Hearing, Hovering, Humming - Sound Art MFA Music & Arts Library Pop-up Show
Friday, October 28th, 2022, 6-8 pm
701 Dodge Hall, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Hearing: How do we hear? Whether it is music, an ambulance siren, or a classroom discussion, the apparent significations of sound–the words, the implied urgency, and the meaning–are frequently given more attention than the sound itself. However, the form of sound can contain affective power and a wealth of information, ranging from nuances of vocal timbre to traces of global geological activity. This exhibition, Hearing, Hovering, Humming, asks us to pay close attention to sound as a medium and infrastructure, reevaluating invisible relationships and rethinking how we sound out our environment as a whole.
Hovering: The six artists here—Alana DeVito, Char Jeré, Colm Keady-Tabbal, Gladstone Butler, Julian Zehnder, and Merry Sun—use the fundamental relationality of the sonic to create experiences that activate a mix of social, cultural, and ecological entanglements. DeVito presents multiple interpretations of a single musical score, drawing attention to subjectivity and the reciprocal connection between the composer and the performer. Their installation invites us to activate the different performances of the score, dispersed across rows of books, and to experience modulated listening. Jeré and Butler understand hearing as constitutive of knowledge systems and reclassify the categorizations that have influenced our understanding of the auditory. By constructing a compact library kit and spatial sound installation, they both envision a world beyond the constraints of conventional classification and quantification systems. Keady-Tabbal and Zehnder focus on non-human things: the furniture in the room and electromagnetic waves, respectively. Their works reexamine seemingly inert materials as agents actively constructing social space. Last but not least, Sun stages an FM radio transmission walk with the sounds of bird species, allowing the concept of the migratory to roam across species, media, and scales.
Humming: The library has traditionally been a place of silence and stillness.In contrast, Hearing, Hovering, Humming encourages us to actively move throughout the library and contribute with our own sounds. This exhibition is on view only briefly. Nevertheless, the new understanding of the sound's relationship with us–both on the level of individual objects and the entire building–will persist. Hearing, Hovering, Humming invites us to hum as we leave the library and to consider how our humming can be harmonized with the sounds of others, not just humans but otherwise in the surrounding environment.
- Ho Won Kimn (Curator)
For more information, please contact soundart [at] columbia.edu