Desertmusic, 3 x 3 m., 900 sheets of printed music


Singer Gwendolene Embley’s library of sheet music was bought as a carload from a market and has sat in a cellar for over 25 years, unwanted and outmoded, so it may seem strange at first to create a wall-hanging paper sculpture for Desertmusic out of some 900 pages of this music . The music comes from not so long ago, but the culture of chamber music performance in the home has nearly disappeared. Instead, it has been replaced, on the one hand by the ubiquitous television, and on the other with numerous technological revolutions in music which have replaced it with a more electronic medium. The new technology has made music universally available, and people all over the globe can share each other’s music. But like so many other technical breakthroughs, it is a double-edged sword which cuts both ways; we have lost a kind of intimate (and skillful) music-making in exchange for a much more distant one. Like the new technologies we are finding to alleviate the world’s water problems, we have to give up some cherished concepts, in the same way that Gwendolene’s sheet music has been cut up in order to become a sculpture, and look forward thoughtfully and compassionately to what will replace them.





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