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music

Charles Long and Stereolab

WITHIN MINUTES OF TAKING A SEAT at Bubblegum Station, 1995, I enjoy a little epiphany. The centerpiece of “The Amorphous Body Study Center,” a collaboration between sculptor Charles Long and soundscaper Stereolab, Bubblegum Station is an enormous mound of plasticine that the viewer is invited to mold and mark. I’m hacking off some pink stuff with one of the scalpels helpfully provided, and this guy gingerly sits at the next stool and starts grinning shyly at me. I take off the headphones (through which Stereolab’s soundtrack is piped) and the guy asks, “Are you the artist?” I should have said yes, of course—since the point of Bubblegum Station is to erase the distinction between creator and spectator—but instead I politely explain that we can all participate in this work-in-progress. So the guy fiddles with a nodule of plasticine, then seems to get embarrassed and slopes off to look at

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