Song Without Words (for Amy Beach)
Song Without Words (for Amy Beach), 1987
Steel, glass, wood, melodeon, oscillating fans
9'-8" x 9' x 5'
The Robert J. Shiffler Foundation Collection and Archive, Greenville, OH




This piece was inspired by hearing a composition of the same title by the American composer Amy Beach. It was the title, not the music, that struck me, and I wanted to find an image to express it. The fans mounted on the melodeon operate continuously within the glassed-in structure, seeming to receive as well as give off information. For me, it was a way of giving form to thoughts about singing, on the most elemental level, as moving air through space, about the creative process, and about our inability to express ourselves fully even in an ideal environment. I also think of it as trying to make concrete a mute person’s singing.

Song Without Words (for Amy Beach)