Tarmac gets a catchy pop tune with a strong hook. Its twisted blue arms, made up of several lighted LED "nodes," extend downward to form a headphone-like structure that plays a song about Aschheim's first computer password. A more ambient soundscape is created in Redundant, whose repeating curved form extends down from the ceiling — again in blue, again animated with LEDs — and transmits a multilayered recording in which the word redundant is repeated.

Allowing other people to interpret her words — and responding in turn to their new auditory renderings by creating a physical structure — has changed the words' meanings for the artist, and has also altered the scope of the project.

"The project has become much more poetic and more of a discussion about things than a literal 'this is what we need to do [to back up Aschheim's memory],'" says Mezzacappa, who was on hand last week sculpting the exhibition's sound.

Deborah Aschheim and Neural Architecture.
Mike Venso/Laumeier Sculpture Park
Deborah Aschheim and Neural Architecture.


Deborah Aschheim: Reconsider
Opens February 9 (reception 5-7 p.m.) and runs through May 11 at Laumeier Sculpture Park Museum Galleries
12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-821-1209 (www.laumeiersculpturepark.org).
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Tue.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Many of the sculptures play portions of their songs through different speakers that come to life only as the song progresses, altering the song — and even the room — as they progress.

"It's coming from this idea in jazz and improvisational music of repetition with a difference," says Mezzacappa. "It's this idea where something is repeating itself, but each time you have to rethink what you thought it was."

Not, Aschheim adds, unlike memory.

The show's most ambitious piece is Node, a huge suspended sculpture whose combination of tubes, funnels, LEDs and sixteen separate speakers are devoted to playing a one-minute sound piece. Starting from the outer speakers, Node's abstract sound moves toward the sculpture's center, where it begins to distort as it crescendos. The sculpture commands the largest room in the gallery, and, like the other pieces in the show, will play its song only intermittently, allowing viewers to discover it anew as it comes to life.

"We really tried to balance the whole room so that people could really walk around and discover all the parts of the sound instead of just this flat thing," says Aschheim. "It's not the most cost-effective or efficient way to listen to sound, but there's something in the gesture. I don't really make things that have a comfortable relationship to the market. And this is hard to prioritize: The real estate of this room, and it holds this transient experience. Here you have the main gallery in the show devoted to this sculpture that plays a one-minute song."

Then the clock turned 3:22. Aschheim's beeper buzzed. Time to log another moment.

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