Single-channel audio installation with wallboard construction;
corridor: 792 x 15 inches; two triangular rooms: 132 x 216 inches and 108 x 264 inches; height matches height of ceiling
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Bruce Nauman's False Silence is a wallboard construction consisting of a corridor flanked by triangular rooms of different sizes. A voice emanates from the end of the corridor opposite the entrance.
The wallboard components are constructed from blueprints, and so the artist must confirm
any site-variable aspects of the installation. The primary vulnerability of this piece is its
reproducible medium: the analog audiocassette Nauman originally recorded for the work's
Preservation issues to explore include:
What are the best conditions for storing the original analog
audiocassette? What techniques should be applied to restore
Should defects inherent in the original recording—poor sound
dynamics or background tone—be preserved in future versions
of the tape?
Should the original analog recording be migrated to an updated
source, such as Digital Audio Tape (DAT) or Compact Disc?
Should any defects inherent in the original recording--such as
poor sound dynamics or a background tone--be cleaned up in
future versions of the tape?
Under what conditions could the original tape be re-recorded?
Could it be re-recorded by another speaker, and if so who
chooses an acceptable narrator?
Should dedicated equipment, such as an audio deck or
speakers, be stored for future use?
in future re-creations of the work, should the appearance of
speakers or other visible audio equipment be maintained?
Should the speakers and other audio equipment be updated to
state-of-the-art technology? Are all resulting changes, such as
a cleaner sound, acceptable?
Can the audio be delivered to listeners by a completely different
means than the traditional audio setup (e.g., a live reading)?
Should any hardware from the original corridor be stored for
Should the exact size and appearance of the original corridor be
re-created with each future installation?
Should the size and appearance of the original corridor be
re-scaled to fit each new exhibition context?
Is the size and appearance of the corridor meant to vary
according to subjective criteria determined by the artist?