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Unauthorized Audio Tour

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Unauthorized Audio Tour


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PDL SAM Unauthorized Audio Tour dotted line
spacer PDL at SAMspacer The nature of an object can change dramatically depending upon who you talk to. Even the simplest things, like a paper cup or a fire extinguisher can become fascinating, priceless, or horrifying, depending upon their individual history.

Museums have gotten in the habit of providing hand-held devices that explain the history and significance of their collections. It is quite common to see visitors strolling through galleries with headsets on, connected to plastic chucks of technology, that, at a push of a button, explain who made it, why it is important and any number of details that pertain to the object in front of them.

PDL has no problem with this practice. Quite the contrary. They recognize how powerful a tool these audio tours are in shaping the visitor’s perception and understanding of art. With the right narration, one could turn a bland painting or abstract sculpture into an exciting, accessible, potentially thrilling revelation. PDL loves the concept of transforming the public’s perception of an artwork through use of audio narrative. They just aren’t so keen on telling the truth.

In PDL’s first run at an unauthorized audio tour, they took on the Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection with great enthusiasm. From Rubens to Motherwell, Duchamp to the Porcelain Room, PDL offered their own perspectives and narratives that will make you look at artwork in an entirely different light.

PDL burned fifty sets and spread them around Seattle, encouraging people to download it onto their iPod or MP3 player and take their walking tour through the museum’s various galleries. When all fifty copies were in circulation, they stood in the lobby of the museum and checked them out for free to any interested party.

Below is a small sampling of some of the works from the SAM tour. There is no substitute to being in the museum with headphones on, face to face with the real thing, but it is a way to get a better understanding of PDL’s approach to the traditional audio tour.

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To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain Zhang Huan To Add One Meter to an
Anonymous Mountain
Zhang Huan

00:32

Sunset at the Canyon de Chelly Edgar Payne Sunset at the
Canyon de Chelly

Edgar Payne
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Disks Bearing Spirals Marcel Duchamp spacer Disks Bearing Spirals
Marcel Duchamp

03:39

spacer Elegy to the Spanish Robert Motherwell spacer Elegy to the Spanish
Robert Motherwell

07:13

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Felt Suit Joseph Beuys   Felt Suit
Joseph Beuys

05:03

  Inopportune Cai Guo-Chiang   Inopportune
Cai Guo-Chiang

08:17

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Last Supper Peter Paul Rubens   Last Supper
Peter Paul Rubens

01:33

  Mann und Maus   Mann und Maus
Katharina Fritsch

03:50

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Mercedes Benz Coffin Kane Quaye   Mercedes Benz Coffin
Kane Quaye
photo: The Kozy Shack

04:09

  The Porcelain Room Seattle Art Museum   The Porcelain Room
Seattle Art Museum
photo: 917press

01:04

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Sea Change jackson Pollock   Sea Change
Jackson Pollock

04:22

  Untitled (for Donna) Don Flavin   Untitled (for Donna)
Don Flavin

00:37

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