BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


November 14, 2007

Thoughts on the Sumi installation

Interior & surrounding space:

Last Saturday I was setting up the Sumi installation and other works at Coriole Winery in a cosy room with a window view that overlooked rolling hills to the west. It was late afternoon and still a touch below thirty degrees with a mild breeze blowing across the courtyard outside. There's always varying levels of apprehension when I enter an exhibition, installation or performance space - a small pang of panic and cold sweat when you see what you have to work with. It's always suprising how a space can be transformed with the addition of a few pictures and by moving a few things here or there. What resembled a slightly disheveled living/dining area upon my arrival had been changed into a credible space for exhibition.

Locating oneself:

I find a corner of the space to set up the work. The amplification and playback modules were discreetly hidden beneath a turn-of the-century cupboard as two sheets of paper were laid down with matching loudspeakers. The audio cables are snaked around the corner and connected to the equipment, the audio signal begins to drip out of the loudspeakers; chirps, drones and hisses fill this corner of the space. As I (im)patiently straighten out the two prints which I regrettably decided to tube-roll at the last minute, I pay close attention to the way the sound is broadcasting in the space. It's a push/pull situation as I try to decide whether to allow the sounds to be barley audible, with a perceptible hiss or click occasionally surfacing, or raise the audio levels so that an audible continuum is constantly present. I settle for the latter option as the sounds from outside (conversations, bird calls, vehicles) have the tendency to completely mask out the sounds of the work in its more discreet moments. The prints are hung and fastened to the wall and the work is successfully installed.

close-up of print detail


When I return on Sunday evening for the exhibition launch, I discreetly adjust the sound levels trying to figure how quiet or loud it should be as a few people begin to move through the space. Throughout the evening I receive many compliments on the work and suggestions that the work could be a little louder or softer (oh well.)

close-up of print detail

It's kind of funny actually that everybody I spoke to about the work seemed to have different opinions on how loud or soft the work should be, I suppose it strengthens my motivations for deciding to sell the work so that the buyer could set it up in their home and adjust the volume level of the work however they wanted to. However the sound level of the work was perceived though, I am of the opinion that the visual component embodied the core emphasis of the work's reception. As (I observed) the ink prints on the wall were the initial focus of attention for people moving through the space, perception would then turn to what was emanating from loudspeakers on the sheets of paper.

close-up of print detail


Of the many things considered following the development and initial reception of the work, the relationship between the visual and sonic elements in operation remains my primary concern. I am looking forward to developing similar works which follow this train of thought.

I think it was a successful foray into visual arts as well.

No comments:

intrepid visitors since 25/1/08