“There is this great distortion; it’s another
world when you get inside,” Gregoire explains.
“It’s not just a tilted house, it’s tilted in different
directions so there’s a destabilizing effect.
It’s decorated and furnished like a lovely little
cottage but it has this crazy spatial distortion and
for some people it makes them downright
nauseated. But when you sit down and anchor
yourself and start communicating with someone
else, it’s like the other person gives you balance
because you both obey the laws of gravity.
It’s wonderful the way it’s human like that.”
Do Ho Suh’s installation may have been the
most logistically challenging, but Bruce Nauman’s
Vices and Virtues was certainly the most
controversial. Initially the idea was to have the
The Trees Are Alive
(with the Sound of Sensors)
The latest addition to the Stuart Collection
is also the first to come from a composer.
John Luther Adams’ Wind Garden, opening
this summer, is the Collection’s first work
devoted strictly to the ears, using living
trees to play unique compositions to
anyone who happens upon a wooded grove
in the campus’ theatre district.
Adams collaborated with experts at the
La Jolla Playhouse and Scripps Institution
of Oceanography to develop special motion
sensors that live in the small branches of
the grove. As the trees move, the motion is
sensed and becomes a data stream that is
changed into harmonic sounds which play
from speakers hidden in the branches, so
the trees themselves become instruments.
“It’s definitely challenging,” says Stuart
Collection project manager Mathieu
Gregoire. “To make all the systems work,
and also making it invisible.”
seven vices and virtues paired in blinking neon
atop the Mandell Weiss Theatre, which sits on
the edge of the campus.
“But it was 1983 and our neighbors were
concerned and distressed,” Beebe recalled.
“The letters that the Chancellor received—
I’ve got a huge file—were mostly negative.
The city councilman from La Jolla at the time
called a press conference and said, ‘If the university is allowed to put the word LUST up there in
neon, it will incite infidelity in the community.’
The newspaper called me for a comment and
I said, ‘ There are fourteen words, why did he
choose LUS T? He could have chosen prudence
or faith. What does that say about him?’”
BEST LAID PLANS
(left) Bruce Nauman’s
Vices and Virtues was
initially intended to
encircle Mandell Weiss
feature for more on the
controversy that led to its
current home on campus.
(right) Stuart Collection
project manager Mathieu
Gregoire assists with
installation of one of Terry
Allen’s Trees, all of which
attach to a metal and
concrete foundation that
reaches 12 feet into the