Charles Long and Stereolab: The Amorphous Body Study Center
Feb 25 – Mar 25, 1995
The Sculptural work of Charles Long has been a preoccupation with mass and form that operates as a stand in for the concept of self. The works are often executed in rubber or plastic which enables the forms to take on a biological familiarity without ever specifically identifying itself. They become psychological models for the in between states of being, exploring concepts of wholeness and attachment. The present project is a collaboration with the band Stereolab and will be a further development of these ideas. The sculptures are amorphous bodies that will be employed as distributors for the audio works created by the band. As with his previous works there is a stylistic uncertainty in the work evoking forgotten pop styles as well as the sci-‐fi distortions of contemporary film effects.
Charles Long has been working and exhibiting in New York since 1981 and has had several solo shows in Los Angeles at Daniel Weinberg gallery. He has recently received awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1991 Tim Gane met up with vocalist Laetitia Sadier and the two commenced a prodigious outpouring of Stereolab singles on their own Duophonic label. The albums, Switched On, Peng, and Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (released on the Too Pure label) followed soon thereafter. Stereolab made their Elektra debut in 1993 with their almost universally lauded Transient Random-‐Noise Bursts With Announcements which made many major critics' best-‐of-‐year-‐end-‐lists.
Stereolab's deeply-‐held political convictions are always just beneath the surface of their sonic beauty. That sweet, spacey lilt you hear on Mars Audiac Quintet might be entitled "Nihilist Assault Group." "L'Enfer Des Formes" high-‐powered synth pulse mixes with French lyrics that translate into "Like a bunch of naive young girls, we're just letting ourselves be done in by the head of the country...' explains Sadier. "It's inspired by everything that I see, the basic cowardice because we all know that we live through a system that dosen't work-‐-‐it excludes people, pollutes the atmosphere. And no one seems to admit it".
From the ominous wah-‐wah of "Wow and Flutter" to the TV-‐soundtrack prettiness and sarcasm of "The Stars Our Destination," to Des Etoiles Electroniques" Edith-‐Piaf-‐ on-‐the-‐ Internet mystique, Mars Audiac Quintet makes the most unlikely opposites attract. "Ping Pong" juxtaposes images of ceral-‐commercial happiness and real-‐life violence: "Irony is the way of making people think, at least question, what's going on?" says Sadier, "Also it's very pop-‐-‐I like the extremeness of that."
Stereolab has creating several audio works specifically to be distributed through a network of sculptural bodies made by Charles Long and listened to by plugging headphones into the sculptures. The autonomy of the artists is respected and their works are not actually determined by each other. Rather this is about the intersection of two different kinds of formal expression, one aural, one corporeal. It is about an expanding gap between mind and body. It is also about making visible the links that connect us to one another and about the future of the public body. like the extremeness of that."