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The River Cycle

Susan Philipsz (Scottish, born 1965). Installation view from The River Cycle, 2012. Six-channel sound installation, edition: 1/3, running time: 7 minutes, 50 seconds. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Albert H. Tracy Fund, by exchange, Gift of the Winfield Foundation, by exchange, Fellows for Life Fund, by exchange, Philip J. Wickser Fund, by exchange and Harold M. Esty, Jr. Fund, 2012 (2012:15). © Susan Philipsz.

© Susan Philipsz

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Susan Philipsz

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Susan Philipsz

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Susan Philipsz

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Susan Philipsz

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Susan Philipsz

Scottish, born 1965

The River Cycle, 2012

six-channel sound installation

Edition: 1/3

running time: 7 minutes, 50 seconds

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Albert H. Tracy Fund, by exchange, Gift of the Winfield Foundation, by exchange, Fellows for Life Fund, by exchange, Philip J. Wickser Fund, by exchange and Harold M. Esty, Jr. Fund, 2012

2012:15

Currently On View

More Details

Provenance

commissioned from the artist, through her dealer, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2012

Class

Sound art

Work Type

Sound installation

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Susan Philipsz's sound installation The River Cycle is based on the character Anna Livia Plurabelle in James Joyce’s 1939 novel Finnegans Wake. A colorful figure, she represents rivers in general and the River Liffey specifically; her middle name phonetically riffs on “Liffey,” and her first name is derived from the Irish word for “river.” In 1929, Joyce was recorded reading an excerpt from the chapter “Anna Livia Plurabelle”—a passage that is particularly lyrical, full of alliteration and onomatopoeia—and this recording was subsequently reinterpreted as a musical score by Hazel Felman. For The River Cycle, Philipsz recorded each note of Felman’s score separately and then played the recordings through a sound system specially designed for the Albright-Knox’s Auditorium.

In Finnegans Wake, Joyce describes a leaf falling into the Liffey, and the journey it makes downstream. The trees surrounding the Auditorium’s glass walls, and the lake in the distance, provide a fitting panoramic visual backdrop against which we can interpret Philipsz’s work

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