Overtones, 1995: an installation in a vacant, historically important prison, Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We used an entire cell block of 28 individual cells in a reverberant corridor 250 feet long.
Carolyn Healy: sculpture and lighting,
John JH Phillips: audio and electronics
Julie Courtney and Todd Gilens, curators, writing in a "Prison Sentences" exhibition publication:
"Combining dramatic lighting, objects and sound, the artists have transformed cell block 10 into a journey through an extraordinary kind of space and time. The work suggests a comparison between limitations imposed by prison architecture and imprisonment imposed within the dynamics of one's own psyche. Distinct sound environments within twenty of the cells are collages of natural and synthetic sounds, recorded and digitally modified, then reproduced in the cells by analog memory chips. Instead of using a narrative, descriptive format, the abstracted visual and auditory language used by Healy and Phillips can touch on many ideas at the same time without naming them, allowing the play of hidden, irrational experiences to emerge. Distanced from familiar experience, the hiatus of common language in their installations seeks to awaken the lowest strata of perception and memory. It offers something intuitive, subtle, and beyond words: something that daily life, for all its practicality, can rarely allow."