WHISPERS, 2004/2005, is a performance sound based project. It began in 2004 as a way to find out what people liked to have whispered in their ear. Katz assembles a multitude of responses, creating a performance, a projection and a video. It has been installed at the Silk Mill in Union City, New Jersey in 2005. The Silk Mill is a defunct silk factory, currently used as an art space. The voice is heard and a mouth is projected.
The project, a multi-media collage, gives the sensation of dislocation and shows a mouth projected onto a wall as an animated sculptural element. This combines and centralizes all of the individual elements in the project. While frequently the basis for Katz’s work is about sitting in on other people’s private pleasures, the artist also purposefully brings this hidden moment to public attention, inviting a mutual act of collusion. Ultimately, it is the viewer that toggles between a public world and a private world. The performance evolved over time, though it began as a simple question/response interview recorded on a tape recorder. The initial question came about as a result of enquiring where and how people were displaced after 9/11. The project is a response to Maps of Displacement after the artist spent so many months hearing stories about people being displaced. Later, Katz invited a group of 25 people to her studio to select sentences and read them repeatedly. Katz filmed their mouths while the participants spoke. Individuals read in English as well as a myriad of other languages. The sentences functioned as a script that the group read repeatedly.
When Katz was invited to participate in a group show at the Silk Mill, the project evolved again. This time, Katz embroidered these responses as a live performance element during the exhibition. The performances occurred during three consecutive weekends. The audience could view the performance, hear the multiple layered recorded voices and experience a sense of audible and visual echoes between the different parts of the installation/performance.
Beyond organizing a record of events, Katz also attempted to fulfill the wishes expressed to her by the initial participants. For example if someone had expressed a desire to hear a story by their grandfather, Katz attempted to find that grandfather or at the least to introduce a spoken element of the story by that grandfather into the “record.” Or, if another participant wanted to hear the music of Victor Piazzola, Katz included that composition in her project. Running time: DVD loop 6:16 Sound: 30:24