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OPTICAL SOUND

A standout musical event under the musical directorship of György Kurtág, jr., featuring works by Liget, Eötvös, Pongrácz and other Hungarian composers of the 1960s and '70s.

In conjunction with Moholy-Nagy: Future Present (May 27 – Sept 7, 2016) on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and in response to what Moholy-Nagy refers to as an “opto- acoustic alphabet,” Optical Sound seeks to highlight the intermix between modulated sound and light. Moholy-Nagy approached the promise of technology as a radical means of restoring perceptibility in an era marked by the anesthetization of the senses, seeking to enliven and awaken the biocentric capacities of modern humanity.

Through a utopian integration of art and technology Moholy-Nagy’s writing and work anticipated concepts of “expanded cinema” and immersive tactile media environments well beyond his death in 1946. This laboratory environment is precisely what was subsequently developed by the experimental electroacoustic sound studio of the Hungarian Radio in Budapest where composers produced many rare and innovative works of electronic music in the 1970s. The “Magyar” electronic music scene (1968-1979) featured a number of fascinating, yet largely under-recognized works by Hungarian composers Zoltán Pongrácz, Peter Eötvös, Iván Patachich, Máté Victor and Péter Winckler. Guest curated by media artists and composers Zach Layton and R. Luke Dubois, the Guggenheim proposes a large scale multichannel sound projection of these works in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum alongside more well-known pieces of Hungarian electronic music such as the classic work Artikulation by György Ligeti. Electronic music artist, arranger, composer and acoustics scholar Gyorgy Kurtag Jr. orchestrates the sound spatialization of this musical landscape.

Sponsored by the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight 60th Anniversary Memorial Board.

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