Rainforest V (variation 1) (1973–2015) is a sound installation constructed from everyday objects such as a metal barrel, a vintage computer hard disc, and plastic tubing, which are fitted with sonic transducers and suspended in space to increase their resonance. Each element speaks in its own voice—chirping, croaking, clicking, or ringing—and contributes to a collective polyphony. According to David Tudor, an early pioneer of electronic music and sound installation, the concept for Rainforest was a “dream-vision of an orchestra of loudspeakers, each speaker being as unique as any musical instrument.”
Tudor’s first Rainforest, from 1968, served as the musical score for choreographer Merce Cunningham’s dance of the same name. In 1973, working together with a group of young artists and musicians, Tudor expanded the work from a musical composition to a performance installation titled Rainforest IV. Composer Gordon Mumma described their collective artistic process as “a garden of shared ideas with minimal fences.” The group would later be named Composers Inside Electronics (CIE) (active 1973–present), and to this day includes John Driscoll and Phil Edelstein, among others. Tudor continued to work with CIE on multiple iterations of Rainforest over the next several decades. This last evolution of the work, Rainforest V (variation 1), transforms an installation once activated by performers into a rich visual environment animated by a computer program.
To inaugurate the Studio, MoMA’s dedicated space for live art, CIE will create a new realization of Tudor’s rarely performed Forest Speech (1976) through a collaborative workshop of musicians and artists working across generations and approaches. A performance schedule is forthcoming.
Organized by Ana Janevski, Curator, and Martha Joseph, Assistant Curator, Department of Media and Performance; produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Producer, with Kate Scherer, Manager, Performance and Live Programs.