Curated by Barbara London
Seeing Sound is an expansive exhibition that explores the current trajectory of sound as a dynamic branch of contemporary art practice, curated by Barbara London.
The exhibition features eight artists based around the world—Seth Cluett, Juan Cortés, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Bani Haykal, Yuko Mohri, Marina Rosenfeld, Aura Satz, and Samson Young. For Seeing Sound, the artworks take shape as kinetic sculpture, audio-video installation, and visitor-responsive technologies. With headphones notably absent, the exhibition consists of complex environmental sonic experiences, where each artwork simultaneously allows for multiple modes of communal listening.
To London, “media art in its many forms continues to evolve and develop in tandem with new audio-visual tools and new ways of experiencing art, whether online, in museum and gallery spaces, or in new art venues we can barely imagine.”
Sound is in a perpetual state of flux and resists classification, making it an apt medium for a contemporary culture interested in confronting the status quo and addressing the world beyond binary structures. The artists in Seeing Sound use the medium’s qualities to address climate change, the death of analog technology, power structures within music, and feminism.
While Seth Cluett’s installation, the stratified character of nature, explores the urban environment and a city’s surprising intricacies of flora and fauna, Juan Cortés’s Supralunar considers the mysteries of space and dark matter. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s installation Requiem for 114 Radios and Samson Young’s video Muted Lion Dance are illuminating interpretations of traditional music and dance performance. Both of the works break apart the act of performing and demonstrate the sonics of physical labor or unpredictability of technology.
Using everyday devices such as the keyboard and telephone to challenge cultural assumptions, Bani Haykal invites the viewer into a space of translation with his native Malay language and Jawi alphabet, and Aura Satz lets us in on a conversation of feminist histories within sound art. Yuko Mohri and Marina Rosenfeld transform common equipment, such as the speaker or music stand, and create sonic ecosystems to critique existing power structures. Rosenfeld’s Music Stands spontaneously emits unpredictable sounds to disrupt expectations of music composition. In Mohri’s You Locked Me Up in a Grave, You Owe Me at Least the Peace of a Grave, multiple sculptures rotating around the viewer make the amplification process visible through movement rather than electronics.
Artists: Seth Cluett, Juan Cortés, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Bani Haykal, Yuko Mohri, Marina Rosenfeld, Aura Satz, and Samson Young
Seeing Sound is a traveling exhibition curated by Barbara London, with the support of Research Assistant Kristen Clevenson and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI). This exhibition and tour are supported, in part, by Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) program and with the generous support of ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum.
Nokia Bell Labs is the world-renowned industrial research arm of Nokia. Over its more than 90-year history, Bell Labs has invented many of the foundational technologies that underpin information and communications networks and all digital devices and systems. This research has resulted in 9 Nobel Prizes, three Turing Awards, three Japan Prizes, a plethora of National Medals of Science and Engineering, as well as an Oscar, two Grammy awards and an Emmy award for technical innovation. For more information, visit www.bell-labs.com