Visual Studies 1: Creative Arts Today: Part one: Contemporary Art: Page 34, Case Study – Longplayer

Initial responses to piece

My initial responses to the idea of the piece are that I feel it introduces the idea of art constantly adapting and changing through time, like one long, continuous performance of ideas.

The sounds in the piece

The sounds, a series of chimes, bells and random notes are quite harrowing. I would imagine the experience in person would be a lot different as you would physically feel the vibrations.

Perhaps the sounds have been chosen to represent the sound of a clock chiming. The Long drawn out notes remind you of a horror or sci-fi film and add suspense and sadness to the work.

Notes about the performance

Quality of Sound

There is a good quality of sound, the notes are crisp and clear and each note can easily be distinguished from another.

Choice of singing bowls

The singing bowls are traditionally associated with relaxation and meditation. The bowls, when struck will produce the same note when hit. They also make a nice ringing sound which slowly tapers off.

Position of bowls

The bowls are set in circles to fit in with the particular performance site. They are placed on rings around the floor like planets rotating around the sun. There are several raised platforms in white curves which the live performers are using. Lights shine down overhead.

Position of spectator

The spectators are positions around the edges of the room, between the pillars where they can walk around the piece or sit down as they wish.

Length of performance

The piece is 1000 seconds long, this mirrors the 1000 years that the piece is due to play for in total.

How the piece is performed.

There are performers walking up and down the raised white platforms striking the bowls. The video playback itself is a time-lapse performance, with people being there one second and gone the next. Time appears to be going quicker than the video timer suggests. There is a transition from day to night in the piece which suggests the piece is performed over a day or more rather than the 1000 hours. [accessed 09/05/2019]


The performance of Longplayer at the Roundhouse in 2009, is as much timeless as it is timed. Although the piece is 1000 seconds long (to mirror the 1000 years of total play time for the piece) it is performed as a time-lapse so the viewer has no real concept of how much time has truly passed. The singing bowls produce a series of chimes, much like a clock striking the hour, and given their frequency time appears to be flying by. There is also a transition from day to night in the piece suggesting it has taken longer than the performance timer suggests.

The piece is set out in ringed circles, as if representational of planets rotating around the sun. The people move around the edges of the room as both observers, and like a part of the work itself. The camera is positioned directly in the middle of the piece to create a shape similar to that of an eye, and you are the eye observing directly above the central pupil. The singing bowls are usually associated with relaxation and meditation, however in this work the long drawn out notes evoke comparisons to a horror or sci-fi film. The long chimes are somewhat harrowing and add sadness to the piece

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