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Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper is a conceptual artist, philosopher and university professor from New York who now resides in Berlin. Her artwork includes performance, sound pieces and visual art and deals with issues of race and gender, as well as Vedic themes influenced by her long-term yoga practice. The Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation is an excellent resource for biographical information, as well as samples of her art and writing.

In Funk Lessons (1983), Piper teaches an audience to listen and dance to funk, a genre that she says is often dismissed by white audiences. Through dance, the audience engages in a form of direct listening to overcome stereotypes and racial boundaries.

In the conceptual sound piece Seriation #1: Lecture (1968), Piper dialed an operator in 10-second intervals for a period of 30 minutes, recording the pre-recorded voice giving the exact time. The listener cannot help but think of the difference between the recorded times and the present time. Christopher Migone included this piece in his exhibition Ways of Thinking (2007), noting that the piece allows the audience to explore “the fleeting nature of the instant” and the “impossibility of holding onto the present moment”.

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