Christian Marclay and Steve Beresford: Call and Response




Seeing and imagining music in a pandemic: a dialogue of found scenes and inspired sounds between two protagonists of experimental music

Known for his ability to locate music and sound in the most unexpected contexts, artist Christian Marclay (born 1955) began photographing the emptied London streets when the world shut down in the spring of 2020. He found the quiet―the absence of all the city sounds―both haunting and peaceful. On his daily walks, he began to imagine that there might be music in the landscape. He snapped a photo of an iron gate adorned with decorative white balls as it reminded him of a musical score. He sent it to his friend, the composer Steve Beresford (born 1950), and asked: “How would this sound on the piano?” Beresford responded a few hours later with a recording. Over the course of the spring, he took more photographs which inspired more music.

This book collects the dialogue between Marclay and Beresford, which could only take place virtually during lockdown. In his introduction, Marclay writes, "I realized that all my pictures were of enclosures: gates, fences, windows, closed stores. A view of the world behind barriers." The correspondence between image, sound and its notation breaks through those barriers, expanding space in magical ways. Call and Response is a testament to how the world at large can be not only reflected in image but translated into sound.

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