Cerith Wyn Evans and Throbbing Gristle: A=P=P=A=R=I=T=I=O=N
- Talitha Kotzé
- 3 September 2009
This numinous aural experience induces a sublime synaesthesia
Spectral sounds evolve to embody form, moving back and forth, spellbound, projected from and rotating around mobiles consisting of circular mirrors varying in diameter. Electronic noise music sounds like trance-inducing Buddhist singing bowls for the 21st century. In polyphonic harmony, they bring about a calming effect.
The installation, consisting of a white neon sign written across the length of the gallery and a mobile sound piece which hides speakers, is a collaboration between Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans and industrial music pioneers and ‘wreckers of civilisation’ Throbbing Gristle.
The piece makes use of hypersonic sound. This directional loudspeaker technology, called ‘audio spotlighting’, generates inaudible ultrasound which become predictable as it travels through the air and enables a manipulation of how sound will travel and in effect creates sound within the air itself.
Sounds and objects become interchangeable. The mobiles (one side mirror, the other shaped like honey comb speakers) hang beautifully in the Tramway space, reflecting spots of colour, tram lines, dark doorways and people’s limbs. Small particles of sound become near visible micro-organisms – swarming like electronic bees, or near visible incorporeal spirits.
Sketched in white light, the neon sign spells out part of a text by James Merril, writer of epic occult communication with other worldly spirits. The text seems fitting as it attempts to transcend this dimension and enter a realm beyond words: ‘… rinsed with mercury throughout to this bespattered fruit of reflection, rife with distortion (each other, cloud and trees). What made a mirror flout its flat convention? Surfacing when the stars alone like bees crawled numbly over it?’
Totally connected in concept and form, this numinous aural experience induces a sublime synaesthesia as we wait for the sounds to manifest in form before us. Poetically beautiful and radiant, this exhibition will captivate and liberate in equal measure.
Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 27 Sep