"I Heard There Was a Secret Chord", 2017 - Daily Tous Les Jours at WNDR Museum Chicago
"I Heard There Was a Secret Chord", 2017 - Daily Tous Les Jours at WNDR Museum Chicago

I Heard There Was a Secret Chord

"I Heard There Was a Secret Chord", 2017 - Daily Tous Les Jours

At any given moment, hundreds of people are listening to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at
the same time. I Heard There Was a Secret Chord creates a metaphysical connection
between them through a sensory experience. At the heart of the work is a virtual humming
choir powered by online data, where the number of voices fluctuates according to how
many people are listening to the song right now. This ‘data choir’ perpetually hums
Hallelujah in an octagonal room comprising a series of suspended microphones. The
microphones are not meant to record or project voices; they are used to transform voices
into vibrations. When one hums into a microphone, the sound makes the floor vibrate,
adding to the vibratory powers of the universal hymn.

About the Artist

Daily tous les jours is a Montreal-based art and design studio. They lead an emergent field
of practice combining technology, storytelling, performance and placemaking to reinvent
living together in the 21st century.

“Our studio is continuously exploring new forms of storytelling to expand ideas of
connection and community, like Cohen did with his poetry and music. Revisiting Cohen’s
body of work, we kept returning to one basic question: Why is Hallelujah so popular, in so
many places around the world, with people from different backgrounds and from different
generations? As we write this, a single version of the song’s official video online has been
viewed over 99 million times by people across the planet. This ever increasing number
inspired us to expand our research into collective experiences to virtual space. It attests to Cohen’s ability to make that leap from the personal to the universal that is so critical in our own practice as we strive to connect strangers to one another. The way he observes and questions the human condition reveals the power artistic works can hold when they
succeed in tapping into the collective spirit. Could some of Cohen’s magic rub off on us
somehow? Could it provide another layer from which to expand our own work? By spending enough time with this song, we hoped to learn from it and build on its affective
qualities to discover new means of touching people. I Heard There Was a Secret Chord is
an homage to this universality. It celebrates the emotional thread that connects us as
humans; it imagines a sense of unity through a transcendent experience. As it can be
difficult to understand large numbers cognitively, we chose to embody the data (these
millions of listeners) in a physical and emotional experience—both online and in the
exhibition—that focused on the mystical experience of the song. Using humming instead of
words, we hoped to amplify the song’s ability to reach the core inside ourselves,
transforming both real and networked space into magical, sensory, pulsating fields that
transport people across the planet to a unique shared place—just as Cohen has been
doing for decades.” - Daily tous les jours