During the piece Heavier Than Air (1999), performers in front of and behind the audience held clear balloons to their faces and, per the simple instructions of the piece, whispered phrases starting with “I remember.” The balloons acted as a directional amplifier, such that the whispers were inaudible unless the speaker was facing you. The people outside were definitely louder than anything heard inside the building, but suddenly when one of the performers turned in your direction, you could hear, clear as if he or she were sitting right next to you, a whisper about some childhood recollection.
It was creepy and still incredibly pleasant. The gallery was only illuminated by streetlights through the windows and a light from the adjacent room. It felt very secretive — to be eavesdropping on the whispers of the performers and on the people outside. It felt like homemaking.
— Tamzin Elliott, “Discovering the Music of Alvin Lucier Is Partly About Discovering Yourself”, San Francisco Classical Voice, 1/20/23