Party/Afterparty Marks the First Commission at an Art Institution by the Renowned Techno Artist


“This project at Dia has allowed me to explore a new scope of what I can achieve with my music.The work itself is a reflection of my reality – the visual, sonic and emotional connections or disconnections I have experienced over the past 30 years as a DJ on the road. In contrast to the glamorous perception of the touring musician, I wanted to reflect the isolation of the many hours spent alone in hotel rooms and the tinnitus that I, and many other artists, have to contend with as a result of our work. I make music to satisfy my soul, and when I perform, I invite others into my world. Similarly, when you step into this vast space, it is like stepping into a reflection of my own mind.The stark parallels between this post-industrial space at Dia, and the architecture in my hometown Detroit, a place that has always catalyzed my creativity, are fascinating to me.” – Carl Craig

Dia Art Foundation today announced that it has commissioned acclaimed Detroit-based techno DJ and producer Carl Craig to create a sound installation at Dia:Beacon in dialogue with the unique architecture of the space. Marking his first commission for an arts institution and culminating a five-year-long engagement with Dia, Party/Afterparty will reimagine Dia:Beacon’s lower level, creating a sonic environment that is anchored to the site’s manufacturing history as an old Nabisco packaging factory and recalling a techno tradition of reclaiming industrial spaces for radical experimentation. The work accesses both the euphoria of the club environment and the loneliness that follows this experience.

In conjunction with the commission, Dia will host a robust schedule of public programming that explores the continued relevance of techno, which will include live performances by Carl Craig. More details on the accompanying programming will be released in the coming months. Party/Afterparty will open on 6 March 2020 and will be on view until 7 September 2020.

With Party/Afterparty, Carl has created a sonic experience that will intensify and empty, creating a durational arc from elation to disorientation, reflective of the ambiguous states of our contemporary existence. Drawing from his own experience as an internationally touring DJ and producer, Carl will bring the visitor into and out of sonic spaces that evoke the shared experience that takes place in clubs and venues of influence to him, tapping into an archive of emotional memory.

As techno music reverberates through the semi-darkness, and shutters on the windows rise and fall, Carl’s installation takes the viewer from the party to the after-party over the course of a day. The sonic experience will shift from a euphoric rise to the subsequent emotional comedown inherent to the after-effect of the communal rush experienced on the dance floor.

Juxtaposing the ‘party’, dissonant music will intermittently fill the space, reflective of his own experience with tinnitus, a condition caused by exposure to loud sounds that produces an incurable persistent ringing or buzzing noise. Even when the party itself is over, the aftereffects are inescapable for many.

Technology, modular repetition, and serialism define the intersection between techno and minimalist sound—the latter of which Dia and its decades-long partnerships with La Monte Young and Max Neuhaus has been instrumental in supporting. Techno’s history was moulded by the unique technological and aesthetic conditions at the outset of minimalism. Both minimalist sound and techno share a foundational interest in reflecting rapidly changing urban environments by reflecting their sounds and repurposing their infrastructural landscapes.

“Since Dia’s founding in the 1970s, we have been dedicated to supporting artists working across performance and sound.” said Kelly Kivland, curator, “It is exciting to trace the course of minimal sound from artists like La Monte Young – often seen as the originator of minimal music – through to the Detroit techno scene. The Nabisco packaging factory that now houses Dia:Beacon, and the post-industrial transition of the town of Beacon itself, evokes historical and architectural ties with Craig’s native Detroit – the birthplace of techno – and inspired him to imagine a space that activates these parallels.”

This new commission continues Dia’s long-term investment in supporting experimentation across media and commitment to fostering music and sound-based programming across the institution’s sites. Dia’s past programming in sound has explored a wide landscape, encompassing performances from artists such as Tony Conrad, Arto Lindsay, Matmos, Terry Riley; new commissions by Joan Jonas with Jason Moran, Isabel Lewis, Robert Whitman and Gilberto Zorio; and iconic, long-term installations such as Max Neuhaus’s Time Piece Beacon (2005) and Times Square (1977/2002), and La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House and Dream Festival (1975).

About Dia art foundation

Taking its name from the Greek word meaning “through,” Dia was established in 1974 with the mission to serve as a conduit for artists to realize ambitious new projects, unmediated by overt interpretation and uncurbed by the limitations of more traditional museums and galleries. Dia’s programming fosters contemplative and sustained consideration of a single artist’s body of work and its collection is distinguished by the deep and longstanding relationships that the nonprofit has cultivated with artists whose work came to prominence particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.

In addition to Dia:Beacon and Dia:Chelsea, Dia maintains and operates a constellation of commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on Land art, nationally and internationally.

These include:

– Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), and Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks, which was inaugurated at Documenta in 1982), all of which are located in New York City.

– The Dan Flavin Art Institute (established in 1983) in Bridgehampton, New York

– De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico

– Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in Great Salt Lake, Utah

– Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973–76) in Great Basin Desert, Utah

– De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany