I can’t recall how I stumbled across Alyce Obvious’s work because it was several years ago now. Every so often I remember to look at her website and inevitably I find something thoughtful, inventive, heartening, and fun to look at. She makes all sorts of works, much of them concerning sound, music and sustainability — e.g., she’s been working with sonic fabric woven from cassette tapes for over ten years — but the easiest kind of art to share in a blog post art show is video art.
This is a listening pillow she made for an art pillow show. The YouTube description says it was “inspired by a patent filed in 1964 for a ‘listening pillow’ . . . designed to facilitate listening to music in stereo while lying on one’s side.” Alyce “updated [this apparatus] considerably to appeal to modern, nature-deprived audiences. The pillow is worn as a headpiece, with the tuft of copper wool serving as a conductor between the ear of the wearer and natural objects.”
This is called “WAVES become MATTER: improvisation for flute and ruben’s tube.” The tube “makes visible the effect of sonic vibration on compressed gas.” I told my friend who plays the drums that she needs one of these but I take it back, I think she’d burn down her rehearsal space.
I love this, this is the sonic fabric factory in action. The fabric is made on an antique loom in a New England textile mill.
This is her latest video. It’s called southern pacific suite: music for train horns: part 4: longing trains. It’s from “projects for prepared ear” and it’s a flute and guitar reconstruction of the two most commonly-heard Amtrak horn chords in Marfa and Alpine, Texas.
If you are excited by the sonic fabric today is your lucky Friday, because right this very moment Alyce has a project you can support at USA Projects. Cough up a bit of cheddar and you can get a swatch of sonic fabric ($10), a flag ($100), a whole yard of the stuff to make what you will or a necktie ($200), and / or assorted other sonic goodies. Don’t dawdle if you’re interested because the deadline for the project is September 8th and that’s SOON.