House Music

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Artist Oliver Laric is a master of the mash-up. His 787 Cliparts (2006) video displayed a virtuosic knack for bringing new form to sampled material, and his 50/50 (2007) (which is included in the Rhizome-curated New Museum exhibition Montage: Unmonumental Online) brought a new sense of harmony to fifty found videos of YouTube users singing along to the music of rapper 50 Cent. His newest project bears the demonstrative title, Songs Translated to Buildings and once again merges two simple concepts (the playlist and creative outsourcing) to produce a work of deeper import. In this case, Laric sent three popular songs about houses to an unnamed "architecture firm in Chennai/India," where workers interpreted the lyrics and created corresponding 3d models. The project's website displays the illustrations, alongside MP3 files for "House Where Nobody Lives" by Tom Waits (1999); "Our House" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970); and "House With No Door" by Van Der Graaf Generator (1970), respectively. The gesture of calling this process a translation highlights the cross-cultural exchange that took place in these transactions, while also inviting the viewer to consider the word/image relationships brokered in each of the songs. The highly-detailed, appropriately subjective models are ultimately as emotive as the tunes that inspired them and one only wishes Laric will expand his playlist, in the future. - Marisa Olson

Image: Oliver Laric, Songs Translated to Buildings, 2008