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Composed of thirty-two sculptures, utilitarian containers, and decorative objects from the Museum's collection, Vessel Orchestra will be the first sound-based installation commissioned by The Met. British artist Oliver Beer (born 1985) uses microphones and speakers to amplify and shape the ambient tones resonating within each vessel, transforming them into an arresting and unexpectedly versatile musical instrument. With objects ranging in origin from ancient Persia to modern America, this exhibition will link works of art across historical periods and cultures, creating an audible portrait of The Met collection.
Drawing on his musical training, Beer creates artworks that reveal the hidden properties of objects, bodies, and architectural sites. His social and familial relationships often become the blueprint for multidisciplinary works that engage with both intimate and universal concerns, such as the personal and cultural meanings invested in the things we possess.
During Museum hours, a pre-programmed audio interface will play a new composition written by Beer, animating the vessels in real time—"player-piano style." On Friday evenings, a diverse group of guest musicians will activate the vessels, performing new compositions and improvisations in a series of intimate concerts. Performers include: Ekmeles, Bruce Brubaker, Mashrou Leila, Nico Muhly, Matana Roberts, Women's Raga Massive, and John Zorn.