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Open Sound 2010: play.back.work

Examine the parallels between work, play, and sound in contemporary culture.

Each of these three artworks consider the sound of labour as it coincides with play, recreational culture, and or the “play back” of the recording device.

In Brady Cranfield’s Work Hard, Play Hard, the artist has quite literally used the sounds of his own labour put into the construction of an artwork as the final art piece itself. The recorded hammering sounds of the plinths’ construction–built as they were in the acoustically resonant space of the Surrey Art Centre’s Main Stage–are played back from a trio of portable audio devices. Like most “boomboxes”, these audio playback devices are designed for recreational purposes, however, this particular model has also been designed for construction work sites. The shape and colour of each device has been made to look like a blend of boombox and toolbox.

In Core Dump V3.0, Leonard J. Paul uses computer coding to push the system of the Gameboy console beyond its limit. Paul uses the console’s pre-existing programming along with his own coding to reveal the internal processes that video games run on. Core Dump V3.0 remixes a set of images and sounds related to subject matter rarely presented in the video game world. In doing so, Paul presents both the work involved in the playing of video games and the work required to produce the food or participate in non-carbon based commuting.

Anju Singh’s Work is Worship presents the sound of work as a combination of machine noise and human song. Work is Worship uses a 1950s model sewing machine where the needle and thread have been replaced by an audio-tape loop. Noise drones produced from the modified sewing machine and recordings of religious drone music are played together to create one stereo piece of sound. With this piece, the artist points to the largely invisible and silent cultures of sacred labour and song that goes into the manufacture of some of our most common everyday objects.

Read more about these three projects in the exhibition brochure.

Artists:
Brady Cranfield
Leonard J. Paul
Anju Singh

Sound Thinking 2010
Listen Again: The Changing World of Everyday Sound, Audio, and Noise, and the Future of Sound Studies

Listen Again: The Changing World of Everyday Sound, Audio, and Noise, and the Future of Sound Studies offers a unique perspective on what opportunities sound studies can provide today, and concentrates on three pertinent and engaging sectors: the changing area of sound as a distinct subject for analysis, especially including the growth of sound-based art practices and new forms of popular experimental music as related developments; a reexamination of the influential work and ideas of the World Soundscape Project of the late 1960s and early 1970s at Simon Fraser University, in particular the notions of the Soundscape, the Soundwalk, and Acoustic Ecology; and, finally, a focus on the context of everyday life, emphasizing the prosaic sounds of daily urban life, sounds often held in negative contrast to those of nature. With these themes in mind, which give an ear to the past, present, and future, Listen Again: The Changing World of Everyday Sound, Audio, and Noise, and the Future of Sound Studies performs a valuable addition to the evolving field of sound studies.

Participants: Jonathan Sterne (keynote), Adam Frank, Tim Hecker, Hisham Mayet, ellen moffat, Gabriel Saloman, Jennifer Schine, Andy Dixon

Convener: Brady Cranfield

View the program and participant bios.

Image credit: Installation image of Work Hard, Play Hard by Brady Cranfield in Surrey Arts Centre's courtyard.