Conceptual Correlations of Sound and Image

5 Perception as Activity in Space and Time

As Morris’s Box clearly demonstrates, the reception-oriented (auto)genesis of perception as activity in space and time is a further crucial aspect of audiovisuality in conceptual art. La Monte Young’s Composition 1961, No. 1, January 1, with its instruction Draw a straight line and follow it, is an example of this, and furthermore illustrates the intermediate orientation of music in the Fluxus context. La Monte Young’s model points to a relationship to a work created by the observer-subject through the physically comprehending act of drawing: hence an act that represents itself on the one hand as a real event generating time and place yet evinces at the same time a metaphysical aspect: for whoever follows Young’s Composition systematically stands a good chance of turning the dominant space-time continuum on its head. Indeed, production, perception/reception, and activity here appear to be short-circuited in a way that seems to point to a virtual space beyond predominant time-space conceptions. The logic of Composition 1961, No. 1, January 1 thus recalls the complete erosion of the periodic theme in romanticism, which in Richard Wagner’s work is extended to the infinite melody—a historic caesura that points to a rhetoric of the delimitation of borders that was of significance also to conceptual art in the 1960s. According to Michael Maierhof, only with Schoenberg and his pupils’ dissolution of tonality around 1908 […] was repetition as a generator of form also challenged radically.[7]