(With apologies.)

1) It probably didn’t hurt that the room is air conditioned in this absurdly hot summer but I’ve loved being in and around Janet Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet more than anything else in the last few weeks. I don’t want to stay away. The facts are these: Salisbury Cathedral Choir are recorded singing a Thomas Tallis motet, “Spem In Alium”. Each member is miked up and recorded separately, and the resulting 40 recordings are played back through 40 speakers set out in a rough oval in the Whitechapel. You can sit in the centre and just listen, or wander around and listen closely to individual singers. In the minute or so before the recital begins you can hear the singers in casual discussion with each other. It lasts about fifteen minutes, I suppose. A carefully-curated musical readymade.

2) Talking of transcendence, Janet Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet (at the Whitechapel Gallery until later this month) feels very much like a little piece of heaven. That it’s in a bright, air-conditioned room probably doesn’t hurt in this absurd London heatwave. And heaven’s supposed to look like this, isn’t it, all minimal and shining white? The piece is forty speakers arranged in a rough oval, each playing a different part of Thomas Tallis’s insanely complex and gloriously simple “Spem In Alium”, which is (I’m guessing you’ve guessed) a forty part motet. And this is how heaven is meant to sound, too, right? Choirs and Latin exultation, and that?

3) Two terrific ‘tets, pieces of what I suppose you might call installation art on in London right now which couldn’t be more different: Janet Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet (Whitechapel Gallery) and Christian Marclay’s Video Quartet (White Cube). The Cardiff piece is all space and stillness, it allows you to wander around inside the creation of blank and complex art. The Marclay is right-up-in-your-face and claustrophobic, holding you down and slapping you about with images.

4) There’s a picture on the Whitechapel Gallery site of Janet Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet in situ. The situ it’s in isn’t the Whitechapel though, it’s some fan-vaulted venue somewhere else. The work must change completely in this changed setting. What’s blankness and brightness in the blank bright space at the Whitechapel must be angels in the architecture and mysterious shade in the mystery setting.

5) My show of the summer so far – the piece to which I’ve returned several times and loved more each time – is Janet Cardiff’s Forty Part Motet at the Whitechapel. It’s a forty part motet, yes it is, played through forty speakers, one voice per speaker. It’s just about perfect.