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Kartz Ucci
From March 13th 2010 to April 17th 2010
368 songs with the word sad in the title mixed into one song

Kartz Ucci’s multidisciplinary practice is informed by language theory and philosophy. With an unapologetic inclination for the romanticism, she reveals that her works and their subjects are often inspired and (re)defined according to her emotional response to different spaces. Especially concerned with notions of reproducibility and reappropriation, she endeavours to reinterpret existing texts, musical pieces, and films by adopting various conceptual strategies, which then give direction to the form and content of her productions.

368 songs with the word sad in the title mixed into one song was produced by collecting the number of songs explicitly mentioned in the title: downloaded off the Internet by searching for the key-word "sad" in various GNUtella (1) engines, the collected MP3 files were then combined in an audio-editing program to compose a new soundtrack that was transferred to vinyl. Ucci leaves things up to the suggestive power of the senses and proposes a concrete experience of the paradox intrinsic to the quest for happiness as the end of human action: a fundamental philosophical contradiction between wishing for happiness and being at a loss for the means of reaching it or for knowing what it is.

The gallery installation includes two devices articulated around the audio work: a massive panel covered by a layer of lead—its monochrome surface investing the space while improving its acoustics—, and a mural listing of the song titles arranged in an iridescent spiral. This recurring natural symbol (a formal reminder of the LP and turntable) may be as suggestive of the infinite and cosmological as of dizzying confusion, or indeed of any expansive movement—creative spiral or dextrorotation, clockwise, according to Greek mythology—or a contracting one—the counter, so-called destructive spiral or levorotation. Here, an invisible centrifugal force dissipates the visual obstruction, hearkening back to the din that is itself slowly dissipating. . . Like that sensory (over-)stimulation that gradually gives way to harmonious simplicity, happiness may simply be a direction, a whole rather than a summation (2).
- Geneviève Bédard

(1) Gnutella is a decentralized peer-to-peer file sharing network.
(2) Paul Ricoeur

After brief tenures at the universities of York, McMaster, and Ryerson, Kartz Ucci, originally from Ontario, has been teaching at the University of Oregon since 2004. Her work circulates widely in the Americas, in Europe, and in Asia.