Sound Bites City

The inaugural exhibition of RMIT University’s new Sound Art Collection.

Sound Bites City will showcase the new  RMIT University Sound Art Collection – the first of its kind in Australia – and offer audiences the chance to experience 19 new and significant works by leading Australian and international sound artists.

The exhibition takes place in the Torus – an exciting circular structure that has been specially designed by architects, engineers and sound designers based in RMIT’s SIAL unit to provide the best way to exhibit sound.

The Torus will take up the entire main gallery, with overlapping ‘boughs’ of red cedar forming a canopy around a thin fabric skin – it will be an airy shell, a sonic tunnel, a pioneering spacio-acoustic marvel constructed by RMIT architecture and design students.

The immersive sounds experienced inside the Torus will introduce audiences to works especially commissioned by, or acquired from, artists from Australia, Canada, UK, Germany, US, and France.

Visitors are invited to stroll through a 16 channel speaker system, finishing on a raised mini landscape where they can relax on the faux lawn while enjoying the best aural vantage point to hear the works.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to browse through any part of the Collection on headphones, and to watch the composition of a work in progress.

A unique addition to Australian culture, this is the first dedicated sound art collection in an Australian university. For over two years RMIT Gallery has worked closely with sound and design researchers at the University to select the inaugural works and develop an exhibition platform for spatial electroacoustic sound works.

The Collection includes 2010 Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz’s We’ll All Go Together, leading Australian sound artists Sonia Leber and David Chesworth’s Sydney Olympic Park Commission 5000 Calls, and the pioneering Bill Fontana’s Kirribilli Wharf.

There will also be scheduled performances of work by Steve Stelios Adam, Philip Brophy, Christophe Charles, Bill Fontana, Katrin Isabel Ernst, Susan Frykberg, Christine Groult, Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, Nick Murray and Carl Anderson, Susan Philipsz, Douglas Quin, Stephan Schütze, Daniel Teruggi, Horacio Vaggione, Chris Watson and Christian Zanési, as well as a chance to glimpse a work in progress by Richard Barrett and Daryl Buckley.

The works exist across a wide sonic palette, encompassing vocalisations of everyday life; animal calls and soundscapes from the natural environment; sounds from the island of Madeira and the coast of West Africa; the human voice strained to breaking, the making and drinking of coffee; the lapping of water in Sydney Harbour.

For this exhibition the pieces will be continuously scheduled in the Gallery, while the Collection will eventually be heard on a new soundscape system planned for RMIT’s city campus.

The exhibition is being co-curated by Associate Professor Lawrence Harvey, Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) Sound Studios, School of Architecture and Design, Suzanne Davies, RMIT Gallery Director and Chair of the RMIT Collection Advisory Committee; and Jon Buckingham, Collections Coordinator, RMIT Gallery. Gallery.



Steve Stelios Adam, Richard Barrett and Daryl Buckley, Philip Brophy, Christophe Charles, Katrin Isabel Ernst, Bill Fontana, Susan Frykberg, Christine Groult, Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, Nick Murray and Carl Anderson, Susan Philipsz, Douglas Quin, Stephan Schütze, Daniel Teruggi, Horacio Vaggione, Chris Watson and Christian Zanési.

Lawrence Harvey interview with Evelyn Tsitas RMIT Gallery (iTunes)



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