Off The Wall III


Alan Rath’s work tends towards a simultaneously playful and erotic sensibility, often combining traditionally sexual imagery with electronic or robotic installations. His 1995 work, “Off The Wall III,” which “consists of silently pulsating speaker cones suspended from the ceiling by wires to create the appearance of a living, breathing organism–an electronic jungle controlled by an unseen intelligence [1].” A graduate of MIT, Rath is well aware of the subtle implications of his work, and says of a separate piece (Thumper V), “I want to make them look like they’re alive. It’s a compliment if people find it to be sexual. That’s a pretty interesting leap to make from a stack of aluminum and electronic parts [2].” The idea that a simple piece of machinery could be construed in such an organic context is a common theme in Rath’s work, and often the subtle movement of the piece– such as the constant pulsing of “Off The Wall III,” might elude a casual viewer who does not linger in their observation. Indeed, even the movement of the speakers themselves is not dissimilar to how a speaker playing music at full volume would react, but the rhythm of the piece itself, namely different wave forms that eventually decay over time, is designed to give it the appearance of life, or a simulation thereof.

Artist website

Off The Wall

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