Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
FormContent and www.formcontent.org, Dalston
7 May - 11 July 2010
Reviewed by: Lucy A. Sames »
The weekly babelic audio stream issuing from FormContent's website over the course of this ten week programme begins - a whimsical jingle, a siren and an imperative with the tone of a tongue in cheek call to arms - 'Have a look! ...Have a look!'. Hailing us to attention, to 'look' at the aural, this paradoxical instruction is followed by a confusion-of-tongues mixtape of readings, performances, compositions and noise.
Exploring the relationship between 'the physicality of an object and the possibility of its oral transmission', Have a Look! Have a Look! poses a complex set of questions around the physical and the oral/aural. Taking its name from a fruit seller's cries as she hails customers to her stall, asking in just those three words that passersby make that vital leap from aural to visual, so this project expects the same.
Each successive week brings a new compilation (totalling 35 artists) and additional objects to the project's physical manifestation at FormContent's gallery space in East London – either the objects that instigated the oral transmission or objects resulting from the oral/aural event. This fluid curatorial approach allowing objects to flow in and out of the space, change position or change format, echoes the open-ended nature of access to the virtual repository – the online listener travels back in time, does not listen chronologically or completely, listens repeatedly or misses items out all together.
Guilty of this erratic listening technique myself, a serendipitous result of the website design allows for my preferred mode of listening – everything all at once. The presumably inadvertent enabling of multitrack playback and the inclusion of discrete volume controls for each episode's player enables the rudimentary mixing of tracks – so Bianca Hester's occasionally rhythmic soundtrack splices over Clare Gasson's lilting and strangely catchy text over Franziska Lantz's discordant gothic organs mutating into borderline synthpop and so on. The overlaid rhythms slip in and out of synch and oscillate between the beautifully eurythmic and the jauntily syncopated before deteriorating painfully and jarringly out of phase.
Whether choosing this strangely impatient, yet simultaneously gluttonous approach to listening or not, this is a project with genuine depth and serious ambition - Have a Look! Have a Look! aims to question dichotomies - aural/visual, physical/virtual – and questions how we might start mapping the territory between these poles.
Lucy A. Sames is an artist, writer and aspiring curator interested in sound and the potentiality of Web 2.0 as creative media.
Lucy lives and works in South London.
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