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Composition competition to examine media overload

  • A photo of the art exhibition Comfortably Numb

Posted on March 13, 2017

Grand Valley students will put their composing skills to the test when they create original pieces of music for an upcoming competition inspired by the current Art Gallery exhibition "Comfortably Numb."

The one-minute compositions will be performed by Grand Valley's award-winning New Music Ensemble in rapid succession and judged by a guest panel and the listening audience for various prizes.

The competition will take place Friday, March 17, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., in the Art Gallery (room 1121), located in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus.

"Comfortably Numb," created by Nayda Collazo-Llorens, combines more than 2,000 pieces of clippings from various magazines and other printed materials, and stands nine feet high and spans across 45 feet of wall space. Collazo-Llorens, the Art and Design Department's Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, said the piece spotlights media overload in today's world.

Jack Sligh, a senior majoring in music composition, said he approached his two composition submissions in very different ways.

"One is a straightforward interpretation of media overload during which the instruments all start to blur together into a mess," he said. "The other is a stylistic subversion of the whole idea based on the title in a jolly style as an old-timey folk tune. If we are in fact comfortably numb to all of this daily media exposure, then we're left with something completely normal."

The exhibition serves as one of the culminating projects of Collazo-Llorens' residency as the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence. Her residency will conclude at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

"Comfortably Numb" will be on display through March 31. For more information about the composition competition or the exhibition, visit the Art Gallery website.