Ensemble at the ICA Ko Im

WHAT: A medley of instruments guest-curated by Christian Marclay, a leading figure in performance, visual art and avant garde music. Hear a delightful cacophony of wind chimes, then enjoy a quiet reprise of “Moonlight Sonata” from a sixteen 18-note Reuge music box mechanism across the room. Plus, pick up Yoko Ono’s iconic “Telephone Piece.” When the affixed phone rings—moshi moshi—Yoko’s on the other end. Really.

WHERE: It’s one of four new exhibits at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St.

WHEN: Open until Dec. 16. The ICA is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

WHY GO?: “Ensemble” is buzzing with interactivity. You can simply listen to music from synchronized pieces or pick up “instruments” to create your own. Become a curious acoustician and stimulate your eardrums by experiencing art first-hand.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Be prepared to be alarmed—literally. After walking through Mineko Grimer’s giant hanging -“Bamboo Forest,” a hand-dryer mounted to the wall blows you away. David Ellis’ unusual piece, “Trash Talk,” creates sound from items one would normally throw out, including garbage bags and hardware. This audio playground is full of surprises—especially when you’re in the exhibit alone. We were especially startled by the not-so-randomly sequenced noises.

SOUND PERKS: There will be related performances to further your sound experience in “The Accompanists” performance series. On Oct. 10, enjoy electronic musician and composer Aki Onda’s “reading” from his musical diary, compiled from field recordings from the past decade, and visual artist Mika Tajima’s performance the following Wednesday. Both performances start at 5:30 p.m. The series also includes shows by sound and video installation artist Alan Licht on Nov. 28 and composer and turntabilist Marina Rosenfeld on Dec. 5.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Complete exhibit and performance details are available through the ICA website, www.icaphila.org/exhibitions/ensemble.php.

Originally published on October 4, 2007