Allora & Calzadilla Test Interspecies Communication

Is music the Esperanto of all beings?

We have become accustomed to highly inventive pieces from Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. In 2011, as US reps at the 2011 Venice Biennale, Allora & Calzadilla worked with Olympic medalists in gymnastics and track and field to create works that mashed up performance, sound, sculpture, and video. Now they have followed up on that honor with a fiendishly complex and compelling new show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that takes apart Enlightenment ideals of how music—and humans—can communicate.

Christian Viveros-Fauné initially took “Intervals” to be stuffy and overly intellectual, but he was eventually convinced to agree with Blake Gopnik that its baroque complexity and perceptual panache was winning. Viveros-Fauné was particularly taken with the artists’ rearrangement of Haydn’s late 18th-century oratorio The Creation, a portion of which 12 choir singers sing backwards (like a tape in reverse)—while walking backwards.

“Intervals” spans two venues: the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fabric Workshop (see Mr. Gopnik’s article “Allora & Calzadilla’s Stone-Age Performance“). The exhibition runs at both locations through April 5.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics