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The artist chose traditional records over digital discs for the installation because the "structure works better with the park setting." That's not to say Duffy is an analog-only snob just because he sees the duality in the pure, yet sometimes crude album presentation versus the cleaner, digital format of CDs. "The analog form possesses an archaic and nostalgic quality. It's more physical. Plus, I am fascinated with album covers. Growing up as a kid, it's the biggest photo you have in the house," he says.
"When I listen to music, my choice of records versus CDs really depends on my mood. I don't feel that one is better. With records, there's a physical interaction, where you get up, set down the needle, and step away before it's time to return and turn the record over. But I'm also obsessed with the iPod because it's like going back to the time when 45s were first released, where music was presented song-to-song and not as a complete album. The flip side is that people don't really listen to albums anymore."
"The Grove" debuted to rave reviews last year at California State University, Los Angeles, and will be traveling to other nationwide galleries after its Tempe stop. So why does Duffy think the exhibit is equally appealing to kids, hipsters, non-music heads, and older folks? Because anyone can design their own interpretation of the universal language of music without the stage fright.
"The best part is that you can create something with horrible and great moments, but you can never play the same thing again," Duffy says. "You also can't make a mistake and there's no performance anxiety."