Doxology, single-channel DVD projection with sound, 2005, TRT: 9 min. (Installation view, Berkeley Art Museum)
Doxology, single-channel video with sound, 2005, TRT: 9 min. Installation at Berkeley Art Museum 2005 from Mel Day on Vimeo.
Almost 10 years ago, I filmed my large family (I’m the eldest of 9) humming the hymn Doxology for a multi-layered video and sound installation at the Berkeley Art Museum for my final MFA Graduate Exhibition and then a few years later as part of Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama.
I’m currently working on a new two-channel video and sound installation pairing my family members humming the same hymn in essentially the same way 10 years later. I will film my family humming this hymn 10 years from now—and again, 20 years on, etc.—showing this work as a growing multi-channel video and sound installation. You can see and read more about this project here.
Doxology has become a shifting and unfolding video and audio portrait of my family over time. It is a meditation on the ungraspable and shifting language of belief and doubt, an exploration of individual and collective transformation on a number of levels: family, gallery, and curatorial relationships. Absences will signify those no longer with us (or perhaps those who refuse to or can’t participate). Technology changes and my own growth as an artist will inevitably alter each successive installation. I wonder how many times this work will be made?
Original Project Statement
Immediate family members hum the ecclesiastical hymn, Doxology. As each person starts to hum, their voice is layered with that of the previous person, building up to a number of voices in the middle of the piece, and gradually descending down into a single individual hum at the end. They are left along while humming and no specific direction is given other than that they hum the hymn like they would sing it. It is hard to tell when one person stops humming and another begins. Collectively the sounds are both dissonant and harmonious.
Featuring (in order of appearance): Rossalyn Day, Rachel Day, Rowena Day, Bethany Day, Alasdair Day, Alan Day, Giles Day, Lynne Day, Melissa Day, Catriona Day