Los Angeles-based artist Steve Roden responded to the grandeur of Founder's Hall at Girard College, somewhat surprisingly given the minimal nature of his sound and visual work. But the intimacy of his work - the sound of two wineglasses reverberating, pieces of text illuminated by sunlight streaming in through the ceiling - is amplified in the vault-like rooms.
Roden pored through the archives at Founder's Hall, eventually creating "nothing but what is therein contained," the title taken from Stephen Girard's will and its components based on such diverse sources as students' letters, Franklin's glass harmonica, beekeeping and Amish furniture-making.
Roden emphasizes that audiences need notbe aware of his sources, and it becomes clear that he sees his own work as much as a place to be explored as the historic site in which it's housed.
"People tend to want to know where my work comes from," Roden said, "and I tend to think that kills it.
" In a great piece, it doesn't matter - the information still falls away because the experience is so primal." *