“Salt Wood Salt Wire Salt Salt” is a new three-part composition written and performed by Jace Clayton, visiting artist at the Harvard Art Museums. The composition serves as a companion piece to the installation “Jace Clayton, The Great Salt,” on view in the Lightbox Gallery at the Harvard Art Museums between October 30, 2018–February 4, 2019. Written expressly for—and performed with—the new music ensemble Bent Duo (David Friend, piano; Bill Solomon, percussion) and featuring Clayton’s live electronics, “Salt Wood Salt Wire Salt Salt” explores the structural themes of “The Great Salt” installation: 17th-century British classical song form, West African thumb-piano polyrhythms, granular synthesis, and playful interactivity.
Museums freeze time. Music melts it. Clayton’s work flows between these binaries—moving from oceanic abstractions to pointillistic melody patterns—with surprises lurking throughout. The composition is tailored for Bent Duo’s singular ability to unite world-class musicianship with a forward-thinking approach to contemporary performance. As salt both preserves and corrodes, so this pair of works by Clayton situates itself in issues of historicity and nonlinear time—not as metaphor but as an active museum intervention quite literally regulated by the intermodulation of clocks (and the audience), and as a through-composed score that contains rules for its own alteration.
Support for the program is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities. In addition, modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.
For more information about the installation “Jace Clayton, The Great Salt,” please visit harvardartmuseums.org/visit/exhibitions/5790/jace-clayton-the-great-salt.
Performance: Thursday, December 6, 2018, Adolphus Busch Hall, Harvard Art Museums.