In 2014, LAXART relocated to a building that for several decades was home to Radio Recorders, a legendary recording studio used by a Who’s Who of American popular music. Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Charlie Parker, and Chet Baker, to name a few, made seminal recordings here, and the building will forever be haunted by their iconic recordings. These sounds are a but a mere trace of their author’s physical presence. Outside/In is the first in a series of exhibitions to address the site’s inexhaustible legacy.
Outside/In features two monumental components, one auditory, the other visual. Chicago-based artist Karen Reimer’s quilted canopy of hand dyed indigo fabric that will cover the entire ceiling area of the gallery. Phil Peters’ sound installation utilizing six custom subwoofers plays recordings he made by burying microphones at drilling and fracking sites in west Texas. “Between the devil and the deep blue sky” best sums up the relationship between these components, Reimer’s being a radical reconfiguration of an existing work and Peters’ being a new production.
Outside/In doubles as an occasion to survey contemporary sound-based art having field recordings at its base. As an inaugural gesture, Outside/In will reverse Radio Recorders' role as a studio. Instead of producing, documenting and ultimately distributing sounds produced on site, this exhibition, as its title suggests, will bring sounds from the outside in. Toward that end, Outside/In will consist of three evenings of deep listening devoted to experimental field recordings. These listening sessions, which will at times feature live musical accompaniment, will take place over the course of the exhibition.