Gail Wight, Rodentia Chamber Music
Born in 1960, Sunny Valley, Connecticut
Lives in Berkeley, California
Rodentia Chamber Music, 2004
Musical interactive installation performed by mice
Mice, wood, Plexiglas, brass, instrument parts, flat screen monitor, DVD player
Courtesy of the artist. Commissioned by Cornerhouse, Manchester; funded by NESTA, Wellcome Trust, and the Arts Council of England
In this inter-species collaboration, Wight places mice in her specially constructed instruments to play music. As they scurry around or run on their wheels, the mice set off sensors in the instruments, triggering pre-recorded sound segments. One way to think of Rodentia Chamber Music is as a device to generate random or chance results. Conceptually it relates to John Cage’s ideas of introducing chance into the vocabulary of twentieth-century music composition and art making. This kind of intersection between chance and intent is one of the key “edge conditions” of the contemporary human-machine relationship. If mice can compose by chance, what can AARON and DiNA—also in this gallery—do by design?