A tall slight man carried a blank sign through the sea of seated people silencing them in his wake. Then Liz Harris, of the music project Grouper, trickled through the crowd and the sounds began cascading down from the cement balconies that comprise the University of Berkeley’s Art Museum. Grouper’s installation performance piece SLEEP is part two of four Friday night ‘Gatherings’ curated by David Wilson at the Berkeley Art Museum. In this performance Liz Harris uses tape-collage, live instruments and the cavernous architecture of the Berkeley Art Museum to create a ‘downward-pulling current, lulling with the hiss and resonating pulse of watery sound and light’.

This effect is created by situating speakers on all levels of the building that spill and mix sound into the echoing void below. This creates a soft swelling ominous noise that shifts and changes as you move through the museum. An underwater effect was created by projecting light onto a cluster of silver streamers casting dim shimmers onto various parts of the museum walls. Harris certainly put her crowd into a sleepy dreamworld and created an open-ended environment letting the audience experience and explore their own rendition of sleep.

Photos courtesy of Kanoa Zimmerman and Mariko Reed