Sum of Zero (2004-2005) is a collaborative work by text/video artist Lane Cooper and composer/sound artist Andrew Stoltz that explores issues of war and exists as an expression of grief. Recordings of individuals speaking in various languages, including English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic, create a sound work that expresses order and disorder in our world.
The initial impetus for The Sum of Zero was the onset of the war in Iraq, an impetus fueled by the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings. The Sum of Zero was presented in its original form in Barcelona that same year as part of a public event responding to world violence. Like the human penchant for conflict, The Sum of Zero is continually in flux. As a piece, it responds specifically to the contradictions that exist between the reasons for war and the inconceivable brutality of that human undertaking.
In this case the use of spoken word and sound as creative media is uniquely appropriate. The sound, fragmented and deconstructed, mirrors the lives torn apart by the violence we have done unto one another. The spoken text reflects the Adamic power of the language, which we use to order, or disorder, the world and create the conditions of our being or end of being. The visual images of the video offer evidence of the banal; the everyday, evidence of the transitory moments that never the less remain irreplaceable and priceless - the video is a flickering image of what is at stake, what is to be lost.
*Audio edited and mixed, Andrew Stoltz
*Video shot and edited, Lane Cooper