LISTEN: A SOUND ART EXHIBITION

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Opening: JULY 5 | 7-10PM
Exhibitions: JULY 6-SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

Project 924
ArtCenter/South Florida
924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

LISTEN is a sound art exhibition compiled by Gustavo Matamoros from material—experiments, adaptations and collaborations—originally created for the Listening Gallery between 2011-2015, and adapted to fit the acoustic character of ArtCenter/SouthFlorida’s Project 924 space.

LISTEN features 9 original and collaborative sound works produced during residencies at Audiotheque by Russell Frehling, David Dunn, Rene Barge, Armando Rodringuez, Jaap Block, Chris Mann; and presented inside a visual art installation by Freddy Jouwayed

LISTEN was commissioned by ArtCenter/South Florida as part of Subtropics 24

The works in the exhibition include:


RUSSELL FREHLING

Art Is Not A Commodity (2011)

Art Is Not A Commodity by Russell Frehling was the first piece commissioned for the Listening Gallery. It consists of frozen waveforms—extremely short loops of audio resembling the way a photograph freezes a subject in motion—extracted from ambient noises recorded on site. Frehling distilled from these waveforms only the uppermost spectral components, resulting in delicate ethereal timbres, which in the outdoor setting of the Listening Gallery, interacted with the real-time ambient noise in curious and unpredictable ways. In LISTEN, the frozen waves have been tuned to activate higher resonances in this new indoor architecture.

Russell Frehling (born in Miami, 1952) was awarded the Reiner Prize for music composition from Brandeis University where he received his B.A. in 1974. Following a period of independent study with Pauline Oliveros and Morton Feldman he was invited to the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College earning an M.F.A. in Electronic Music and Recording Media under Robert Ashley and David Behrman. On grants from several ecological organizations, Frehling spent two winters in Iki, Japan developing an underwater sound system designed to alleviate the conflict between dolphins and fishermen competing for the same resources. Frehling’s own work continues to develop from his concern with the direct and real-time experience of sounds on their own terms, as unique physical entities occupying space as well as time. He has lately concentrated on large-scale sound installations for a variety of architectural and natural settings.


DAVID DUNN

Thresholds And Fragile States At The Sea Of Cortez (2012)

This piece features Dunn’s own instrument—a network of oscillators that disrupt and redirect each other and generate autonomous sound. Dunn compares it to living ecological networks he has explored in the past among bark beetles and underwater insects. A second layer is a field recording at an estuary of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Here, the sounds of this natural environment meet the sounds of the oscillators network, not unlike the interaction of freshwater and salt water that takes place at the estuary. For LISTEN, these two layers are distributed to the odd and even speakers of the multichannel system.

David Dunn (b.1953, San Diego) is a composer who primarily engages in site-specific interactions or research-oriented activities. He is a member of SFCA [isaw+subtropics]’s sound art collective/ensemble Frozen Music. As a pioneer in the fields of acoustic ecology, bioacoustics, interspecies communication, and scientific sonification, he has composed a body of innovative and experimental musical work and has contributed to projects as diverse as sensory enhancement of healthcare environments, intervention strategies for forest and agricultural pests, reducing sensory deprivation problems in captive animals, and the design of international broadcast networks.


RENE BARGE

Prism Break (2012)

This soundscape incorporates sounds performed by Rene Barge inside our Flux Piano Suite piano. A tritone relationship between two different hammered piano strings, along with added high and low pitched drones and slowed down vocalizations, lend Prism Break a mysterious cinematic quality that seems static but transforms slowly over time. The quietude and surround configuration of the LISTEN exhibit amplifies the moody nature of this piece, while the convex qualities of its original Listening Gallery site tended to soften its dramatic impact, focusing the passerby’s ear on the interactions with the constant street noises.

Born in Miami in 1972, René Barge’s work includes drawing, painting, collage, sculptural objects and sound installation. He was an audio engineering student from 1991 – 93 and a visual art student from 1994 – 99; his major in Time Based Arts was under the guidance of Christine Tamblyn. During the years 1992 – 2002 René Barge performed with Cavity. He began performing solo and collaborative concerts in 1995 and began installing work in 1999. In 2007 he established Fron-d, an online label dedicated to making his sound work and collaborations accessible. In 2009, he began collaborating with sound artists Gustavo Matamoros and David Dunn as a member of Frozen Music (FM)—SFCA [isaw+subtropics]’s artist research collective.


ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ

Radiance II (2012)

Radiance II is a serenely quiet piece that invites contemplation by way of its abstract minimalist structure. It consists of single pure tones that gradually stack upon each other into tone clusters, first ascending to a single high tone, then descending to the original starting tone. When tuned properly as an installation, the work tends to work similarly in and outdoors. The form of the piece responds to a symmetric visual structure and the audible is akin to the visual effect of the Optic Art of the 1960s.

Armando Rodríguez Ruidíaz (Havana-Cuba – 1951) musical composition at the Superior Institute of Arts and the National School of Arts in Havana, Cuba, where he later he became professor of guitar and music theory. He received a National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba Music Composition Award in 1978. In 1985, Armando Rodríguez relocated to the USA, where he received in 1991 an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the State of Florida. His music has been performed by the Philadelphia-based Relâche ensemble, and others in events such as Bang on a Can Festival, Las Primeras Jornadas de Música Contemporánea de Sevilla, the São Paulo Biennial, the Latinamerican and Caribbean Music Forums and the Subtropics Festival in Miami, Florida. In 1990, Rodríguez co-founded with composer Gustavo Matamoros the PUNTO Experimental Music Ensemble, a contemporary music-pioneering project in Miami, Florida.

GUSTAVO MATAMOROS
Sounding Through Empty Words (2012)

The original version of this piece was created to celebrate the centennial of John Cage’s birth. To make it, I used SFCA [isaw+subtropics]’s own recording of Cage’s 1991 Subtropics Festival performance of Empty Words to give shape and activate the resonant frequencies of the Listening Gallery’s open architecture. With permission of his publisher C.F. Peters I was able to include the recording of Cage’s voice in the original installation for the centennial. This time only the resonances belonging to the Project 924 space—and not Cage’s voice, which activates them—is heard.

 

GUSTAVO MATAMOROS
Sin Ninguna Imperfección (2013)

This soundscape combines different classes of recorded sounds—those of musical instruments, the voice, and electronically produced sweeps and pure tones—presented together as in single experience. But, like in Cubist and Surreal painting, each element’s proportions are perceivably off-scale. In addition, typically static sounds, like those of pianos and percussion instruments, move around from speaker to speaker like birds do from tree to tree. The stuttering voice is that of Argentinean composer Ricardo Dal Farra. The instrumental sounds were performed by percussionist Jan Williams and myself and were recorded at SUNY Buffalo in 1991.

 

 

Born in Venezuela in 1957 and based in Miami, Gustavo Matamoros is a composer, sound artist, community designer, and artistic director and founder of the Subtropics Biennial of experimental music and sound art (since 1989). He has collaborated with Alison Knowles, Dorothea Schurch, Davey Williams, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jaap Blonk, David Behrman, Russell Frehling, Chris Mann, Fast Forward, Gino Robair, Bob Gregory, Charles Recher, and Sam Ashley. Matamoros directs the sound art project, Frozen Music (FM)—a collaboration with David Dunn and René Barge. In 2009, more than 50,000 people attending Miami Beach’s Sleepless Night 2009 experienced FM’s inaugural 13 hour-long piece, Canal.


PUNTO

Flow (2013)

Flow is a multichannel piece using a variety of instruments performed by PUNTO members Gustavo Matamoros and Armando Rodriguez. It follows the concept of Scattered Unison— a mind-reading game resulting from the effort by musicians to play the same notes simultaneously that a leading musician improvises. The result sounds sometimes like an orchestra tuning and other times like something thicker along the lines of a bee swarm. In the context of this installation, the instruments also chase each other from one loudspeaker to another.

PUNTO is a composer-based ensemble committed to the performance of works conceptual and experimental in nature. Founded in 1990 by composers Gustavo Matamoros and Armando Rodríguez, PUNTO utilizes new and old technology to develop aural and visual materials that combine to convey the processes and ideas inherent in experimental and conceptual music.

JAAP BLONK
Oiste? (2013)

The vocalizations in Jaap Blonk’s Oistes? are informed by sound poetry and improvisation. This piece also incorporates bilingual dramatizations of horoscope predictions, as well as the call: “Pssst! Have you heard?” which in the context of the Listening Gallery helped stop people literately on their tracks, asking of them to pay attention point blank. As part of LISTEN, we now have a chance to admire the qualities of the countless timbres Jaap is capable of uttering using only his mouth.

JAAP BLONK (born 1953 in Woerden, Holland) is a self-taught composer, performer and poet. He discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in reciting poetry and later on in improvisations and his own compositions. For almost two decades the voice was his main means for the discovery and development of new sounds. After 2000 Blonk started work with electronics, at first using samples of his own voice, then extending the field to include pure sound synthesis as well. His renewed interest in mathematics made him start a research of the possibilities of algorithmic composition for the creation of music, visual animation and poetry.

CHIS MANN
The Use, Listening Gallery version (2015)

A feature of Chris Mann’s The Use is the manner in which he performs speech, packing enormous amounts of information in ever-shorter amounts of time. For this version of the piece—which Chris invited me to create from the material available on his website—I selected eight segments, each performed online in real-time. Played together, these segments result in a dense texture, similar to boiling water, where the bubbles are heard as clear speech utterances emerging up from an unintelligible brew. The separation of the speakers also helps us better discern the differences between the lines.

CHRIS MANN (born in Australia, 1949) is a composer, poet and performer specializing in the emerging field of compositional linguistics, coined by Kenneth Gaburo and described by Mann as “the mechanism whereby you understand what I’m thinking better than I do”. Studied Chinese and linguistics at the University of Melbourne, and his interest in language, systems, and philosophy is evident in his work. Mann founded the New Music Centre in 1972 and taught at the State College of Victoria in the mid-1970s. He then left teaching to work on research projects involving cultural ideas of information theory and has been recognized by UNESCO for his work in that field. Mann moved to New York in the 1980s and was an associate of American composers John Cage and Kenneth Gaburo. He has performed text in collaboration with artists such as Thomas Buckner, David Dunn, Annea Lockwood, Larry Polansky, and Robert Rauschenberg. Mann has recorded with the ensemble Machine For Making Sense with Amanda Stewart and others. Mann teaches in the Media Studies Graduate program at The New School.

FREDDY JOUWAYED
LISTEN, A Visual Installation (2017)

The visual component of this exhibition was conceived in response to parameters like light filtering, ideal loudspeaker placement and ideal separation of the audience from the sound sources. The translucent structure outlines a room within a room and creates conditions that aim to promote listening by taming and minimizing visual stimulus.

Freddy Jouwayed (born in 1972, Venezuela) is a visual artist with extensive experience creating and designing large-scale architectural environments. He exhibits primarily in South Florida galleries and institutions. He is best known for his work with the collaborative art collective 3PQ, collaborations with other artists, and for his curatorial projects and exhibition designs for the Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale (2006-13) and HistoryMiami (2013-present).

LISTENING GALLERY: A HISTORY

Made possible by the Knight Foundation‘s 2010 Knight Arts Challenge Award, the Listening Gallery generated 30 different sound art installations and soundscapes designed and implemented by sound artist Gustavo Matamoros in collaboration with established artists set on creating works that experimented with the use of sound art in the context of public space.

The list of collaborating artists included, award-winning Fluxus artists Alison Knowles (NY), Miami sound artist Rene Barge (FL), vocal inventor and improviser Jaap Blonk (Netherlands), flute innovator Robert Dick (NY), inventor composer and sound artist David Dunn (NM, CA), sound installation artist Russell Frehling (NY, FL), linguistics composer Chris Mann (Australia, NY), electro-acoustic composer Wade Matthews (Spain), composer and media artist Phill Niblock (NY), Miami composer Armando Rodriguez (Cuba, FL), innovative guitarist Davey Williams (AL) and others.

Other such artists were in line to continue to create programming for this public sound art lab, but the Listening Gallery was temporarily discontinued when the building that housed it was sold by ArtCenter/South Florida. This exhibit intends to keep the project alive while SFCA [isaw+subtropics] finds a suitable site to transplant it.

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Subtropics XXIV is possible with support from City of Miami Beach’s Cultural Affairs Program and Cultural Arts Council; with additional support from Miami-Dade County, Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and by the Blank Family Foundation. SFCA [isaw+subtropics.org] would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Sennheiser, leaders in superior sound technology. Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) supports Subtropics XXIV through the Program for the Internationalization of Spanish Culture (PICE).