The Speakers (Voice Box)


The Speakers (Voice Box) from Chris Purdie on Vimeo.

The Speakers (Voice Box)

The point of departure for The Speakers (Voice Box) is found in an art historical dialog between Minimalist art and the criticism of Michael Fried. In this piece I examine the phenomenology of perception as it applied to Minimalist artist Tony Smith’s sculptures—specifically Die, a six foot steel cube. The dimensions of Smith’s Die and mine correspond to those of the human body as depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing, Vitruvian Man. Both Smith and myself are interested in the ways physical objects, as well as our spatial proximity to those objects, shape our self-perception. My work contributes to this focus on self-perception by adding a new dimension—sound. I am using speakers and sound in hopes of further unveiling the anthropomorphism of Minimalist art. I reconstructed Tony Smith’s Die out of black speakers and endowed the anthropomorphic cube with a voice, and by so doing seek to fill the “hollowness” of which Die was convicted by critic Michael Fried.

Michael Fried directed his criticism toward Minimalism or “literalism” as he called it. Fried did not like the “theatricality” or necessity of the viewer and thought that art should stand alone, giving to the viewer rather than taking from them. I considered this criticism and viewed the “hollowness” of Die to be a vacuum and storehouse of human consciousness. In The Speakers (Voice Box) I seek to reverse this process and give back to the viewer the evidence of consciousness collected and stored within Die. This piece thus blurs the line between the so-called “non-art” and “art”, “object” and “essence.” Delivering visual and aural elements simultaneously, this piece, then, will both literally and theoretically delve into the phenomenological essence of man, which I take to be consciousness.

Total: 212 Speakers

This piece was in a two person exhibition titled Admission.

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