Elevator Music 41:
Laura Ortman—Dust Dives Alive

Elevator Music 41: Laura Ortman—Dust Dives Alive presents the artist’s eponymous sound work, created in July 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new visual installation in the Tang Teaching Museum’s elevator. In the sound work, originally commissioned by ISSUE Project Room as part of the Isolated Field Recording Series, Ortman layers and collages her home-recorded experimental music—most prominently featuring the violin—with the buzzing of neighbors, subways, streets, rain, birds, and other sounds of city home life. The sounds fall in and out of harmony, blending and clashing on a journey variously soothing, challenging, melancholic, and hopeful. As we emerge into post-pandemic excitement and hustle, the installation encourages us to slow down, remember, and reflect, to continue to see and hear all that surrounds us—especially the constant hums, whether from neighbors or nature, that create an aural backdrop for our lives. By bringing those noise bleeds to the forefront, Dust Dives Alive broadens the instrumental possibilities of experimental music as it considers the role of sound as a means for human connection.
Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) is a composer, musician, artist, and collaborator working across recorded albums, live performances, and filmic and artistic soundtracks. She is versed in violin, Apache violin, piano, electric guitar, and keyboards; often sings through a megaphone; and is a longtime maker of field recordings. She has received numerous awards and has performed across the United States, Canada, and Europe, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Toronto Biennial, Ontario; the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Ortman has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York, for more than twenty years.
Exhibition Name
Elevator Music 41:
Laura Ortman—Dust Dives Alive
Exhibition Type
Solo Exhibitions
Elevator Music Series
Jul 10, 2021 - Nov 14, 2021
Elevator Music 41: Laura Ortman—Dust Dives Alive is organized by Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara in collaboration with the artist.
Laura Ortman
Student Staff
Sylas hebert
Sylas Hebert
Curatorial Intern
Past related events
Sep 30, 2021, 6 PM
Pattern by Evelyn Wang ’19
Inspired by the exhibition 3-D Doings: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964-1980
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.