« Matt Final Project | Main | artist response AShley Kreidler »

Sable - Arist Response - Abinadi Meza

Abinadi Meza - "Found Voice"

For my artist response, I viewed the “Found Voice� exhibit by Abinadi Meza at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I’m going to include some details here that aren’t necessarily part of the exhibit simply because they enhanced my perception of the piece. Arriving late, I was unable to find the class and instead roamed the museum alone. As I paced through the lit halls, I passed by what I would describe as “museum proctors.� To be perfectly honest, I was a little afraid of them; in giant arched hallways with no noise but my own footsteps, they lurked in the corners without speaking as I passed by them. I need to find some place to escape them and gather myself after an hour of searching. At the far end of one hall, I notice something that throws me off: there is a single room that is completely black. It beckoned almost as if a black hole, so completely unavoidable.

With a bench in the center and no proctors in sight, I sat. The first thing that struck me was the noise. From every direction, the sound seemed to envelope the room. I picked apart laughter, the sound of clothing rumpling, and voices both young and old. It became obvious that the sound wasn’t simply a recording… it was layered and altered in such a way that gave it its own sort of atmosphere. It wasn’t frightening as much as much as interesting… I found myself trying to break it down but eventually failing, instead content to take in the “life� of the sound as a whole. Sitting on the bench, I began to take in the projected video with the sound. I actually felt a little frightened by the video, though I did understand immediately what it was. The video was taken of exhibits in the museum itself, though it was taken in the dark using a flashlight. After watching for about 10 minutes and getting EXTREMELY freaked out by the light on a human statue in the center of a hall (I kept expecting it to suddenly turn around) I was finally able to take in the exhibit as a whole.

“Found Voice� is essentially an appropriation of the entire museum. Meza utilized all the exhibits in the form of a video (it’s almost as if he compiled the museum into a 20 minute movie) and in a sense made the visitors themselves part of the work. By using a digital recording, he sampled the sounds of the various visitors, layered them and replayed them as the audio for the video. When the two are put together the product is reminiscent of a journey through an animal’s stomach; the museum takes on a life in itself. With the only light being a flashlight, you can’t really make out the specific exhibits… in this way it distorts them and makes them a part of a whole.

Abinadi Meza refers to himself as a “Sound/Installation Artist.� His typical media includes sound and video, though never sound or video composed himself. Instead he takes recorded sound and video and melds them together with his own touch (for example in “Found Voice� the layering and architecture of the sound of the museum).

I found the exhibit enthralling. Aside from simply being a “safe haven� from my supposed museum stalkers, Meza’s work forces you to become a part of the “world� he creates. Instead of simply looking at a painting, you are immersed with his ideas. The fact that I felt anything at all from it is to me a sign of how good a job he did at it and how well the idea was conveyed.