Symphony for auto

auto-symphony-main.jpgPhotos and video by Iris Schneider.


Ryoji Ikeda, an electronic and visual artist, added some magic to Sunday night's magic hour when he presented his original composition "A [ For 100 Cars]," a symphony based around A440, the standard tuning note of the Western world, played through the sound systems of 100 automobiles parked on a downtown roof, within sight of City Hall.

As any experienced photographer knows, the magic hour is the time just after sunset when the sky deepens with the colors of twilight just as the city lights come on. So kudos to Ikeda for planning his performance at the perfect time to appreciate not only the sound but the sight he created. Being a Christo fan, I love artists with big ideas who are undaunted by the logistical somersaults needed to pull them off.

I wish I could have been there for the car auditions that were held to determine whose sound systems were good enough to be a part of the piece. The cars ran the gamut from lowriders to vintage and everything in between. With their doors swung open to give their speakers their due, and headlights on, the autos looked like they were ready to take flight.


The performance was presented by Red Bull Music Academy — according to their website, RBMA "is a global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music." Begun in 1998, it now runs events all over the world--events were listed in Italy, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Argentina and the United States--from lectures to concerts, talks, dance events and more.

Nice to add many more notes to the repertoire of car culture in Los Angeles. Now when I hear a honking horn, I will remember the sight and sound of 100 cars humming "A" in unison as the sky goes blue around LA's City Hall.

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