The Museum of Rhythm at Taipei Biennial 2012


“Are there not alternatives to memory and forgetting: periods where the past returns – and periods where the past effaces itself? Perhaps such an alternative would be the rhythm of history…”
– Henri Lefebvre1

The imaginative potential of telling time may no longer lie in minor dissections of petrified chronicles, but in reconsidering the entirety of time as a sensual complex. In order to depart from a frozen periodization of pasts and an overestimation of contemporary sociopolitical upheavals this semi-fictional museum will address the rhythm of history.

Museum of Rhythm sets forth a gestural itinerary that includes the early life of metronomes, a dog whistle, a satellite image of “White Lines in The Gobi Desert”, Parisian street calls, the invention of a swimming stroke, Frank B. Gilbreth’s motion studies, an indigenous song tradition composed to radio static, Simone Forti dancing the news, a Laurel and Hardy classic set to a “nervous” throbbing2, Theosophist aura diagrams, Hanne Darboven’s encryptions of deep self-time, an aural archive that surveys the politics of listening, 19th century photographs of an indigo factory in colonial India, “Sonakinatography drawings” of Channa Horwitz and much else, to build fictive bridges as well as vital frictions between aesthetic proposals, material histories and scientific documents.

As a potential knowledge field, rhythmanalysis has been referenced in philosophy, literature and the social sciences, yet remained marginal within investigations of historical time. Here, acts of rhythmological study are carried out within a museal frame to re-read volatile aspects of temporality – its abrasions, interstices, accidental coherences and reversals. Moving beyond the formation of historical museums as sites of accumulation, Museum of Rhythm is conceived as an architecture of transmissions where the viewer is an auratic device and the museum, an affective membrane.

1. Lefebvre, Henri, Rhythmanalysis: Space, time and everyday life, Continuum, 2004

2. A reference to Ken Jacobs’ Nervous Magic Lantern

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