Virga: the Sound Performance
Sound / Music
About This Piece
“Virga: the Sound Performance” was envisioned from a novel approach to some remaining percent-for-art project dollars: “Virga” (the sculpture) was created by Patrick Marold and dedicated in the fall of 2011; a project with a $88,000 budget consisting of over 300 stainless steel tubes suspended in the upper infrastructure of the Delgany Pedestrian Bridge. This subtle installation reflects the changing qualities of sunlight throughout the day and season, which changes in character itself, popping in and out and blending into its environment. Rather than traditionally closing out the project with $3,000 remaining in funds to go towards maintenance, the artist and project manager opted for a more engaging approach – closing the project out with a site-specific performance on a hot June night.
Marold worked closely with intermedia artist Morton Waller to create a composition specifically for the Delgany Pedestrian Bridge in response to Marold’s sculpture “Virga.” Promotion about the event was left quite vague: “The event will begin shortly after sunset, producing a brief interruption of light and sound.” The roughly 200 attendees could not have anticipated being greeted by 12 bagpipers and 2 drummers, performing as silhouettes stationed in front of glaring, vertical lights.
Referencing the daily chromatic transition of the sculpture, “Virga: the Sound Performance” was comprised of harmonics that can only be attained by reaching the space between a sharp and the next note’s flat, perpetually fluctuating in and out of dissonance. The bagpipers played these droning sounds for 10-15 minutes before disappearing into the night from which they emerged. Spectators were then invited to join the artist (Marold), the composer (Waller), and the project manager (Rudi Cerri) for a discussion about the performance and its role in the world of public art.