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Sergei Tcherepnin, Motor-Matter Bench, 2013, wood subway bench, transducers, amplifier, HD media player, 2' 4 1/2“ x 10' 6 1/2” x 1' 8 1/2".

Sergei Tcherepnin

Murray Guy

Sergei Tcherepnin, Motor-Matter Bench, 2013, wood subway bench, transducers, amplifier, HD media player, 2' 4 1/2“ x 10' 6 1/2” x 1' 8 1/2".

In his exhibition “Ear Tone Box,” a seven-minute video showed Sergei Tcherepnin idling beneath a crumbling aqueduct at the edge of a sparsely populated plaza in Rio de Janeiro. Dressed in ripped fishnets and a blue cocktail dress, barefoot and sporting an orange bandanna, he appeared to be a lost extra straying from the set of a Pasolini film, or, given his lanky frame, Francis Alÿs in drag. He crouched and paced, occasionally catching a wary glance from a passerby while leaning against the aqueduct’s arches. It all seemed so out of place—not Tcherepnin in his louche getup, but the video itself. Why this silent footage in an exhibition otherwise dedicated to sound art?

My confusion cleared upon learning that Tcherepnin was playing the Pied Piper, a fairy-tale figure of outsize significance in Jacques Attali’s influential 1977 book, Noise: The Political Economy of Music. A

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