Jennie C. Jones: The exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins Gallery, there were two speakers -- the hard drives were iPods. But they alternated back and forth to John Cage's famous4'33". I think every sound artist has to get their John Cage 4'33" piece out of their system. It's almost a cliché. Like, "Oh yeah, okay, I'll do my John Cage piece and then I can start trying to figure out where do we go from that moment historically." So one piece was a dead, quiet speaker for four minutes and 33 seconds, and then it would alternate back and forth from the other speaker, which was playing the opening of In a Silent Way, by--
Jo Reed: Miles Davis.
Jennie C. Jones: Yeah. So it was also looking at two very famous thinkers and how they approached the concept of silence.
Jo Reed: And in that same show, as I recall, there were also CD racks in both rooms. Many. And they were empty and clear, plastic boxes.
Jennie C. Jones: And it was funny, because I really thought that it was maybe too heavy-handed, but it was not perceived that way. The title of those pieces were discographies by decades. So it would be like the top 20 jazz LPs from 1960 to 1969. The titles were poems and literary works unto themselves because it's almost making like a Dada language poem by having a string of titles from one particular moment in time. But they were embedded into the gallery wall. So the heavy-handed part for me -- which it didn't turn out to be so heavy-handed -- was that I was like literally hammering a lot of these African-American musicians and embedding them into the gallery wall, embedding them into that conversation. It was not necessarily interpreted that way, I think because the materials of looking at CD cases and analog was so full of nostalgia. And that was only a couple of years ago. I don't think I could get away with even thinking about making work that touches upon that physicality anymore. It's almost immediately gone to kitsch, to think about a record sleeve or to think about how we don't have these things in our homes anymore. We've gone down to just having a hard drive instead of a record collection. So that was part of that exhibition for me too, was acknowledging that shift from analog to digital.
In this excerpt from the podcast, we hear how she engages in a dialogue with the modernist canon through her sound and visual installations. [3:04]