Robert Wilson's Watermill Center Residency


I am currently in New York state at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center. I am here with The Degenerate Art Ensemble for a couple weeks working super intensely. This place is like nowhere else I have ever been. It is like an insanely well curated art museum where you are actually able to touch and interact with the art. Everything is a piece of art here, from the chairs we sit on, to the bowls we eat out of (they have catalog numbers written on the bottoms!) There are modern art pieces as well as little pop art things that have no real "value". It is exciting to see some of these priceless pieces of art along side things that still have artistic merit, but are readily available in stores or found on the side of a road. It reminds you to look for art in everything! There is a fantastic library here too with rare and out of print art books. One of the most exciting things I have done here is record a library of samples of 29 of the ancient pots that are on shelves around the building. Some of these pots date back to as early as 2000 BC. I would pick up a pot(extremely carefully!) and find the resonant frequency of the pot by singing into it and then record it. I then put each pot onto a different key of my midi keyboard so every note corresponds with a different pot. I did not change any of the natural pitches of the pots and left the tuning to be decided by the pots themselves. Here is the first little piece I made to demonstrate.

Singing Pots Study 1 by Jherek Bischoff

It was truly amazing to sing into these ancient pots. It is crazy to imagine that some of these 4000 year old pots may have never been sung into, and I feel super lucky to be in a place that not only has these in their collection, but also embrace and trust artists to interact with them in their own way. How much more generous could you ever be! Thank you Robert Wilson! Looking forward to writing some music with these!