update_3 | body sound

4567838646_19ed5d87aa_b.jpgEmmanuel Lagarrigue, I Never Dream Otherwise than Awake, 2006. Photo Marc Wathieu

update_3 | body sound, the third edition of a technological art biennial organized by the Liedts-Meesen Foundation, takes place at Zebrastraat place in Ghent. I saw it totally by chance. I was in town for the Electrified biennial and the ever lovely Eva De Groote from Vooruit suggested i’d drop by Zebrastraat. What were the odds of seeing two very good and strikingly different biennials in the space of two days in a city that counts less than 250 000 inhabitants? So slim i still haven’t entirely recovered from the shock.

4567749194_3285b24548_b.jpgCarsten Nicolai, Alva Noto, Infinity, 1997. Photo Marc Wathieu

4567770410_c6b79a1683_b.jpgUgo Rondinone, The Evening Passes Like any Other, 1998. Photo Marc Wathieu

Curated by Christine Van Assche, Media Arts Curator at the Centre Pompidou, update_3 presents a selection of sound art works from the French museum’s Collection of New Media.

The sound exhibition ambitions to go beyond the auditory system and uses echoes, vibrations, timbres, resonances, waves to put the body of the visitor to the test. Through a scenography designed by Bureau des Mésarchitectures, 14 installations invite the public to explore different perceptions of sound through their interactions with the materials, their position when listening and the movement of their body within space.

4567891010_01453388d2_b.jpgDidier Faustino, Erase Your Head / An Instrument for Blank Architecture, 2010. Image Marc Wathieu

4567872648_c1814caa38_b.jpgDidier Faustino, Erase Your Head / An Instrument for Blank Architecture, 2010. Image Marc Wathieu

All along the exhibition, visitors meet with micro-environments. One of the most impressive is Erase Your Head / An Instrument for Blank Architecture which evokes an empty theater occupied only by sound “helmets” perched on tripods and conceived by Didier Faustino as intimate devices for listening to works by Owada / Martin Creed, Mika Vainio and Mike Kelley / Scanner. When entering their head inside the padded helmet, visitors nullify their sense of sight and exacerbate the dimension of sound.

Equipped with a balancing system this type of tripod is generally used by a land surveyor to document landscapes and topographies. This work turns it into an instrument for the exploration of mental landscapes.

Ill-communication-NYC.jpgDidier Faustino, Hand Architecture, 2009

The work is a variation of the irresistible Hand Architecture, an earlier work that transforms a megaphone into an intimate medium that whisper a message from one person to another one. The person captured by the device becomes visually and auraly isolated from its surroundings, its only reference being the voice of its interlocutor.

4567761490_ff23c11cb7_b.jpgSemiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), Brilliant Noise, 2006. Photo Marc Wathieu

To create Brilliant Noise, Semiconductor (aka Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), went through hundreds of thousands of computer files to select some of the sun’s most spectacular and unseen moments and compose a video animation on the oscillations of the star. Taken by orbiting satellites, the images reveal the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise.

Through a process of audio data processing, Semiconductor used images to control the fluctuations of sound. The sound varies, crackles, buzzes and falters according to the brightness of the image, highlighting the hidden forces at play upon the solar surface.

4567231461_d200fe5e39_b.jpgEmmanuel Lagarrigue, I never Dream Otherwise than Awake, 2006. Photo Marc Wathieu

4561052140_9ce9ef559c_b.jpgEmmanuel Lagarrigue, I never Dream Otherwise than Awake, 2006

I never Dream otherwise than Awake is an ‘environment’ designed by Emmanuel Lagarrigue. The artist asked people to hum a song of their choice. He then cut the music into slots and reworked them, composing a melody for each one until they became almost unrecognizable. Sounds, melodies, music, are transmitted from small suspended loudspeakers, responding to one another, in a space that confuses the senses and gives the sensation of drowning in an aquarium. Video on the artist’s website.

4567121621_767ebbf7a0_b.jpgCéleste Boursier-Mougenot, Schizoframes, 2003. Photo Marc Wathieu

4560433063_119cc12c84_b.jpgCéleste Boursier-Mougenot, Schizoframes, 2003

In Schizoframes, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot invites visitors to lounge on a big white sofa stuffed with loudspeakers and meditate in front of a wall of sonorous images, generated by the auditory frequencies in a 180 degree environment. The work explores the possibilities of feedback videos, allowing the sound to vibrate inside the body of the spectator, as well as in the surrounding space. The listener participates in a shared experience.

This way to download a PDF of the catalogue. More images: a photo set by Marc Wathieu. And a couple more pictures by me.

update_3 | body sound is on view until June 20 at Zebrastraat in Ghent, Belgium.