Striations consists of a single work, “Distance Piece”, music for an outdoor installation mounted at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, complemented by a looped silent film playing indoors. It is itself part of a body of work Steve Roden calls “Stone´s Throw”, created while processing the passing of his grandmother, herself a sculptor, and a group of unfinished stone carvings she left behind.
While the film “Striations” was being shot with colleague Mary Simpson, the sounds of its making were also recorded. In the editing room, Roden decided to separate the sound from the image – traffic, birdsong, tapping stones, bowed cymbal, words exchanged – and processed these happenstance field recordings within the framework of a low, pensive guitar, “whose notes were determined by a score based on the vowel structure of a text, written by Henry Moore (the sculptor), that my grandmother had taped to her studio wall”.
Spindly, deliberate and elongated, a mantis making its tentative way from twig to twig, “Distance Piece” shudders at the will of the slightest breeze. There is an ongoing whimper, like a sad flute or an abandoned boat nudging a dock, longing to be tethered before it drifts away.
A leafy, delicate thing, and we have a particular responsibility toward delicate things.