#eye #eye
exhibition text by Gabrielle White

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Turrbal and Yugara people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which this project was developed. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.

The noises and sounds of our built and natural environments are constant; they engulf our senses, accompanying every manifestation of our life. Sound as a medium is immediate and ephemeral; a means to both understand and create, build and deconstruct, and make the unnoticed, noticed. It is a persistent and expansive art form, requiring listening and reflecting as sound leaves one body and enters others. Sound offers itself as a predominantly non-visual medium that has the ability to express what visual narratives fail to articulate.

The roots of sound as an artistic medium lie in the possibilities granted by technological advancements in order to produce, generate, or transmit sound. The ways in which artists explore, respond to, and create sound-based work, reflects the innovation in sound-recording technology, consistently creating fresh avenues of artistic exploration. The rise in primacy of sound brought about through technological development has meant even a mobile phone can become a creative force, as you will experience through the underlying soundscapes of natural rhythms in Greg Hooper’s participatory work, Lottery (2020). This technological rise grants a widespread opportunity to develop complex and dynamic relations to new narratives in the contexts of both technology and contemporary art.

Common to all work presented in res[on]ance [off] is the notion of actively engaging, questioning and challenging ourselves, and traditional frameworks through a web of sonic soundscapes. Alexandra Spence’s buried tape loops: isolation (2020) is an extension of an ongoing exploration in which she makes 7-second field recordings on tape loops before buying them in the earth at the location which they were recorded; bringing light to the physical properties of sound recording that are often overlooked. A collaboration with the earth, of sorts, these loops were recorded during recent enforced isolation, further giving strength to sound as a medium in itself as a way to communicate, investigate and process, both inward and on a global perspective,

res[on]ance [off] is an intimate body of human expression, developed as a natural response to our social and historical climate. With global enforced lockdowns due to a pandemic, followed by international dialogue surrounding racial prejudice, the current social landscape has been, and continues to be, an important time to look inward. Casts (2020) by Del Lumanta, takes its cue from film binging as a coping mechanism, activated by existentialism in the current age; encouraging us to consider both our individual roles in a rapidly changing world, and our responsibilities as a collective.

As Australians, we live with a a rich and uncomfortable narrative of racial injustice that calls for reflection and change. Garara (2020) by Libby Harward assembles an aural collage of field recordings and vocals, to explore on the connection between storms and conception - based on listening to fresh-water stories on Mulgumpin, or Moreton Island. In doing so, exploring notions of creation, procreation, and restoration.

In line with the ability of sound to extend and give meaning to place, experience, time, memories, and physical objects, Naomi Blacklock’s When I Dream, I Dream In Her Garden (2020) uses the textural sonic environment of her mother’s garden as a means to connect to place, identity, and nature, through digitally manipulated field recordings. Highlighting both the inescapable nature of sound that is already given, infinitely surrounding us in all experiences, and evoking the unapparent sonic presences of distant fields, places, and memories.

Also exploring the properties of field recordings, is Amelia McLeish’s Just One of Many (2020), which aims to reveal this cornucopia of life that is often not engaged or noticed. Delving into the perceived silence of the everyday, at once both bringing attention to the many sounds of our urban environment that are often neglected and imbalance as humans tend to focus on the visual and disregard of the sonic.

Sound is a means of knowledge transference with deep cultural value, a means to communicate stories and narratives through time, generations; as explored through Lucreccia Quintanilla’s aural collage In Process (2020) that takes us through a meditative passage of time; communicating feelings, emotions. Reflecting the properties of sound that allows us to understand history, and renders the possibility of re-imagine a new world.

In an age of isolation and social distancing, newfound emphasis on the connectivity of the internet offered new possibilities to curate and design online exhibition focused on sound that allow access to a broader audience beyond the physical gallery. A shift to a virtual exhibition requires a re-imagination of how to curate the works and the underlying narrative. Where the gallery requires thoughtful attention to the carrying of sound, the online platform creates possibilities to develop a unique and more intimate relationship to the presented works, accessible to all from computers or devices, from wherever they may be. The nature of a virtual space and the nature of sound art run seemingly parallel; these sonic articulations rely on the aural senses to carry meaning.

The diverse body of works presented in res[on]ance [off] echoes the complex and dynamic nature of sound as art itself. Each artist was selected due to their methodological processes, considered both on an individual level and collectively. Asked to present or create works that respond to the notion of sound as a non-visual medium, the artworks use auditory means to consider the materiality and transmission of sound and information, a process to decipher and connect to the rapidly evolving world that surrounds us - outside, and within.