The 2004 Sons et Lumiere exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris displayed many works by artists and musicians I’d admired from a distance for a long time. The grainy hypnogenesis of Brion Gysin’s “Dream Machine” along side Harry Smith’s jazz fantasias and Luigi Russolo’s jabbering autonoma was synaesthesiac bliss for a precocious oik such as I. But the work that sticks most in the memory is a reconstruction of the “Dream House” by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela.
Stepping into a sparsely upholstered room bathed in a deep magenta light, some subsonic sine tone was causing every atom to quake at a frequency you couldn’t so much hear audibly as be left to wonder why your nose had started bleeding. The “Dream House” was a continuation of Young and Zazeela’s experiments with works of epic duration played at synapse-pummeling pitches that would infect the whole body. The longer you occupied the “Dream House”, the more it induced a wholly transformative neurological and physiological effect that transcended any mere art event and coaxed you into realms of pure sensory enema. Any slight tilt of the head would recondition the pitch so as to envelop the listener in a subtly different way. This created an immersive environment that assiduously permeated your very skeleton until you became a tuning fork for the room- hallucinating voices that emerged from the chemical wedding of deep, deep bass and all pervading purple light.