At the exhibition Nothing To See, composer and sound artist Morten Poulsen stage the act of listening in a play between foreground and background. Utilizing sound material that exist on the edge of human hearing perception, the installation amplify the local sounding environment and points to the listeners own self-reflexive role therein.
In connection with an artistic residency at Bergen Center for Electronic Arts / BEK in April 2019, Morten experimented with aural conditions that position the listener in the immediate sonic environment, creating situations where composed, accidental and imagined sounds blend together.
Nothing To See I was presented at Art Room/1000Fryd, which is a particularly interesting place for this type of listening, due to the many functions of the house where the exhibition space is situated. From the exhibition room itself, sounds are heard from all parts of the house and together provide surprisingly interesting circumstances for an installation that seeks to highlight the fluid area between hearing and listening.
“Hearing is the unintentional, passive receiving of sound through our ears.We do this all the time, even when we sleep.
To listen, on the other hand, is the intentional act of directing our hearing towards something. In this state we are able to listen with all parts of the body and as we situate ourself into a sonic environment, we listen with all our preconceived understandings of ourself and our surroundings.
At the exhibition Nothing to See, the artist is exploring the area between passive hearing and active listening, pointing to the role of the listener within a sounding environment.The tones used in the installation was found through a process of careful listening to the empty exhibition space itself, dissecting one by one the many subtle pitches that make up the sonic characteristics of the room. More than 20 concrete tones are then played back into the room through loudspeakers installed in benches, mixing in very subtle ways with the actual sounds from the space, providing a mood that is experienced both when hearing and when listening.This creates a possibility for composed, environmental and imagined sounds to blend together.” – exhibition text
Materials: two wooden benches with acoustic foam, four transducers, computer, sound system, cables
Thanks to Arthur Mnscr.
Nothing To See I was supported by The Danish Arts Foundation and KODA Culture.