myein

Interior, Myein
Ann Hamilton
1999
United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

“Around the perimeter of the four interior rooms of the pavilion, a chaos of smokefine fuscia powder fell and accumulated over material and aural texts: Selections from Charles Reznikoff’s project: Testimony: The United States, affixed in Braille to the walls, and from the corners, recordings of Abraham Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address spoken in phonetic code. By insinuating inclusion or exclusion the whispering voice of the recordings subverted the public character of the space, and like the powder, was both pervasively present yet out of reach. Spoken in phonetic code wherein each letter is spelled out as name or thing: Alpha for A, Indigo for I , Bravo for B and so on, the text could be deciphered only by notating in writing each coded letter. Originally delivered near the close of the American Civil War, Lincoln’s address extended a healing hand toward that primary schism in American democracy - the institution of slavery.” (source)

Myein, by Ann Hamilton, was an art installation at the American Pavilion during the 48th Venice Biennale in Italy, in 1999. I was in Florence at the time, studying architecture (at Syracuse University) and we spent a few days in the Veneto region touring and sketching. My photos from that trip have since disappeared, but the image of this project will forever remain vivid in my mind. What you miss in the photo, however, is the movement of the incarnadine red powder down the walls of braille. Poetic and dynamic. It was one of the most memorable art experiences of my life, so I just had to share the photo after reading this article today.

Non credo che le bugie di qualcun altro possano somigliare alle mie.

Non credo nell'arte concettuale e nei rapporti a lungo termine. Nelle previsioni del tempo e nelle promesse d'amore.
Credo nelle canzoni imparate a memoria e nell'interpretazione dei sogni. Nella teoria delle stringhe e nella materia oscura. Credo nel dualismo ontologico e nel materialismo eracliteo.
Credo nella statistica e nella legge dei grandi numeri. Credo nell'entropia e nella teoria del caos. Nel relativismo gnoseologico e nella scienza delle costruzioni.
Non credo nella bibbia ma nelle parole.
Non credo nell'umanità ma credo nell'uomo.
Non credo nel progresso ma nell'evoluzionismo antropologico.                 Credo nell'energia come elemento ordinatore.                                             L'energia governa l'universo, come le azioni dell'uomo.

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“The word myein is an ancient Greek verb meaning "to close the eyes or mouth.” Linked to the initiation rites enacted in medieval cults, the closing of the eyes or mouth refers to the secret status surrounding their rites. Across time, myein has come to stand for that thing which has not been, or cannot be, explained.

Hamilton’s interest in the temple form as an idealized image projected onto civic space led her to engage the neo-classical building of the United States pavilion as both subject and object of the project. It was a meditation on aspects of American social history that, like weather, are present and pervasive in effect but which remain invisible or unspoken. Her self-given task was to make a place in which this absence could be palpably felt and to create a space simultaneously empty and full.

Around the perimeter of the four interior rooms of the pavilion, a chaos of smokefine fuscia powder fell and accumulated over material and aural texts: Selections from Charles Reznikoff’s project: Testimony: The United States, affixed in Braille to the walls, and from the corners, recordings of Abraham Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address spoken in phonetic code. By insinuating inclusion or exclusion the whispering voice of the recordings subverted the public character of the space, and like the powder, was both pervasively present yet out of reach. Spoken in phonetic code wherein each letter is spelled out as name or thing: Alpha for A, Indigo for I , Bravo for B and so on, the text could be deciphered only by notating in writing each coded letter. Originally delivered near the close of the American Civil War, Lincoln’s address extended a healing hand toward that primary schism in American democracy - the institution of slavery.“

- myein, Ann Hamilton, 1999.

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Maeror Tri: “Myein” (Myein, ND 1995)

I picked up Maeror Tri’s oddly-packaged Myein promptly after its release in 1995 after reading a glowing review in an indie mag at the time. This was at the apex of my interest in leftfield noise and industrial fringe music, having dived in headfirst into the world of the Hafler Trio, Throbbing Gristle and company over the previous few years. Myein remains one of the most compelling ambient/experimental albums ever to me.

I backtracked through Maeror Tri’s catalogue after hearing Myein and found some good stuff, of course, but nothing that compares. Stefan Knappe and his bandmates went on to form Troum after this release, and while their music is also quite good, nothing ever struck me in the same way that Myein did. The YouTube poster describes this as “the best 48 minutes of your life,” and on the right day I’m inclined to agree.

Maeror Tri | Myein

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Myein album:

  • Artist - Maeror Tri mp3
  • Album - Myein mp3
  • Year - 2005
  • Genre- Chill Out: Ambient

Tracks:

  • Desiderium
  • Myein
  • Phlogiston

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