In Tony Oursler’s Talking Light, an incandescent light bulb hangs from the ceiling of the Tang Museum’s elevator; its intermittent flickering correlates to the sounds of the artist’s voice emanating from a hidden speaker. Oursler, speaking in a whisper, narrates an eerie, poetic monologue.
This work is one of several “talking lights” made by Oursler in the 1990s. These works developed out of the artist’s interest in simple materials, which he employs for their ability to disappear enough to allow viewers to conjure up things which are not there. This idea is linked to Oursler’s interest in supernatural phenomena and technology, in particular, technology’s ability to manifest human-like qualities. The connection between light and sound in Talking Light generate an anthropomorphic environment that lives and breathes as we are simultaneously transported from one floor to the next.
From the exhibition: Elevator Music 34 Tony Oursler: Talking Light (September 2, 2017 – January 7, 2018)