A museum on the Austrian shore of Lake Constance invites a Scottish sound artist to create a new work. The project she conceives of involves making recordings of five different instruments performing passages from the soundtrack to an early Holocaust documentary. On each of the museum’s four floors, a single instrument can be heard: a bass clarinet on the ground floor, a clarinet on the first floor, a horn on the third and a violin on the fourth. The music is played through 12 speakers on each floor, with each speaker dedicated to a different note. (It’s only on the stairways between floors that visitors can hear more than a single instrument at a time.) The number of speakers alludes to the composer’s early career as an exponent of the 12-tone system. Also on the artist’s mind is the title of the documentary, Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog), and the fact that the lakeshore area where the museum is located is frequently blanketed by fog. The fifth instrument, a flute, is heard, once again through 12 speakers, on the site of a nearby Jewish cemetery.
(Susan Philipsz, Hanns Eisler, Alain Resnais)