In her first US commission and first work in the English language, French artist Anne Le Troter presents a sound installation that considers the role of language as a marketing tool used to sell an ideal in this site-specific work.
Sightings: Anne Le Troter is part of the Nasher Sculpture Center’s Sightings series of smaller-scale exhibitions and installations that highlight new work of emerging or established artists. Born in Saint Etienne, France in 1985, Le Troter lives and works in Paris. Her body of work explores the rhythms and physicality of language through sound: “I arrange ‘language blocks’ one after the other, reworking them, using the constraints of each phrase: duration, tone, and breathing.” Le Troter’s process begins with spoken language: she collects found recordings—a telemarketer’s script or medical dictation, for example—that she then edits and reconstructs as a linguistic score, often combining a multitude of voices speaking in unison or overlapping one another with results that are hypnotic and at times illogical, bordering on the absurd. The artist then builds installations for her audio pieces that function as spaces to listen. These installations often include banal furniture evocative of transitional places—waiting rooms, bus stations, or office cubicles—and fall somewhere between décor and set design: “I am trying to set up environments that are as stable as possible, to let the words develop. I’m also trying to make a place for the spectator.”
For the Nasher commission, Le Troter developed a sound piece that comprises hundreds of audio samples she collected from a US-based cryobank, a facility or enterprise that collects and stores human sperm from sperm donors for use by women who need donor-provided sperm to achieve pregnancy. In the recordings, donors respond to questions on family, life, and their vision for the future, while employees provide their impressions of donors’ genetic qualities, hobbies, values, and physical traits. Altogether, the samples form portraits of prospective donors, which Le Troter distorts through the repetition of certain phrases, utterances, and pauses.
Inspired by such science fiction novels as H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Le Troter’s sound installation will consider the ethics of eugenics and the role of language in the endless search for an absurdist ideal.
Sightings: Anne Le Troter is made possible through major support from the Dallas Art Fair Foundation and additional support provided by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Houston