A row of people looking at a long white box

Three works of audio art address voice and translation.

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Surrey Art Gallery - 13750 88 Ave

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Exhibition Details

In English grammar, the phrase “nests built by birds” is used an example of passive voice in the relation between the subject and the object expressed. Through its repetition of letters and inference of birdsong, “nests built by birds” is a phrase that evokes notions of song and speech. In these three sound projects, sound art installation about voice becomes as delicate and powerful as the nests built by birds.

The first project, Clang Clagan by the collective Ensemble SISYPHE, made up of Andrea Young and André Cormier, is a computer-assisted voice and viola installation about marking time.

Read more about this project in the exhibition brochure.

Based on an autobiographical story that revolves around the artist’s great-grandfather’s journey from the Punjab to Kenya, Dipna Horra’s Dhunia - Part One animates everyday domestic objects with sound and voices recounting tales of movement, migration, and transculturation.

Read more about this project in the exhibition brochure.

Part sculpture and part musical instrument, ellen moffat’s vBox unfolds the music at the heart of speech. vBox is part of a larger body of sound-based artworks where the artist uses the smallest linguistic unit of the spoken language–known as phonemes–as central elements of the work. Visitors can interact with the artwork in real time using buttons, knobs, sliders, and switches as a solo or collaborative effort to alter tempo, rhythm, and amplitude. In doing so, the work emits a wondrous array of spatialized linguistic sounds that resemble fragments of conversation. The polyphonic composition is inspired by Dadaist sound poetry as sonic play and linguistic meaning.

Ensemble SISYPHE
Dipna Horra
ellen moffat

Sound Thinking 2011
Active Voice—Vocality as Medium, Object, and Material

Surrey Art Gallery’s 2011 Sound Thinking symposium Active Voice: Vocality as Medium, Object and Material explores the theme of voice.

“The voice is in the air”: so began Michel Chion in his 1982 study The Voice in Cinema. Stressing the voice as airborne and immaterial, Chion’s comment recognizes the presence of the voice as a material object, as an object of power, consequence, adoration, fetishization, and disavowal. Recent scholarship has emphasized the importance of this material voice—what some scholars have termed an object voice—that is both more than and less than meaning.

Not consumed or eradicated in the conveyance of meaning, the object voice disturbs, disorients, and pushes the boundaries of thought itself. From its pre-linguistic manifestations (breath, whimper, scream) to its mechanical repetition, signature grain or overwhelming presence over and beyond sense, the object voice calls on us to pursue it further, to listen attentively and to heed its reverberations and implications. By raising the voice to an object for inquiry and investigation, this symposium seeks to examine the voice as an object, an object of excess and resonance with material and philosophical weight, both with and beyond linguistic sense or the structures of meaningful speech.

Participants: Steven Connor (keynote), Ross Birdwise, Clint Burnham, Karilynn Ming Ho, Lief Hall, Dipna Horra, Janice Kerbel, Harkeerat Mangat, Tomasz Michalak, Judy Radul

Conveners: Lisa Coulthard & Jordan Strom

View the program and participant bios.