Never Can Say GoodbyeJanuary 16, 2010 - February 13, 2010
On Friday, January 15, 2010, No Longer Empty reopened the legendary Tower Records store with a multimedia art exhibition: Never Can Say Goodbye. Spotlighting more than 20 artists working with sound, light, and image, Never Can Say Goodbye celebrated the store’s historic role as the locus of the community—the old way to meet people face to face and share music and information.
Spotlighting more than 20 artists that work with sound, light, and image, Never Can Say Goodbye recreated a fantasy version of the now defunct Tower Records store with Never Records by Ted Riederer – an installation complete with record bins, album covers, music posters, and a performance stage. Works by Meredyth Sparks, simultaneously critiqued and revered the flat glamour of icons such as David Bowie and half-nude eighties models. Artist Siebren Versteeg presented custom installations that reinvigorated the space with music memories and the pulse of his contemporary art practice. Ryan Brennan bounced sound through an eight-boom box installation offering an audio tour of hip hop.
Never Can Say Goodbye illuminated the economic and social changes caused by the emergence of the internet as the dominant means of music distribution. In its heyday, Tower Records was sales central for indie and contemporary music, as well as a gathering place for musicians and music lovers. Today, in its place, is a virtual landscape without architecture, sales staff, and community traffic. Freely downloading selected songs have created an empty space where a music store once thrived.
Each week a variety of music performers captured the fleeting opportunity to play live in the ex-Tower Records space. Music performances included Broken Mirrors with John Miller, Cleopatra’s, ((audience)), The Metropolis Ensemble, The John Herington Band, Azita, Disco Monkeys, Steve Conte (New York Dolls Guitarist), among others.
On Tuesday, January 26, Discs to Downloads gathered a panel of music industry representatives to discuss how technology has transformed art, and how contemporary gadgets and the internet have impacted contemporary music production, listening, and consumption.