La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela at the Dream House

La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela at the Dream House

MARIAN ZAZEELA: Now we have the possibility with DVD, people can you know, have it in their own home system and they can seealthough it’s a small screen, I guess, relatively small unless they have a really big screen. At least they can see the visual element of how it did exist in this particular performance. We also have had some success with presenting installations of the DVD in a light environment or at least in a light setting that I design like the one currently at the Regenbogenstadl in Bavaria. The DVD came into being just for such a projectthe celebration of the year 2000. The French government organized a very large, major art exhibition to take place in Avignon and Daniel Caux was invited to be the music curator. Do you know who he is? He’s really the best music critic in France. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and a very, very brilliant writer and a wonderful person. We’ve known him since 1970 when he was the actual, let’s say, curator or influence behind Shandar. And Daniel and his wife Jacqueline were involved at that point…

LA MONTE YOUNG: They were the main musical advisors.

MARIAN ZAZEELA: And you know, they encouraged her when she had the opportunity to bring us to the Maeght Foundation. Chantal Darcy, that is, they, you know, suggested really who they should bring and then who she should record on the Shandar record label that she started after those performances in 1970. So Daniel had been a friend and supporter for many years and he was the music curator for this big international art exhibition and the director of the exhibition, Jean DeLoisy had already worked with us at Hors-Limites, an exhibition that was at the Pompidou Center in 1994‑95, so he knew us. Anyway, the French government devoted a lot of money to this exhibition because, you know, everybody thought that 2000, I don’t know, the millennium…[laughs]

LA MONTE YOUNG: Some people thought the world was going to end. [laughs]

MARIAN ZAZEELA: And so, fortunately, it was in their budget to do this and however, there wasn’t enough money, they wanted to do The Well-Tuned Piano live, but there wasn’t enough money in their budget for that.

LA MONTE YOUNG: Yeah. Well, it’s a very big project to do it live.

MARIAN ZAZEELA: So they came up with some amount of money and Daniel knew that we had this footage from The Well-Tuned Piano recordings, and he had looked into with us trying to get it realized as a single film.

LA MONTE YOUNG: This is the footage that we discussed earlier that was like 22 reels of Betacam per camera.


MARIAN ZAZEELA: It seemed impossible in earlier years, but by 1999 and then actually 2000 the technology came around to where it was possible and…

LA MONTE YOUNG: Well, it had been in the cases for so long that I never thought that it was going to happen. So it was a big thing in my life that I was able to put out this DVD of The Well-Tuned Piano, because

MARIAN ZAZEELA: We had a lot of good fortune because we met a young man, Chris Harvey, who had just started being on unemployment and he had the technical ability…

LA MONTE YOUNG: He had a huge interest in our work and he donated his time to do the online editing and he really introduced us to that part of the video world and commercial studios and that sort of thing.

MARIAN ZAZEELA: And he helped us find where we could edit it and realize it. Then it was between producing it on a hard drive, but that would have been more complicated for projecting it in the exhibition, or doing it on DVD.

LA MONTE YOUNG: Well, I wanted to do it on DVD because I also wanted to release it.

MARIAN ZAZEELA: But then this company that Chris had contacted, Zuma Digital this guy was very farsightedand he said, well, I can get it on one disc.

LA MONTE YOUNG: He had just bought some totally new piece of equipment that had just come out

MARIAN ZAZEELA: Yeah, this was right at the end of ’99.

LA MONTE YOUNG: that would allow them to put the whole thing on one DVD, on two layers and up until that moment in time, it would not have been possible.

MARIAN ZAZEELA: Up until that moment, until this guy came forward and said “I can do it,” we thought, either this is going to be on two DVDs or it’s going to be on hard drives and we’d have to have some computer program that went from one to the other.

LA MONTE YOUNG: Although the hard drive realization was elegant, I wouldn’t be able to reproduce it and sell it. So I opted for the DVD version because I could both do the video installation and have a product that I could put out there for people to take into their own homes. And I do believe that it is possible to get into that very same high state with your headphones, looking at your video screen. It’s not the same as the Dream House. For example, certain environments that are created in this Dream House are unique to that space, they’re site-specific and they can never be experienced in the same way. But at the same time, you can set up your headphones, you can set up your video screen, and you can make your world. And you can set it up so that it can be extremely conducive to the highest spiritual experience. And therefore, you achieve the same goals by making it available in some sort of documentary format for people to take into their own world. After all, some Yogis are sitting in a cave. Some Yogis sit in a tiny cave that’s barely big enough for one man to sit inside of and they go in for long periods of time and shut off the world in that way. There are various techniques that have been practiced over time to achieve a high spiritual state, but the Dream House is one approach to this concept and it takes into consideration the various senses and tries to, through a vibrational process, take people up into this high spiritual state and allow them to have a very specific communion with God.

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.