Jeff Talman is an acclaimed sound artist whose new “reflexive resonance” work is made for MARC STRAUS. His installations are often based in spatial or object-oriented resonance, i.e. tones extracted from spaces or things. He isolates ambient sounds and highlights their nuances to create sublime installations that conjure thoughts of the elements at the dawn of time and theoretical technology years from being realized.
This piece, Silicaphonics-14, originates from various conditions of the element silicon including sand, solid and molten glass—as captured on video at a luminous 2,400º F—and as electronics in the silicon chips that make computing possible. Silicon is further portrayed by a sound field developed from the resonant sounds of a suspended form that also serves as the surface to recieve video images.
Video projected downward onto the forms features the perpetual revolving of molten glass that offers a unique color cycle from white hot to oranges, yellows and reds as the spinning glass cools. Video spills past the edges of the glass forms to create halos of light on the sands below, a visual echo of the materials and the processes involved. Beyond a reverie on the elemental, Silicaphonics-14 engages transformations of matter in a material across millennia.
Talman works with the resonant frequencies extracted from the glass forms to create subtle patterns and shapes both in tone and space. Timbral shifts in the background ambience gently underscore the mesmerizing video as they lushly fill in the spatial volume of the gallery. The outcome is a pure sound painting yet with a dimensional form provided by the interaction of the sound field and gallery. In the end Talman succeeds beautifully, aurally illuminating a world that is not easily accessible but is in the fabric of our existence.
Talman was born in 1954 in Pennsylvania and lives and works in New York City. He studied and then taught piano, music composition, chamber and orchestral music and visual arts and then taught at CCNY and Columbia. Talman has realized sound installations around the globe, including Cathedral Square in Cologne, St. James Cathedral in Chicago, Eyebeam, the MIT Media Lab, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, The Kitchen, and deep inside the Bavarian Forest. He is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a NYFA Fellowship in Computer Art, Yaddo, and Künstlerhaus Krems. In 2014 Talman will mount Moments from the Sun at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX in collaboration with NASA astrophysicist Dr. Daniel Huber.