A New 'Dream House' Buzzes to Life

Dia Foundation invites you to enter into a world of sound and light.

by Sara Intrator
16 June 2015, 6:15pm

The Just Alap Raga Ensemble performing Raga Darbari, Dream House, Berlin 2012.   L to R: Jung Hee Choi, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, voices; Naren Budhkar, tabla. Photo: Jung Hee Choi, 2012

Walking down West 22nd Street, you know you’ve arrived as you approach the small crowd outside. Upon entering the building, you’re immediately asked to take off your shoes and turn off your phone. You begin to be washed over by legendary minimalist composer La Monte Young’s sine waves that densely pack the space before you even have one shoe off.

This weekend marked the opening of the Dia Foundation’s latest installation of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's

Dream House with frequent collaborator Jung Hee Choi, entitled, Dia 15 VI 13 545 West 22 Street Dream House, which opens to the public today. 

La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s “Dream House,” on Church Street, New York. Photo: Marian Zazeela / Courtesy Dia Art Foundation

The space is filled with the smell of incense and fellow visitors seated on the ground. Along the back wall is Choi’s glowing, ornamental installation, Ahata Anahata, Manifest Unmanifest IX. To the right are three microphones, an exercise ball in a holder, a side table housing various vials, and a few floor pillows. Once you take a seat, you begin to feel a melodic trance in the space. You are now entering Young, Zazeela and Choi’s dream world, without them even being present.

On Saturday, after about 15 minutes, Young, Zazeela, and Choi entered the room, taking their place alongside a drummer. Young swallows the supplements sitting on the side table and passes them out to his collaborators. The trio, along with Naren Budhkar on the tabla, began their performance of Raga Darbari as the Just Alap Raga Ensemble. Budhkar started on the tabula, followed by the artists’ chants. 

The hour-long performance filled the space with chanting and singing. With La Monte as the leader, it felt like bring invited to listen to a discussion that transcends language and waking states. The Dream House successfully allows visitors to remove themselves from the outside world. 

La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, Dream House, 1990. Installation view, Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, 2005. © La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, 2007. Photo: Uli Schaegger.

Young and Zazeela’s Dream House has existed in various locations since it’s inception in 1962. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to Documenta 5, to 275 Church Street, Dream House has continued to evolve and expand with its many iterations and will continue to rumble on in its newest incarnation.

Dia Foundation’s Dia 15 VI 13 545 West 22 Street Dream House is open through October 24, 2015.


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Dream House
La Monte Young
sound installation
light installation
Jung Hee Choi
Marian Zazeela
Dia Foundation
sine waves