5th Wall Gallery’s Grand opening
Sonic Trichromacy Live Performance at 5th Wall Gallery
Daniel Steffey’s opening reception for Sonic Trichromacy in the 5th Wall Gallery featured a one-night-only performance with special guest, Christina Stanley.
Writing about Sonic Trichromacy by Jenessa Kenway for Las Vegas City Life
THE ART OF NOISE
Static and squeaks, things usually avoided in music, are written into the musical score by sound installation artist and composer Daniel Steffey. The Nov. 11 grand opening of 5th Wall Gallery, in Emergency Arts, featured a live performance by Steffey and Bay Area violinist Christina Stanley for the sound installation Sonic Trichromacy.
Eyes closed, Stanley rubbed and plucked the strings, producing sounds from delicate hums to aggressive rising chords. Steffey tweaked a synthesizer, producing vibrations and static, creating syncopated rhythms like the blades of helicopters — thrumming punctuated by piercing stringed notes. Together, it was like a duet between video arcade and classical concert hall.
In the gallery, a series of recording devices, from a mini-tape cassette player to an old-school reel-to-reel tape deck, produce a droning, cacophonous symphony, each unit contributing to the score. Such objects as a tear-gas canister, a cassette tape and a punch card have been painted in a muddy mixture of red, green and blue, playing off the concept of digitally rendered color and trichromacy — the normal ability to see colors. Translating mundane objects by assigning musical values to the colors painted on them connects the installation with the Dadaist and anti-bourgeois, nonconformist sentiments found in early sound poetry and performance. Works like a broken record titled “Free Speech” further the Dadaist concerns, and where words fall short, the exhibit conveys with pure sound the angst surrounding current social and economic struggles.