Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Poetry Machine and Other Works

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present THE POETRY MACHINE and other works, by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, featuring the pair’s interactive tribute to the late Leonard Cohen. Made from a vintage organ, a collection of speakers and hundreds of fragments of Cohen’s recorded verse, The Poetry Machine allows viewers to hear and play Cohen’s voice and texts as a haunting musical instrument. “I like the way that audio has such potential for memory,” says Janet Cardiff about the installation, which debuted in an exhibition devoted to Cohen at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal this winter. “It’s like smell,” she notes. “Audio really takes you back into a certain person.” This will be the work’s first U.S. presentation.

Also making its U.S. debut is Sync No Sync, a multichannel video installation. Made during a road trip and projected on two walls, the piece includes audio tracks that play layers of overlapping conversation, mixing the present with the past. In Sad Waltz and the Dancer Who Couldn’t Dance, a robotically controlled marionette appears to play piano while a long-haired puppet dances erratically to music by Armenian composer Edward Mirzoyan.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are multidisciplinary artists whose work often explores sound. Their installations have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, National Gallery of Canada, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, among many others.  Their work is in the collections of public institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Collection, London, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and others.


The Poetry Machine, 2017
Sad Waltz and the Dancer Who Couldn’t Dance
, 2015