In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Pillars (for David Moodey)
  • Robert Ashley (bio)

Created and recorded in October 2007 in New York City at the request of Lines of Sight, Ràdio Web MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art). Engineered by Tom Hamilton.

Well, I guess this is sort of an imaginary piece, I don’t know. Probably as things get more sophisticated, technically, probably somebody will be able to do it in the future, but I don’t think it could be done. It certainly couldn’t be done now without spending an awful lot of money. But I’ve been working with a wonderful lighting designer, named David Moodey. And I imagined a piece that was especially with him in mind.

I guess I should start by just describing the physical situation. I imagine a rather large gallery, flat floor, with maybe a hundred or two hundred very comfortable chairs, with an extraordinary lighting capability. The whole gallery ceiling would be a grid that would hold lights, and I imagine it would take David a couple of weeks to design the piece. What it would basically look like is that in front of the audience there would be two pillars, like Roman pillars, like pillars from antiquity, maybe a foot in diameter, I’m not sure—let’s say each pillar is a foot in diameter and maybe ten feet tall but without any lintels, so it would just be the two pillars in front of the audience.

And basically the piece consists in the lighting designer, let’s say it’s David Moodey, having sort of ten or twelve light plots that bring the two pillars—oh, I should say the two pillars are about, I don’t know, ten feet apart—having a light plot that brings those pillars into three dimensions, so no matter where you’re sitting in the audience you become fascinated by the physical reality of the pillars. So the idea of the piece, the effect of the piece, would be for the lighting designer to change, to switch among those ten or twelve light plots, so that the audience was more and more drawn into the physical nature of the pillars.

Then, over the course of the piece, which might take forty-five minutes to an hour—I wanted it to take a long time. The lighting director, who is calling the plays (cues) to a technician at the lighting board, at a certain point in the piece—let’s say he went through the whole repertory of the ten or twelve light designs—then he could go [End Page 53] through them in a sort of playful, random order. I think that his instruction to the person running the board should be amplified into the space so that the audience is completely aware of what he’s doing. What he’s doing, basically, is going from light plot #12 to light plot #2, and light plot #2 to light plot #8, you know, in that random order. And every time he goes to a different light plot, he pulls down the intensity of the lights so that the lighting of the pillars continues to, what would you say, continues to reinforce the physicality of the pillars, but as the piece gets from, say, a third of the duration to the end, and this would have to be determined by playing it many times. As the description, as the piece goes from the beginning to the end, and as he pulls down the intensity of each light plot. Of course this would have to be designed in advance, I mean I don’t think you could necessarily devise a dozen light plots that were usable in this fashion, it would involve a lot of preparation, probably like many, many, many hours of preparation and thought, by a good lighting engineer like David Moodey. And then it would involve many hours of playing with that instrument.

So that he would reduce the amount of light directed to the pillars ever so gradually until he got to a point where there was virtually no light at all. So that the audience would see those pillars in their imagination in...


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