Bader's new show is primarily audio. The main gallery space has all four walls covered in speakers, tangled wires, and upon a closer look, is speckled with his scrawled writing, in pencil on the white paint. The immediate noise is indiscernable as anything specific, but overwhelming. That must be the reason for a bowl of candy-colored earplugs on the front desk.
Entering the main room, gallery guests lean closer to each speaker, which plays a different song/sound/soundtrack, relating to the label written beside it. In Bader's 'brief' explanation of the show, he says, "I begin with a theme in mind, and then log in to Google Play or iTunes to find some music. Let's say the theme is: Hitchcock movies."
He goes from there on an audio journey, almost synesthetic in nature, inspired by those movie titles, searching for songs that fit the theme. They must be unrelated to the movie, but as close to the exact words as he is able to find.
If you could take a brainscan and create a soundtrack, that is what you might encounter.
Thus begins your experience with Darren Bader and Forest/Trees.
Immediately, you’re greeted with an overwhelming sound not clearly discernible as each song- is the general sound in the space a song in itself?
I couldn't say.
I think of one of those ancestry trees when I walk through the room— do you think there are tiers in the categories or the flow of themes came more in a linear way?
Great question. It certainly wasn't conceived "arboreally," but I don't have any objections to it being perceived that way.
Is the show set up based on the times that the themes came to you?
Not at all.
Can you explain the title of the show?
You know that saying about the forest and the trees?
Do you see this as insight into your own headspace/ highly personal, or more random with the intention of having the viewer/listeners interpret their own way through?
I'd say the latter, although I can identify my signature all over the place.
Why the 8-year-old cut-off…?
I was thinking that it's around that age that a kid or two or four might find the installation intellectually stimulating, that it might tickle their curiosity. Kind of like when your parents take you to a museum as a kid and you either find it interminably boring or suddenly stimulating. And the noise might damage the ear (I'm not sure), so if a kid is unlikely to take away something meaningful from the show (besides its physical discomforts), no reason to put the kid's ears at risk.