each of their beaks, individually mounted in a glass bell jar, upon raising the glass dome, each bird will sing it’s unique song, accompanied by the sound of a piano emulating from the base, the music played is from the original film score of Cabiria.
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