I Spent 12 Hours at a Drone Festival

Kevin Lozano

All photos by Layla Fassa

The very conceit of durational art performances always seem a little suspect to me. Bad memories of Andrew W.K. noodling on a drum set for a full day or Jay Z and Marina Abramovic hamming it up at Pace Gallery for six hours are painful reminders that just because something goes longer, harder, or faster doesn't necessarily mean it will be braver, more artistically complex, or, well, better.

So when I heard that Basilica Hudson, the performance art space run by musician Melissa Auf der Maur and the filmmaker Tony Stone, would be throwing the second edition of “24-Hour Drone: Experiments in Sound and Music”—a marathon festival where participants are invited to spend an entire day listening to drone music with few distractions—my first instinct was to be slightly wary.

But then I wondered if this could be a weekend of opening up. I wanted to see if I could do as the program said: “Explore. Experiment. Exchange.” Which is why I decided to travel several hours from Manhattan to Hudson Valley in upstate New York on March 23—to see if I could shed my neuroses to achieve a meditative and peaceful state (even in public). When I told my mother what I was planning to do, she emailed me back to say that the US military uses noise music for torture, signing off with a wry “have fun!”

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