It has been a long time since I hiked up to the Cloisters, for a variety of reasons.
What got me to make the hike?..only one of my all time favorite art pieces..Janet Cardiff's 40 Part Motet. When I first encountered this piece at Moma quite a while ago, I was moved to tears, and must have spent close to an hour listening to the piece over and over again. I thought the choral piece had been taken apart and rearranged..but it was just the effect of each of the 40 singers being recorded on a separate track and played on a separate speaker, with all the speakers arranged in an oval. The sound would wash across the room in different ways, creating a very visceral feeling of the piece. You could feel the sound vibrate in the room. The installation at the Cloisters is beautiful, but the sound just isn't the same. I am not sure if the piece is a victim of its own popularity, as the much larger number of people in the room muffled the sound a bit, or the higher ceiling in the somewhat larger space cause the sound to get a little lost at times. It didn't, how shall I say..bounce and ricochet across the space (who knows, maybe what I loved at Moma was an acoustical mistake). Still, I will try to return for a second hearing on a day when it is not so crowded.
Looking out towards my neighborhood and north to the bronx, from the cloisters
on the way home...the hill is inwood hill park, claimed to be the only remaining natural forest in manhattan..