David Tudor’s Rainforest V

IMG_5800-cut1One experience from my recent New York trip┬áhasn’t made it into here yet. MoMA was exhibiting David Tudor’s installation, Rainforest V (variation 1).

Rainforest is a sound installation that’s very tourist-friendly. Conceived in 1968 and re-imagined many times since, it’s an abstract jungle of shapes and industrial artifacts suspended at different heights and adorned with speakers emitting chirps and splashes and gentle roars. Much of the installation is built of wood or metal, the idea being that the materials’ resonant qualities contribute to the sound, especially when you put your ear up to a plank or stick your head in an oil drum.

This MoMA page has a virtual rendition of Rainforest V, complete with audio. It works in a browser and can apparently be played on a VR device as well. It’s nice to experience in solitude, but it was also worthwhile to be there, with other people making their own discoveries.

The bad news is that it closed on Jan. 5, so you can’t go see it there. But it’s a traveling exhibit, so maybe it will come to a town near you.