Sabisha Friedberg at the
Swiss Institute

Sabisha Friedberg’s A Plane Unseen and Scattering its Curve, au loin, was a revelation. A revelation in the way it brings sudden clarity to the importance of reflection—taking the time to think, to perceive, to go deep into one’s thoughts and consciousness.

The Swiss Institute space was stripped back, the only adornment being a couple of specifically placed fluorescent tube lights mounted on the walls and free-standing speakers across the 2 levels of the gallery. As the audience flowed into the space, many were unsure of whether to sit, stand, or be in a constant state of motion for the impending performance. The only instruction was on the one-sheet leaflet which suggested for us to do either one or all of the above. It was up to us, the audience, to determine our experience of the artwork.

The lights dimmed and the only illumination came from the gentle glow of the fluorescent lights. As Friedberg’s sonic landscape began to unveil, the immersive sound compositions drew us deeper and deeper into our inner thoughts and imaginations. 

I felt as if we were actors before an audition—sitting cross-legged on the floor or leaning against the wall, waiting; pacing around with nervous energy and anticipation; with eyes closed, meditating. I became acutely aware of the movements of the people around me, their footsteps, their shuffling, their breathing. Sounds, smells become exaggerated, and our senses felt much more acutely aware. Each and every movement impacted another. 

Like a current, the composition at times was tumultuous, then at others, calm and anticipating like a bouy in the ocean. The moments of pause were like white space in a design. Thoughts drifted along with the sonic fabric from clarity to blurriness, and back again. All of this was fusing with and traveling in perfect sync with Friedberg’s sonic universe.

Looking around, everyone seemed completely at peace—some with their eyes closed, others lying down on the ground, or standing staring at a specific space in time. What were they all thinking about? 

Friedberg’s hour-long performance seemed to pass quickly. Not once did I feel bored or restless. Having the time to reflect and taking a moment to stop and think without any distraction has become a rare commodity. How refreshing it was to be completely carefree of the device that’s become such a large part of everyone’s lives. We were all here in their moment, experiencing this moment together. Each to their own thoughts—a perfectly untarnished moment in time.