Sound And Silence: ‘Remembering Sept. 11’ At The Temple Of Dendur. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upper East Side, New York City.
I attended a very special event yesterday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Temple of Dendur. The Temple of Dendur is a temple that was built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 BC and dedicated to Isis, Osiris, as well as two deified sons of a local Nubian chieftain, Pediese (“he whom Isis has given”) and Pihor (“he who belongs to Horus”). The temple was commissioned by Emperor Augustus of Rome and has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1978. Source. It’s a peaceful spot and a room that is partially enclosed by glass which looks out onto Central Park. It’s been one of my favorite rooms in the museum since I was very young.
The event was called Sound And Silence: ‘Remembering Sept. 11’ At The Temple Of Dendur and it featured the world premiere live performance of a piece called The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski who is an avant-garde composer of ambient music via tape music and process music as well as a sound artist, and video artist. William Basinski’s own contextual explanation of the piece is a beautiful piece of writing and well worth checking out. One quote that resonated deeply with me was this one:
"Life and death were being recorded here as a whole — death as simply a part of life, a cosmic change, a transformation. When the disintegration was complete, the body was simply a little strip of clear plastic with a few clinging chords."
You can read the rest of his writing about The Disintegration Loops here: William Basinski on The Disintegration Loops
The entire event proved to be a cleansing and thought provoking experience. Basinski’s piece was particularly moving and has embedded itself in my mind. Over the course of time, the endless loop distorted gradually eventually disintegrating into nearly nothing. At the end of The Disintegration Loops, the entire audience sat in emotionally stunned silence for nearly 5 minutes. It was a striking to hear it live in such an environment as thoughts flowed within the music and outward toward the sky that could be seen from the giant glass walls. In many ways it seemed to provide an interesting closure to a decade defined by a moment that changed many lives here in New York City forever.
The photo in this post is not my photo, it was taken by NPR. However, it is of me (I am the one with red hair!) and a friend of mine I met for the first time yesterday, Jess Barnett and her friend. I have known Jess for years online and it wasn’t until yesterday that we finally met in person. The photo is part of a greater slideshow of the event written about by Anastasis Tsiolcas. You can view the slideshow here: Sound And Silence: ‘Remembering Sept. 11’ At The Temple Of Dendur
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