“Playing” the Resnick Pavilion

By now you may have seen the video making the rounds of Ben Meyers, a freshman at Berklee College of Music, “playing” the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion.

Ben came to LACMA for three days in August to turn the new Resnick Pavilion into his personal percussion instrument. It all came about when we saw Ben’s earlier piece, Empty School via Boing Boing.

At our invitation, Ben zipped over to LACMA from the east coast (where he was spending his summer vacation after graduating high school) to spend a few days capturing sound and image. He arrived with sheet music sticking out of his backpack—a composition he put together on the plane. Then he got to work, seeking out resonant surfaces on and around the Pavilion.

The video looks so smooth, you’d think the world stopped while Ben was recording, except for that lone security guard seen headed up the BCAM stairs in the background. In fact, Ben managed to capture the recording in between some major construction activity. We had huge drills digging the foundation for the new restaurant and ticket booth nearby, and plenty more noise in and around the Pavilion.

And of course, it was hard to convince people who stumbled across Ben in process that he really did have permission to bang on the new building. Nevertheless, Ben managed to make the travertine tiles, signature red air ducts, steel signage, and Robert Irwin palm trees sing.

LACMA had no hand in the production, beyond the invitation to Ben to participate and a little help with travel arrangements and logistics. He composed the music, shot the video, recorded the sound, mixed, arranged, and produced the video himself.

The project is part of an ongoing series of commissions intended for lacma.org. Our intention is to use the web and social media to provide a place for artists, writers and musicians to create media-based projects that respond to the art and architecture at LACMA.  Watch this space in the coming months for new projects by Bari Ziperstein, Steven Roden, Marisela Norte and others.

If Ben’s video has you humming a tune, hang onto that melody! This weekend, artist Michael Trigilio is creating an interactive sound piece designed to be heard at LACMA, in the vicinity of the Resnick Pavilion. You’ll be able to download or stream a sound work created by Michael, listen on site, and then call 1-888-361-4NPR to contribute your own voice. Visitor interactions will be folded into the sound piece over the course of a few weeks in an ongoing podcast called The Resonant Pavilion.

Bonus: we’re free this Saturday and Sunday, so come on by and be a part of this work of art. (You might want to reserve your tickets in advance.)

Watch this blog for more details on Friday.

Amy Heibel

2 Responses to “Playing” the Resnick Pavilion

  1. jill frank says:

    tuneful building music made! thanks for sharing via Twitter

  2. Anonymous says:

    terrific! Ben you are very talented and I really enjoyed this

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