David Winton Bell Gallery

Past Exhibitions

August 30, 2014 - October 12, 2014

Tristan Perich opens at Cohen Gallery on August 23

Audible Spaces presents three sound installations that encourage participants to explore the subtleties of listening. Tristan PerichZarouhie Abdalian, and [The User] have each created immersive environments using seemingly uniform sounds that dissolve into tonal, tactile, and temporal variations as participants engage with them. Perich’s Microtonal Wall(2011), on view in the Cohen Gallery at the Granoff Center, demonstrates the extraordinary complexity that can be generated using only the most basic electronic tools. Drone like from a distance, this 25 ft long sound field of 1-bit noise dissolves into 1500 unique frequencies. Abdalian’s In Unison (2014) draws attention to each individual’s singularly embodied experience of listening. Eight parametric speakers embedded in the Bell Gallery’s ceiling project sonic avenues of the same frequency that disrupt binaural hearing as they reverberate throughout. Twelve glass vessels, each filled with enough water to produce the same tone, also populate the gallery. In their conspicuous silence they make visible the horizon of sound, as each participant explores her own phenomenological limits.  Finally, [The User]’sCoincidence Engine One: Universal People’s Republic Time (2008) makes the entropy of time audible. This amphitheater-like space filled with thousands of ticking clocks provokes questions about homogeny, loss, and the spaces of public address. Unified by a shared economy of means, all three projects prompt participants to consider the dynamic relationship between sound, space, and personal subjectivity, while addressing a distinct set of historical, social, and sonic concerns.

Sound artist and theorist Brandon Labelle argues that “sound is intrinsically and unignorably relational: it emanates, propagates, communicates, vibrates, and agitates; it leaves a body and enters others; it binds and unhinges, harmonizes and traumatizes; it sends the body moving, the mind dreaming, the air oscillating.”[1] This notion has permeated sound art since its inception and has driven artists to continually explore both the formal properties of singular sounds, and the conditional nature of listening. In the 1960s, minimal musicians in particular took up this cause. They developed radically simplified compositional structures to experiment with the spatial and temporal apperception of sound, in the hopes of expanding the horizons of aesthetic experience. Drawing on their critical strategies, the artists in Audible Spaces use monotony, seriality and repetition—both visually and sonically—as they consider both what and how we hear.

[1] Branden Labelle, Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc, 2007), ix.  

Main Gallery, List Art Lobby, Cohen Gallery