Nocturnes

Inspired by the idea that energy can only be changed, not created or destroyed, this series is a record of the transformation of the musical energy trapped in discarded compact discs into visual art.

Music recordings and photographs are both approximations of what they represent. In a photograph, a fraction of time, careful composition, and fiddling with color are understood to differentiate the image from the subject. Recorded music is similarly different from live music as it is made in controlled environments, offers multiple chances to get it right, and can be enhanced to meet the artists’ aesthetic. A live performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is as different to its recording as standing under Yosemite’s Half Dome is to seeing Ansel Adams’s famous photograph. Adams even commented on the connection between the two art forms when he said that his negative was the score and the print was the performance.

Even though each disc appears physically the same, the light released when they are exposed to microwaves is unique to each disc. This reflects the properties of each, which in theory reflects the “energy” of the music, and possibly even the energy of the previous owners, made manifest by the fingerprints and scratches left behind. One Amy Grant disc burns like a beacon, while another sputters limply. Perhaps the dissonant energy of Sonic Youth can’t help but explode out of the disc, reborn in visual form with electricity, fire, and smoke. The only certainty is there is no way to predict the outcome, much as there is no way to predict how intensely a score will be played by any given musician.