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Nicolai, carsten, 344ms, 2007, perspex tubes, gas, igniting mechanism, large crop 2

ANALOG | GROUP EXHIBITION

30 November 2013 – 1 February 2014

Berlin

Bruce Nauman, Jannis Kounellis, Max Neuhaus, Lawrence Weiner and Gilberto Zorio are among the eight artists featured in Blain|Southern’s next exhibition, ANALOG, a group show which seeks to question our experience of sound through a range of immersive installations and augmented environments.

Examining the relationship between auditory and visual perception, as well as the extent to which sound functions as an affective trigger of personal memory and emotion,ANALOG demonstrates how artists have and continue to use noise as a powerful aesthetic in itself. Some of the works, which range in date from the 1960s to the present day, invite the viewer to actively participate – generating the echo of their own voices through recording equipment, or becoming immersed in a cacophony of fragmented arias.

Among the numerous works on display, Carsten Nicolai’s 334 m/s (2007) is specifically designed to visualise the speed of sound, which is around 334 m/s. To reflect this, propane gas is set alight within two translucent tubes, which produces a sonic boom and in turn issues wild flashes of fluorescent blue light as the flame burns from one side to the other. Minimalist in form, the work consists of cylindrical tubes, gas cylinders and wires, exploring the artistic potential of chemical processes.

Cyril de Commarque will be exhibiting Migrants (2013), a work that consists of bottles containing organ-like apparatuses, attached to a vascular system that resembles the shape of a boat. The piece represents a poetic limbo, being a metaphor for the forced emigration of peoples from their native countries, and the subsequent voyages that were undertaken in a desperate struggle for survival. The work emits the sounds of anonymous overlapping vocal messages, which become obscured by their own multitude, creating a sense of confusion and disorientation. These voices are incongruous to the pulsating organs from which they emanate, depersonalising the piece to the point that it becomes a collective allegory.

In Ignacio Uriarte’sThe Beach (2012), the sound of a typewriter carriage moving from right to left is presented stereophonically. This repetitive, formulaic process of typing acquires a new dimension, as its constant patterns begin to take on the hypnotic lull of a rolling tide. The audience thus becomes focussed on the unique qualities of the sound itself, now isolated from its mode of production.

Music is the primary subject of both Lawrence Weiner’s Deutsche Angst/The Memories of Stu Irwin (1981) and Jannis Kounellis’ Untitled (1971). Weiner’s piece is a musical collaboration with experimental composer Peter Gordon, which fuses the stabs of electronic synthesisers with elements of free jazz, percussive beats and spoken word. The result is a unique avant-garde composition in which disjointed elements compete for the listener’s attention, creating a distinctive soundscape in which the human voice becomes the remote protagonist of an unsettling musical narrative.

Unlike Weiner’s work, Kounellis’ Untitled incorporates physical performance, in the segmentation of a Divertimento by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Played by students from the Leo Kestenberg Music School and Studio a’415 two days a week, the Divertimento is staged in fragmented form, with students only performing the same five minute section of the piece for a three hour duration. This structural dissolution of the Divertimento denies the listener the enjoyment and progression of the full piece, transforming rich classical melodies into an emotionally distant and unnervingly mechanical rendition. This process ties in with Kounellis’ use of fragmentation to express feelings of alienation in contemporary society.

Bruce Nauman’s Doppelgänger/UFO (1988) is comprised of a rotating steel beam to which two audio cassettes have been attached, exploring the aural phenomenon of the Doppler effect, where sound waves become distorted as the object is put into motion. Nauman urges the viewer to engage directly with dynamic sound, encouraging us to consider the everyday noises that flash past us with greater aesthetic appreciation, such as the rush of moving vehicles, or the fragments of overheard conversations that fill our ears within urban environments.

Exhibited for the first time outside of Turin is Max Neuhaus’ Three ‘Similar’ Rooms (1989), courtesy of Galleria Giorgio Persano. The large-scale installation – staged in the upper level of the gallery – comprises three seemingly identical rooms through which the viewer wanders, though each room actually contains a distinct aural experience as determined by its individual acoustics. The spaces themselves offer no indication of the origin of each sound, causing the viewer to experience these decontextualised noises in a pure, unfiltered manner.

Gilberto Zorio’s Microfoni (1968) presents a number of concrete breeze blocks on bases of ball bearings, above which microphones hang from the ceiling. Viewers are encouraged to stand upon the blocks and speak into a microphone, with their voice then echoing back through speakers in looped, distorted form. Via this abstraction of the human voice, Zorio’s work causes us to scrutinise the sound of our own speech and the ways in which we use verbal communication.

Through the exploration of these artists’ varying engagement with sound, ANALOGchallenges the audience to perceive the noises of our daily life with greater reverence, triggering both a re-assessment of our aural experience of the world and a renewed appreciation and understanding of the nature of sound as an integral aspect of our sensory existence.

http://www.blainsouthern.com/

Image:

Carsten Nicolai
334m/s
2007
Perspex tubes, gas, igniting mechanism
Room installation/dimensions variable
Image Courtesy of Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin and Pace Gallery

So Catriona Gallagher and myself wrapped up our time here on the SNEHTA residency with a small exhibition titled Unsettled Certainties.  Over the two days we had some interesting conversations with people we had met and others we had not from our time here in Athens.  It was a great way to finish our two months and hopefully will see either of us or both returning sooner rather than later.  I will post some images over the coming week.  For now here is a little GIF teaser from a sign piece I made which is the start of a new series of work titled “Concept Of Since”.

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“Unsettled Certainties”

Catriona Gallagher and Dickie Webb

Opening, Friday 29th November 6:30-9pm
(Open Saturday 30th November 3-8pm. Open Sunday 1st December by appointment.)

Gallagher and Webb have both been occupied with the notion of place, comprehending what it is to be settled or grounded and equally seeking intermediate sites to challenge their knowledge. Through certain and uncertain exploration they have found different places to work within the Athenian landscape.

Gallagher has been making interventions that highlight absurdities in the preservation of heritage and trying to understand the notion of shelter when that becomes necessary.

Webb has concerned himself with liminal spaces, sites that were but are not now, since certain events occurred. He has created reflective intermedia works that question what now, post since.

“Unsettled Certainties” is a synopsis of their research and time at Snehta and points towards possible resolutions in the future.

 

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“Ακαθόριστες Βεβαιότητες”, Catriona Gallagher και Dickie Webb

Εγκαίνια Έκθεσης την Παρασκευή 29 Νοεμβρίου 3-8 μ.μ
Ανοιχτά Κυριακή 1 Δεκέμβριος, κατόπιν επικοινωνίας

Βασικό θέμα έρευνας των εικαστικών Ghallager και Webb είναι η έννοια του τόπου, ο τρόπος με τον οποιό αντιλαμβάνεται ο καθένας τις ρίζες του, και τη βάση της ζωής του, που συναρτάται με κάποιο χώρο. Η τυχαία και πολλές φορές συμπτωματική διαδικασία που οδήγησε τους καλλιτέχνες στην ανακάλυψη τέτοιων σημείων-τόπων, τους ώθησε να επικεντρωθούν καλλιτεχνικά σε διαφορετικά σημεία της Αθήνας.

Πιο συγκεκριμένα, οι παρεμβάσεις της C.Galagher, τονίζουν τους παραλογισμούς στην συντήρηση της Ελληνικής κληρονομίας και φανερώνουν την προσπάθεια της εικαστικού να κατανοήσει την έννοια του καταφύγιου όταν αυτό είναι παρόν, ή όταν αυτό μοιάζει απαραίτητο.

Ο D.Webb ερευνά χώρους περιθωρίου-ενδιάμεσους χώρους και μή τόπους. Μέρη που κάποτε κυριαρχούσε η ζωή αλλά τώρα μένουν κενά ανθρώπινης χρήσης και παρουσίας. Βρίσκει τρόπους να φέρει στην επιφάνεια το χρόνο που μεσολάβησε ανάμεσα στις δυο διαφορετικές καταστάσεις και βάσει αυτού δημιουργεί έργα που έχουν ως βασικούς άξονες δύο καίρια για τον ίδιο ερωτήματα: «Τώρα τι? Από τότε τι?»

Η επιβεβαίωση του άστατου και συμπτωματικού χαρακτήρα που διακρίνει τον τόπο και το καταφύγιο συνοψίζουν την έρευνα που έγινε μεταξύ των δύο μηνών που οι καλλιτέχνες αφιέρωσαν στη Snehta. Μέσω της ερευνητικής αυτής διαδικασίας, δίνεται η δυνατότητα σε καθένα από τους δυο καλλιτέχνες να προχωρήσει και άλλο την εργασία του στο μέλλον προς την κατεύθυνση αυτή.

So this week spent on Sound Tectonics is coming to an end. A week I will not forget, spent with one great team of artists, architects, sound artists, composers, theorists and just generally inspiring people. The week has been focused on discussing the relationship with sound as a material and its relationship and use within the architecture of Athens and beyond.

So today, Sunday 24th November, will see the unveiling of a prototype which encompasses some of the thoughts, skills and discoveries made these past 8 days. If you would like to come and see and meet some of those involved we will be having an opening at 6pm at the British Hellenic College here in Athens.

Please see the photo for more details of the location.

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Earlier I posted a first draft/edit of a sound piece that I have been working on whilst here in Athens.  Here is the edit with more work done to it and at the moment I am moving onto new tracks.  I may return to this but at present this is now finished.  I am now looking at ways to combine the audio samples used within Athens Arrival with the visual sample that this glitch sounds were created from.  I hope to have a few new workings of this come next week.

Here are the visual samples:

visual samples used in arrangement no edit

“Around the Bay” pairs portraits of bayfront nodes with a brief historical profile, focusing on areas that blur the exchange between military and civilian, artificial and natural, industrial and residential, somewhere and nowhere. Matthew Coolidge

I have an ongoing fascination with the works of The Center For Land Use Interpretation (CLUI).  Today I have been reading a few articles and interviews with the Founder and Director Matthew Coolidge.  He has published a new book through CLUI titled:  Around the Bay: Man-Made Sites of Interest in the San Francisco Bay Region.  The interview with Amelia Taylor-Hochberg – Archinect discussed various elements of this book and also Coolidges’ work for CLUI and as lecturer.

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The reason I started reading more was when I came across the class Coolidge use to facilitate at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.  The class was titled “Nowhere”.  This idea of a class about nowhere actually stopped me for a while.  Thinking about how would you start to discuss nowhere and then in turn realise that is there a nowhere as Coolidge goes onto discuss in one of the articles:

MC: The class was based on the idea that there is no nowhere. We used that kind of terminology for the first part, but it morphed into another kind of class, that perhaps I would have called “somewhere”, if we had to call it something. But it was all so that this idea of “nowhere” doesn’t exist; there is no “away”, you can go away but then you’re there. This notion of “someplace else” is just sort of obsolete, in the same way that the old idea of nature is obsolete. Everything’s been discovered and visited and inhabited and interacted with and is connected to everything else, in a sense of an ecology; interconnected in the broadest sense of the term is also something we think about.

But the class was meant to introduce, to challenge, that idea. Certainly there are the facts and reality situations, then there are our impressions and our beliefs, and those things are often in interesting contrast. I wanted to work with the students in examining a place that wasn’t in their consciousness; that was considered somewhere that they wouldn’t normally go. It was a curatorial practice program in the graduate department. We would go somewhere in southern Louisiana or wherever and experience the sense of being from somewhere else; of going there and trying to make sense of it and establish a place there, an interpretation of it. Each year the class created an impression and an interpretation, in the form of some exhibit or public program, related to the place we visited. And with a very conscious awareness of their view of it, as a type of interpretative mechanism between the viewer and the observer of the object. It was this idea of the subjectivity creating a sense of a place. That is a very subjective and interpretive thing. And in general, objective awareness is something that we’re awfully conscious of with everything we do — the view creates the object, and the medium that presents it modifies it. It’s impossible to really see objectively.

 

To read the rest of this interview please click here.