Reunion: Chess

Exhibition Website

Mar 10 2017 - Jun 25 2017

Bill Sack's Reunion is based on John Cage's Reunion, first performed in 1968. As a game of chess was played on a chessboard created by Lowell Cross, the players' moves on the board activated four compositions and distributed them to eight speakers surrounding the audience with live performances of compositions by Gordon Mumma, Lowell Cross, David Behrman, and David Tudor. 

In the spirit of Cage, new music was commissioned to include works by Jacob Carpenter Morris; excerpts from Train Tracks and Harpsichord Remix (2013) by Marc Thorman; and Please, Wait (2013) by Lynn Wright for Sack’s version of Reunion: Chess (2013); Cage’s composition Chess Pieces (1943) originally created for The Imagery of Chess exhibition organized by Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Julien Levy at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York (194445) unites the new version with the old.

Sack’s realization uses four chess sets lit from above and constructed of glass, steel and ceramic at the College of Ceramics at Alfred University. 256 Photoresistive sensor cells will activate an analog signal which will be converted to digital audio waves into a receiver that will decode the material and trigger audio and visual information to be distributed to eight channels of sound and two video projectors. Sack will use musical materials by the original Reunion composers as well as materials by Western New York composers and video artists.

Sack is a composer, performer and teacher based in Buffalo. In 2008, he received the Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University at Buffalo, where his principal teachers were Jeffrey Stadelman and Cort Lippe. His interests include mechanical models of music making, automated composition, and nonidiomatic free improvisation. Past exhibitions include 2010's Beyond/In Western New York: Alternating Currents, and a 2012 oneperson show at the University of New Haven's Seton Gallery. He teaches music production and physical computing in the Digital Media Arts program at Canisius College in Buffalo.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

  • Multi-media / Digital / Video
  • Contemporary
  • Bill Sack
  • John Cage

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