IN, OF, FROM: EXPERIMENTS IN SOUND

CURATORIAL STATEMENT

 
Picture1.png

View of the installation design

 

In, Of, From: Experiments in Sound

University Gallery, UF

September 10, 2020 – December 5, 2020

In, Of, From: Experiments in Sound is an exhibition that explores new ways of understanding the relationship between art and new media. University Galleries was granted the funds for this exhibition by Creative B, a program funded 10 years ago to consolidate the collective resources and talents of the many creative activities at University of Florida, which is focused this year in the relation between art & technology.


This is exhibition will focus in a group of contemporary artists that have been experimenting with sound in their work and is being organized in collaboration with artists Cecilia López and Jules Gimbrone. The exhibition intends to response to the invitation to explore the relationship between art and technology by understanding how important is to bring critical views to this relationship in our current cultural context saturated with the presence and abuse of technology.


The artists included in the exhibition go beyond the celebratory response that generates a simplistic reaction to the possibilities of collaboration and integration of the arts with other disciplines. Instead of the quest for virtuosity and illusionism that pervades non-critical approaches we have found that the most interesting artists experimenting with sound today bring a different and more complex experience to the art context and demand a more engage viewer.


Most of the works in the exhibition creates a tension with and question accepted forms of understanding art practices. This kind of works require to rethink the specifics temporalities and spatiality of exhibition making and open up a discussion that we consider significant to create new dialogues in the academic context and beyond.


The exhibition will be divided in three different forms of presentations: the main installations (Stages), referential works by historic artists (Documents) and related artists’ interventions (Walls). The main installations will be presented by Cecilia López, Jules Gimbrone and Nikita Gale. For Cecilia López one of the more interesting and unique characteristics of this type of artistic practice engaged in sound experiments is to explore the material, almost sculptural qualities of sound pieces as in the case with a generation of artists that has been working for the last twenty years. The idea of giving a sound piece a certain degree of autonomy speaks both of its complex relations to the art system standard forms of valorization and to a different understanding of the conditions of receivership.


The title In, Of, From: Experiments in Sound is a reference to the exhibition Inside the Visible: An Elliptical Traverse of Twentieth Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine curated by Cathy de Zegher in which she argues for on the feminine as subject in constant flux in the same way we understand the artists experiment with sound as engaging in a practice that implies to question the fixed identities associated with art. As de Zegher wrote in her catalogue essay for the exhibition, her curatorial “working method allows gender to be considered not as constituted coherently in different historical contexts but as intersected by racial, class, ethnic, sexual, and regional modalities of discursively constituted identities,” and understanding of how to approach difference and multiplicity that has become increasingly pertinent in our times. For us, concomitantly, to engage in an exhibition where the works deal with sound is to work with a matter in constant flux. The subtitle, Experiments in Sound refers to the legendary collective Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) a funded in 1967 by engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman, that also produced the mythical series of performances known as 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering in 1966.

 

Works in the Exhibition

Scene: One

Cecilia López / Fanfarria (TBC)

Artist Bio:

Cecilia Lopez is a composer, musician and multimedia artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her work explores perception and transmission processes focusing on the relationship between sound technologies and listening practices. She works across the media of performance, sound, installation, sculpture and the creation of sound devices. She holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and an MA from Wesleyan University in composition.


Title: RED (d), 2020

Speaker cable, speaker cones, piezoelectric microphones, drums.

Dimensions 36W x 36W x 80H


RED, in its different iterations, is a piece that investigates interactions with unstable acoustic feedback systems. It is simultaneously a sculpture and a sonic process. The piece consists on a speaker-wire weaved net that contains drums and snare drums and functions as a complex sound producing feedback organism. The cables that make up the net are connected to speakers and contact microphones turning its structure into a instrument that resonates with the bodies of the drums.


Being physically hung from the ceiling, it attracts the audience’s attention as a living and autonomous object, around which there is no neutral point of listening. The audience is invited to be part of the space, where they both affect and are affected by the sound phenomena. Sound is modulated by “presence” and occupies the space as acoustic architecture.

Curricular engagements Fanfarria: art and sounds, acoustic architecture spectatorship, affect, gender studies, representation, institutional critique, body-space relationships.

Scene: Two

Jules Gimbrone / TRAPS and TRANSMUTATIONS

Artist Bio:

Jules Gimbrone (b. 1982 Pittsburgh; lives and works in NYC) creates fragile corporeal sound and sculptural ensembles that highlight the differentiations between modes of perceptual acquisition—specifically visual and sonic—within complex and precarious arrangements of subjects and objects.

Traps and Transmutations, 2 is a cosmology of vibrating actants and actors composed on a resonating stage. The traps come in the appearance of static forms, recording mechanisms and quantifiable technologies. The transmutations are all of the forces pushing away from, cutting, degrading and liberating these forms. Sound as a form of energy transfer, literally pushes through the forms: knives, cast soap, water balls, microphones cast in resin, and a desiccated banana are all cast into vibratory ecstasy through a composition of audio included the artist’s breath blowing up a balloon, the recording of the motor of a fan, and a series of feedback exercises with the stage. The most explicit symbol of the body, a 5 ft resonating glass vessel is filled with salt water and other organic detritus is animated by the artist’s voice chanting the phrase “concave, convex” as a sort of transubstantiatiatory ritual. 


At what point is a vibrating sack of molecules legible as an object? What makes it so and what are the forces that act upon it to assist or degrade this legibility? Is the convex curve of a hip enough to signify a gender? At what point does that curve become a symbol? Can we chart the precise moment of categorization? What are the possibilities if we can’t?


https://vimeo.com/146852806


Curricular engagements TRAPS and TRANSMUTATIONS: art and sounds, transgression, gender + LGBTQI studies, representation, institutional critique, body-space relationships.

 
Gimbrone.png

Traps and Transmutations, 2

 

Scene: Three

Nikita Gale / INTERCEPTOR and DECENT

Artist Bio:

Nikita Gale is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, California and holds a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeological Studies from Yale University and earned an MFA in New Genres at UCLA. Gale's practice is often structured by long-term obsessions with specific objects and the ways these objects gesture towards particular social and political histories.

Acoustic foam, felt, audio cable, and music stands are materials Los Angeles-based artist Nikita Gale often employs to visually articulate the mechanics of sound and to point to the intertwined histories of politics and “the crowd.” Gale’s large, multi-part installations are also informed by the relationship between histories of protest and the urban landscape and, more recently, new theories about mass communication, social relationships, and listening. Gale’s work features familiar forms, such as crowd control barricades, that signify control and power; however, the artist reconfigures these items in new orientations which grant them new currency and meaning. Gale’s site-responsive installations consider the specific architectural features of a site, drawing our attention to the corners, the seams, the edges, and other interstitial spaces that are often overlooked but are integral to the structural foundation of the building.


As part of the exhibition In, Of, From: Experiments in Sound, we are included the installation INTERCEPTOR (2019–20). It is a work that adds a complex dimension to the idea of experimenting with sound. INTERCEPTOR departs from a nineteenth-century barricade design (based on an “ideal barricade” construction by Louis-Auguste Blanqui from his Manual for an Armed Insurrection, 1866). The work’s relation to sound is visual or metaphoric, because it is a soundless piece. According to Nikita, was a consequence of “thinking about the infrastructure of crowd control,” and she “became interested in the ubiquity of barricades at protests and other large public gatherings like concerts and political rallies. Barricades have origins in a very radical material tradition, having been made out of refuse by the working classes in nineteenth-century France to block and redirect the flow of street traffic as a means of protecting themselves against state violence. These structures also served as social spaces and ad hoc stages for these citizen insurgents to address one another. Through the advent of mass production and appropriation, barricades have now become a mobile architecture that controls how crowds and audiences are allowed to take up space; they are no longer technologies of “the people” but are now technologies of authority. The freedom to speak and to listen is negated by the physical control rendered by barricades’ presence.


For Gale, opaque refusal represents a parallel inheritance, passed down from protest movements and uprisings throughout history. In 1992, the Los Angeles uprising opened up a chasm amid the breakdown of civic discourse, public language and conversation—allowing a truer expression, consisting of action and destruction of property and bodies, to fill the streets: NO LANGUAGE, NO DISCOURSE. A generation before, the citizen insurgents of France took personal belongings from their homes and put them in the streets, blocking traffic, encrypting the city and rendering it unnavigable. This is how oppressed groups assert opacity and refusal.

I’m a descendant of systems of understanding the environment and systems in which the most valuable thing you have is your name.

The artist was named Nikita by her parents upon birth. She inherited a surname, which was not Gale. (“Gale” is a middle name several female members of her family on the maternal side share). The legal name which Gale refuses is the one by which she is identified by the government, by the system—capitalism and law. Gale’s disavowal calls out that name as a marker of state surveillance, exploitation, and oppression.

https://www.contemporaryand.com/exhibition/nikita-gale-descent/


Curricular engagements DESCENT: art and sounds, video art, rebellion, state surveillance, gender + LGBTQI studies, representation, institutional critique, African American history.

INTERCEPTOR considers exclusion and protection, radical expression, and how the regulation of space influences the regulation of speech and listening. 


Curricular engagements INTERCEPTOR: art and sounds, rebellion, barricades, institutional critique, African American history.

 
 

For Gale, opaque refusal represents a parallel inheritance, passed down from protest movements and uprisings throughout history. In 1992, the Los Angeles uprising opened up a chasm amid the breakdown of civic discourse, public language and conversation—allowing a truer expression, consisting of action and destruction of property and bodies, to fill the streets: NO LANGUAGE, NO DISCOURSE. A generation before, the citizen insurgents of France took personal belongings from their homes and put them in the streets, blocking traffic, encrypting the city and rendering it unnavigable. This is how oppressed groups assert opacity and refusal.

I’m a descendant of systems of understanding the environment and systems in which the most valuable thing you have is your name.

The artist was named Nikita by her parents upon birth. She inherited a surname, which was not Gale. (“Gale” is a middle name several female members of her family on the maternal side share). The legal name which Gale refuses is the one by which she is identified by the government, by the system—capitalism and law. Gale’s disavowal calls out that name as a marker of state surveillance, exploitation, and oppression.

https://www.contemporaryand.com/exhibition/nikita-gale-descent/


Curricular engagements DESCENT: art and sounds, video art, rebellion, state surveillance, gender + LGBTQI studies, representation, institutional critique, African American history.

 
Gale (Descent).png

DESCENT, 2019
HD video with audio
Courtesy Commonwealth & Council

 

Scene Four

Thessia Machado 

contents: ug, 2019-2020

Artist Bio:

Thessia Machado is a visual/sound artist, instrument builder, and performer whose work plumbs the materiality of sound and its effect on our shifting perceptions of space. She creates circumstances in which to mine the matter of her pieces for their innate physical properties and the sonic and visual relationships that can arise from their interactions.


[graphic of list TBD], audio files, audio players and headphones. 2020


An arbitrary and non-scientific system of transposing data gathered from the University of Florida into a sonic portrait of the space and its functioning.

Two sets of numbers gleaned from the campus at large (e.g., year of founding, total square footage…) and the student body (gender ratio, nationality distribution...) are input into a frequency generator to produce sine waves. The resulting tones are used to compose a sonic diptych that reveals the interactions between the pitches – frequency beating, cancellations and other interferences that make physical this abstract information. What does it sound like to play the number of graduate students and the length of the annual dance marathon together?


This work is part of an ongoing series of portraits of spaces. The usual method would involve me spending time in a space to get a more direct, physical experience. Since this was not possible, it ended up creating an interesting reflection of our current locked-out condition and the novel ways to interact we had to adapt to – an extra layer of mediation is added to the chain of translations and transformations that drive the series.


When researching UF for data I could use, I was again reminded of the subtle interactions between architecture and people; how a structure can affect us in subliminal ways.

And I also like to imagine a reciprocal flow, imbuing the buildings with generations of energetic material. *

The headers locus and energy, used to group the data points into lists, also serve as a reminder, in these here times of isolation, of how much that animating energy is dependent on bodies sharing a space.

https://thessiamachado.com/portfolio/contents-acc-operations/

Curricular engagements Transient Modes & Antinodes: art and sounds, spectatorship, experimental music, representation, institutional critique, body-space relationships.

Documents: (videos and sounds)

I

Nao Nishihara

Taipei Syntheticmediart 2019

Nao Nishihara

Diligent Machine

2019

HD video documentation of the installation as presented at Taipei Syntheticmediart, 2019


Nishihara's Diligent Machine is a towering six-meter high assemblage that slowly moves across a 17-meter-long track. Its title suggests that the mechanism is constructed for work, yet its performance is unhurried. Reflecting on the hyper speed at which society moves today, Nishihara proposes a reconsideration of what efficiency and work entail. 


About this work Nishihara says “Working on sound for years, I notice myself obeying the sound. You have to hear and follow what a sound tells you to do. It may say, for example, ‘stronger!’ or ‘softer’ or ‘use a heavier mallet!’ In this way, sounds always talk to you and you create a work together. That is how this machine was made.” 


Artist Bio:

Nao Nishihara is an active interdisciplinary practitioner of sound activities, sound art, performance and instruments production. Recent exhibitions include Machine with Heart again (2020, Bankart Yokohama), SUPER-TRAJECTORY (2019, Tainan City Art Museum, Tainan), Kangkangee Art Project (2018, Busan Korea), Hiroshima City Contemporary Art Museum (2017, Hiroshima). He has recently performed at Folly Systems: A Real-Time Media Festival (2019, Roulette Intermedium NYC), and Super Deluxe Tokyo, Experimental Intermedia NY, Judson Memorial Church NY, 2016.  


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktvHvXCXD7I

II

Adrian Piper

Bach Whistled, 1970

Sound piece

Duration: 00:44:07

Bach Whistled is a durational performance soundtrack in which Piper whistles along to recordings of Bach's Concertos in D Minor, A Minor, and C Major, respectively. At the beginning the whistling is relatively strong, clear and on key. As the performance progresses it becomes weaker, flatter, and more plaintive. In conjunction with this exhibition the University Galleries is presenting Adrian Piper Dance Lessons at the Gary R. Libby Gallery, located on the first floor of Fine Arts Building C in the School of Art and Art History.


Artist Bio:

Adrian Piper is a prolific artist, philosopher, and pioneer of conceptual art, who has profoundly shaped the field through her diversification of art practices and introduction of feminist, post-colonial, and black histories into conceptualist practices.


http://www.adrianpiper.com/vs/sound_bach.shtml


III

stevie may & Lucie Vítková @ *performance wine & autumnal pie* 1 of 2

https://vimeo.com/244588775


Lucie Vítková, stevie may

Twins Performance Project (Lucie Vítková + stevie may)

2017

HD video documentation of performance


Presented here is a video recording of a performance shared on the evening October 28, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY, in which stevie may dances as Lucie Vítková performs on a synthesizer, surrounded by various objects. The performance was organized by Kirsten Scnittker, Amity Jones, and Tara Sheena.


Artist Bio:

Lucie Vítková is a composer, improviser and performer (accordion, harmonica, hichiriki, voice, and tap dance) from the Czech Republic. Her compositions focus on sonification (compositions based on abstract models derived from physical objects), while in her improvisation practice she explores characteristics of discrete spaces through the interaction between sound and movement.


stevie may is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in movement, sound, video, and textiles. Her work is loosely centered on developing practices aimed at dismantling patriarchal values and assumptions and complicating feminism as a transwoman. stevie has an ongoing collaborative sound and movement practice with Lucie Vítková, and has worked extensively with the Bureau for the Future of Choreography

 

Artists bios


Cecilia Lopez is a composer, musician and multimedia artist from Buenos Aires,

Argentina. Her work explores perception and transmission processes focusing on the relationship between sound technologies and listening practices. She works across the media of performance, sound, installation, sculpture and the creation of sound devices. She holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and an MA from Wesleyan University in composition (2016). Her work has been performed and exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Center for Contemporary Arts (Vilnius, Lithuania),Festival Internacional Tsonami de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Roulette Intemedium (NY), Issue Project Room (NY), The Kitchen (NY), Ostrava Days Festival 2011 (Czech Republic), MATA Festival 2012 (NY), Experimental Intermedia (NY), Fridman Galley (NY), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway) and Ende Tymes Festival (NY), Festival Punto de Encuentro organized by the Asociación de Música Electroacústica de España (Spain) and the Cuenca Biennial 2018 among others. She was a Civitella Ranieri fellow in 2015 and has participated in various residency programs such as: Atlantic Center for the Arts, Ostrava Days Institute, Harvestworks and Rupert Residency. She has collaborated in projects with Carmen Baliero, Carrie Schneider and Lars Laumann, among others.


Scenario Two


Jules Gimbrone (b. 1982 Pittsburgh; lives and works in NYC) creates fragile corporeal sound and sculptural ensembles that highlight the differentiations between modes of perceptual acquisition—specifically visual and sonic—within complex and precarious arrangements of subjects and objects. Building on this is an expansive idea of the phenomenology of resonance–social performativity, identity development, subject/object relationships, etc.–all being inherent to the accumulation of layers that are built on materially transparent, fragile, surfaces. Resonance, as a set of conditions or relationships between things, becomes activated and legible through light and sound then complicated through abstraction and perceptual manipulations.

Combining sound and objects into immersive aural and haptic environments, Gimbrone re-engineer sites of past and current performances with audio transduction equipment, producing installations that transform the sounds of performance into a physical and material experience. For Gimbrone, the temporal and indeterminate properties of sound is more methodology than medium and can take on forms ranging from sculpture, recordings, performances, installations, and scores.

Using a variety of recording and amplifying technologies—in addition to materials such as glass, clay, ice, and the processes of decomposition—Gimbrone investigates how sound travels through space, bodies, and language as a way of exploring hidden or sublimated gendered systems. Concerned with the tension between conceptual power systems and their inevitable demise, the container and the contained, the visual and the sonic, the work exposes multiple queerings of the performative and pre-formative body.

Gimbrone’s works have appeared at such venues as Stellar Projects, SculptureCenter, ISSUE Project Room, The Rubin Museum, MOMA PS1, REDCAT, Human Resources LA, Park View Gallery, Vox Populi, and Théâtre de l’Usine, Geneva, Switzerland. Gimbrone received an MFA in Music Composition and Integrated Media from CalARTS in 2014. In 2018 Gimbrone received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and was accepted to In Practice at SculptureCenter.




Scenario Three


Nikita Gale

Nikita Gale is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, California and holds a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeological Studies from Yale University and earned an MFA in New Genres at UCLA. Gale's practice is often structured by long-term obsessions with specific objects and the ways these objects gesture towards particular social and political histories. Gale uses ubiquitous consumer technologies as frameworks to consider how individuals potentially reproduce their relationships to objects within their relationships to psychic space and political, social, and economic systems. For Gale, the term “reproduction” is as much a mechanical, technical process as it is a process rooted in sex, biology and the organic.
On a more physical register, Gale’s work points to the ways that many technologies can be understood as instruments that extend or amplify the body through a relationship to touch. Reproduction connects humans to a desire for extension and amplification both biologically and through industrial processes. By engaging with materials that have properties that are simultaneously acoustic and protective, Gale’s recent work considers the role of audience as a social arena and examines the ways in which silence and noise function as political positions and conditions.

Nikita’s work has recently been exhibited at MoMA PS1 (New York); LACE (Los Angeles); Commonwealth and Council (Los Angeles); Matthew Marks Gallery (Los Angeles); The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York); Rodeo Gallery (London); Ceysson & Benetiere (Paris); and in “Made in L.A. 2018” at the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). Gale’s work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Art21, AQNB, Frieze, Vogue, and Flash Art. Nikita currently serves on the Board of Directors for GREX, the west coast affiliate of the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.



Scene Four


Thessia Machado is a visual/sound artist, instrument builder and performer whose work plumbs the materiality of sound and its effect on our shifting perceptions of space. She creates circumstances in which to mine the matter of her pieces for their innate physical properties and the sonic and visual relationships that can arise from their interactions. In improvised and composed performed works, the ensemble of things is augmented by a dynamically responsive and intentionally unpredictable human element. Electronics are almost always implicated.


Machado’s sculptures, drawings and sound installations have been broadly exhibited both in the US and Europe; most recently in a solo show at the Arts Club of Chicago in early 2019. She has performed with her handmade and modified instruments in both respectable institutions, such as the Drawing Center, The American Academy in Berlin, Issue Project Room, and in dilapidated basements and experimental spaces throughout Brooklyn and beyond. She was awarded the Berlin Prize at the American Academy in Berlin and the Artist’s Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2017. Machado has attended residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Homesession, Barcelona, Yaddo, Ipark, NARS Foundation, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Experimental Television Center and The Bronx Museum. In the fall of 2019 Machado was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College, VT, and in the the spring of 2020 she’ll be coaxing righteous/joyous noises from the students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.