A Closer Look at CBC’s Video Art Collection: Music for Teacups

Music for Teacups

‘Music for Teacups’ by Melissa Haviland and David Colagiovanni, a set of compositions in image and sound.

When Capitol Broadcasting renovated and redesigned our corporate headquarters and built a new addition last year, CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon envisioned creating a tribute to North Carolina artists for CBC employees and visitors to enjoy.  The halls of CBC’s Western Blvd location are now lined with original artwork including photography, textiles, paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces created by a variety of artists.  Since CBC’s divisions include two television stations, including video art in the collection only seems natural.

Currently CBC’s collection includes three video art pieces.  Goodmon’s eventual goal is to rotate the video art pieces and solicit submissions from employees.

Today we take a closer look at the first video art installed at the Western Blvd campus.    ‘Music for Teacups’ is a collaborative production between Melissa Haviland and David Colagiovanni.  The piece is a a set of compositions in image and sound that recombine captured footage of falling and breaking teacups.

“I try to make works that allow the viewer to stop or slow down for a bit. I’d like to allow them a moment to breathe.”
– David Colagiovanni

This work is part of a larger body of work exploring issues of class, etiquette, and family upbringing using a confined yet complex language. One of the most important aspects of the work is that the sounds you are hearing are a direct representation of what you are seeing. In other words, the artists have captured both the image and sound of the moment a teacup or bell opens up, bounces on the ground or violently shatters and subsequently found the musicality hidden within these transformative events.

From the Artists – How the project began:
We thought we would be able to catch a still of the moment a teacup splits apart when it breaks. Since the RED can record at 100 frames per second, we thought we’d be able to pull a still from the video, which we did. The downside to over-cranking a video camera is that you can’t record sound, so on one of the takes we recorded sound on an iPhone using the voice memo app. When we came home, we were looking through the videos and pulling out stills and synced the audio we recorded with the iPhone. We started editing and realized that the project was just as much about the sound as it was the image. The work began and progressed from there. We were lucky enough to have the RED camera provided to us by the Renci Center to take on our road trip to Carson, New Mexico a few weeks later. In Carson, we shot the first two works in “Music for New Mexico–Brass and Bells” and the first section of the work “Music for Teacups–Corelle.” We premiered these at the Southwest Film Center in Albuquerque later that fall in an AV Fest put together by Basement Films. We’ve recorded a few hundred teacups, gravy boats, creamers, and bells breaking since.

When we broke the first teacup in Maine, all we could talk about was breaking a whole set of china at the same time; and, with months of planning behind us and a generous Baker grant from Ohio University, we pulled it off this July, breaking seven full sets of china in rural Youngsville, N.C., on a former student’s horse farm.

About the Artists:
Melissa Haviland is an artist whose work straddles the boundaries between printmaking and installation-performance. She explores lineage, ritual, and practice within objects that are gendered and classed, like fine china.  Currently Haviland is Associate Professor of Art at Ohio University.

David Colagiovanni is an artist/composer interested in the reconfiguration and sequencing of video, sound and space.  “I try to make works that allow the viewer to stop or slow down for a bit. I’d like to allow them a moment to breathe,” says Colagiovanni about his work.  Colagiovanni was the Artist in Residence at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC Chapel Hill.  He earned a master of fine arts from UNC Chapel Hill; earned a bachelor’s in studio art, sculpture, and performance from the University of Maine; and studied painting and drawing at Lorenzo De Medici in Florence and at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Kelly McChesney, owner of the Flanders Gallery in downtown Raleigh, helped procure the pieces for CBC.  She currently serves on the CBC Art Committee along with Goodmon and several other CBC staff members.

‘Music for Teacups’ is located next to the elevator in the sales area adjacent to Café 550.

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Thanks to Kelly McChesney for contributions to this capcom story.

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