Image: Installation view (with Michael Mahalchick, Brook Hsu, Sarah Kurten, Sofi Brazzeal, Michel Auder, Nicolas Guagnini, and Dawn Kasper) of The Split, GRIN, Providence, RI, 2017
Alexandra Drewchin (Eartheater)
FlucT (Monica Mirabile and Sigrid Lauren)
Celia Hollander ($3.33)
A-V is a sound exhibition curated by Amanda Schmitt, including artists Maria Antelman, Anna Barham, Alexandra Drewchin (Eartheater), FlucT (Monica Mirabile and Sigrid Lauren), Celia Hollander ($3.33), Marina Rosenfeld, and Byron Westbrook. Four of the artists have been invited to consign an edition for Daata Editions.
In the pre-MTV era, sound and music allowed the listener to conjure images using their own imagination, and often an audio composition would precede an artists’ creation of an image, performance or visual production. In the digital millennium that model has been reversed, as moving images are rarely presented without an accompanying subordinate audio component.
Conversely and concurrently, imaging is a crucial component of commercial music, generally dominated by the subject matter demarcated by the language in the lyrics. Both in independent artistic or mass media commercialized formats, 21st-century audio and visual seem to be inevitably married.
A-V is an exhibition that presents Sound as a medium in a singular context, rather than in tandem with image or language. The exhibition presents seven artworks that are meant to be heard and not seen, eponymously presenting audio without visual. A proposed argument of this exhibition is to present sound without imposed images, and to present sound without following the imposition of meaning created by language.
To paraphrase the historian Jonathan Crary, the advent of synchronized sound, image, and narrative has “transformed the nature of attention” that is demanded of a viewer. (1.) This particular exhibition context, on Daata Editions, reverses this model and forces the viewer –or in this case the listener – to slow down and engage with the artwork from beginning to end. Without a visual component, artwork cannot be taken in with a simple glance; it must be consumed durationally.
As the listener engages with each piece and lets imagery be triggered, any idea of curatorial thematic agency entwined with the primacy of discourse is dissipated. Either the listener conjures an image and thus has the agency, or the sound triggers images, thus demonstrating that the sound itself has agency. In many instances, both can happen. A-V seeks to dismantle the spectacular power of the “infection” of the imposed image and return the authority of subjectivity to the perceiver. (2.)
(1.) Crary, Jonathan. “Spectacle, Attention, Counter-Memory.” October 50, Fall 1989, pp. 97-107.
(2.) Kauffman, Vincent. “Angels of Purity.” October 79, Winter 1997, pp. 49-68.