Thursday, 10 May 2012
Sound Art Again: John Wynne
You then start noticing other noises like the continual traffic, rumble of buses, trucks and trains as you lie there. Then early morning rolls around and you get the chirruping of birds, regular pulse of the tube and sudden sirens from emergency vehicles which startle you into wakefulness.
Which is what makes John Wynne’s Installation no 2 for high and low frequency so enthralling; the first sounds as you enter the space are intriguing, then troubling as you realise the gallery building is heavy with the sounds of itself and there is no escape from the noise.
'Installation no. 2 for high and low frequencies' curated by Fieldgate Gallery was his latest London solo show at Angus-Hughes and in common with other sound art pieces, it is site specific. 'High and low sounds were created in situ to to reflect specific attributes of the existing sound environment' and to take advantage of the sparse Georgian style living room. However it was initially inspired by - and grew out of - a theatre production in Toronto where he designed the sound to ‘occupy the frequencies well above and below those of the human voice’. It exploits the phenomenon of ‘beating’ which occur when tones of slightly different pitch are played at the same time. As the artist says, this enables him ‘to manipulate the atmospheric tension in a continuous but almost sub conscious way’.
As an art exhibition, it was a strange experience. I usually make coherent notes on exhibitions but returning to my scribbles a month on, I found a stream of consciousness which is more a poem than a prose review.
Hearing through body
Other worldly discordance
Hearing through nothing
Playing with bass
Letting disturbance in
A hymn to modern life
Light sleepers nightmare
High pitched whine
Noise by absence
Nothing to hear
This suggests to me that the reaction to sound art, and this show in particular, is something more than you'd usually get when presented with a work of pictorial art. You literally feel it on and across so many levels which is why it is so fascinating and compelling when done well. And so entirely inappropriate when your neighbours are being uncooperative - sleep well and Enjoy the Silence!
Thank you to both Sound and Music and The Sampler for their very helpful mailings.