In Evaporated Music Philip Brophy takes existing video footage and redesigns the soundtrack, replacing the original songs with fabrications, which includes a guttural cinemascape, metal, and bodily sounds. The result is seamless yet unsettling. The works are both commentary on existing cultural forms, and the making of new visceral and intense worlds, emphasizing the transgressive potential of audio-visual energy.
Evaporated Music 1 (2000 – 2004) is a sono-musical portrait of preeminent 90s pop icons (including Elton John, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey). Their high-gloss music videos are streamed in sequence, and their voices muted and replaced by a cinematic sound design made from Brophy’s hollow, brittle and rasping voice. This act sucks out their constructed artifice: drained of performative excess they are reconfigured into something monstrous. In Evaporated Music 2: At The Mouth of Metal (2006 + 2008), video footage of fake TV show bands (including California Dreams, Full House and Saved By the Bell) is rescored with metal, radically altering how the videos are read. Sentimentality and family harmony becoming sites of repressed urges and potential trauma. Evaporated Music 3: Classical Corpus Delecti (2015) takes video footage of professional and amateur string quartets, which were uploaded to social media. The music is now wholly absent. In place is the scuffing of shoes, the rustle of fabric, and the breathing of performers. A minimal pairing back to music’s origins of the body.
Individual instalments and selected excerpts from Evaporated Music have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Lincoln Centre, New York; Foxy Gallery, New York; Torrence Art, Los Angeles; Tokyo Opera City Gallery, Tokyo; Gallery Mu, Eindhoven; Stampa Gallery, Basel; Society for New Music, Frankfurt; Overgaden, Oslo; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Artspace, Sydney; Performance Space, Sydney; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.
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