crossroads, 2007-2010








crossroads, 2007-2010

  • 12’ x 10’ x 24’
  • March 2007. University Art Gallery, Stony Brook, NY
  • 8-channel sound and the sound generated 12-volt naked light bulbs.
    2 minutes and 12 seconds interval.
  • 12-volt light bulbs, 3” speakers, bamboo, heat shrink, Japanese screen paper, kite strings, MOTU Traveler, original circuit, MacBookPro, and speaker wire.
  • — sound info —
    composer/editer: Takafumi Ide
    contrabass by Jenny Labonte
    female voice: Shannan Lee Hayes
    male voice: Austin Furtack-Cole

crossroads is an installation that is based on harmony and uses eight identical structures. The structures are suspended from the ceiling in a grid shape in the 10’ x 24’ space. Each structure has three main elements: a 3” speaker, a 12-volt light bulb, and a thin 3’ x 3’ square suspend parallel with the floor under the other parts. The speaker, suspends above the square between two wires by a narrow bamboo rod, is placed near the top of the structure at my ear level. Under the speaker there is a light bulb placed at my eye level when I sit down on the ground. The bottom of the structure, a thin square made from bamboo and Japanese screen paper, is attached with a bow-like bamboo rod to the rest of the structure. It hangs at my knee level.

The gallery space is filled with sorrowful contrabass notes and human voices emanating from the speakers. The sound electrically generates a pulsing light bulb so that the audience sees a solitary small blinking light while listening to the sound from each speaker. The synchronized light bulb creates a faint ripple-like pattern on the flat square surface below it. The light suggests the spirit or presence of the voice. The silhouette of the square is cast on the gallery floor. The audience are able to walk through the 4’ space between the structures. The soundtrack is of one male and one female voice accompanied by musical elements played on a contrabass, lasting 2 minutes and 12 seconds in total. The voices spoke phrases suggest separation.

Invariably, I decide the keyword first. The keyword for crossroads is separation. This word is related to my situation when I developed my idea. My wife and sons had to leave the United States. In addition to this fact, I knew that I would leave my close friends at that time. Thus, separation became an essential issue for me during that time.

I asked native English speakers to imagine telling loved ones Good-Bye at a moment of separation while I recorded them. This situation may be between loved ones such as lovers, parent and child, or friends. For instance, when a son is ordered to go to war, his mother may say, “I love you.” She may also imagine that this moment would be the last time she would see him. However the son never wants to imagine his death, so he would say, “Don’t worry.” I also selected texts that would fit the closing in a letter. I chose: “Good luck,” “I miss you,” “Take care of yourself,” “Don’t worry,” “See you soon,” “I’ll never forget,” “Thank you,” and “I love you.”

Text by Takafumi Ide, May 2007 (edited in 2010)