A Universal Syntax is the story of a fictitious interview with a researcher who has become fascinated by an old monastery (based on one Graydon visited in Austria) and the musical language created by the monks there—all of which has “disappeared ... as if it had never been.” Two slide projectors show photos of the monastery perched atop a hill, as well as a transcription of the interview and the score of the monks’ song. Eventually, the interviewee shares a recording of the singing with the interviewer. The only sound we hear is the clacking of the projectors. But we see the mysterious score—rendered in a notation or “a universal syntax” resembling stacks of dashed lines—that is implied to be the magic behind the monastery’s disappearance.

A Universal Syntax
installation for two 35mm slide projectors
and micro-controller