The idea that sparked Kevin Beasley’s brilliant installation “A View of a Landscape”, currently on view on the 8thfloor of the Whitney Museum, came from a trip to a family reunion in Virginia. For the first time, Beasley noticed a nearby cotton field and pondered his own connection to its violent history and acts of displacement. Beasley, who is black, tracked down a motor of a cotton gin that ran a field in Maplesville, Alabama from 1940 until 1973. He encased the motor in a sound-proof glass box, hooked up microphones and connected it to a synthesizer that allows him to manipulate the sound and vibrations which he then plays in an adjacent listening room. The resulting experience is sobering and profound. The mute segregation of the motor as a strong metaphor for the machine as a witness connects intuitively to the silencing of voices and the haunting of absent bodies. Time and place distorts historical narration and gets channelled into fragmented sound and vibrations that lets visitors process history on their own terms. For Beasley has morphed his own personal experience into a physical experience for viewers who can feel the pulse of the motor through the benches in the listening room. The buzzing and vibrations get transmitted into their bodies and stay as reverberations long after they have left the gallery. At the Whitney Museum of Art through March 10.