The Guggenheim invites artists, philosophers, musicians, and curators to spend an evening contemplating the sound and silence of the city at stillspotting ( ) nyc: finale
Last Tuesday, October 9, was one of those impossible days on the subway: train after train screeched to a momentary standstill, doors opening to reveal cars crammed with people, faces flushed, bags clutched to their chests. After the third packed 6 train pulled away from the platform, I gave up and climbed the stairs to the street to hail a cab uptown.
When I entered the Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, I was greeted not with the silence and stillness I expected, but with a cacophony. Rhythmic drones, whirs, clucks, and shrieks swelled in the space, increasing in pitch, volume, and tempo. As guests trickled in to fill every seat in the living room-like theater, I closed my eyes and tried to distinguish each layer of the riot, to peel the organic from the mechanical sounds, until I felt dizzy from the sonic overload. The sound—the work of Brooklyn-based composer Sergei Tcherepnin—eventually receded, leaving the audience to their own quiet murmuring.