Negative Volumes: Shining Abyss

Wed 11 Apr 2018

This is a past program.
Main Exhibition Gallery

ACCA is pleased to host Negative Volumes: Shining Abyss presented by Liquid Architecture in association with ACCA, featuring performances by Betty Apple, Ela Stiles, Hextape, Romy Seven Fox. Shining Abyss will take place in ACCA’s vast and rarely empty gallery space during exhibition change over. This Negative Volumes event continues Liquid Architecture’s embrace of the blank gallery space as a space shimmering with potential to be rewritten. Through experimental sound and listening performance, this program relays a rethinking of feminist methodologies of affect, fetish, vulnerability, and unwholesome sensuality.

Betty Apple is one of the leading lights of  from a younger generation of avant-garde artists in Taiwan. Known for the radical sexual critique of her live performance work, Betty’s signature performance style, expressed across her highly accomplished live DJ and noise practice, combines specialisations in highly physical, critical and ritualistic forms. Betty created the Sound of Yin (陰性聲音) philosophy, where she improvises a facilitated dialogue between body and object. The main idea in this project is to symbolise what is repressed by the seemingly ‘perfect’ or ‘accurate’ sounds of science and patriarchy working in concert. Using body politics and performativity as her framework for critique, and drawing on her lived experience as a millennial living in post-colonial Taiwan, her work appropriates symbolic objects from kitsch culture and consumer society as sound elements — particularly mass-produced objects intended for eroticism or entertainment, such as vibrators, underwear and fluorescent paint, which are carried inside the body and expressed through violent and grotesque means. Increasingly, her recent work engages with the politics of waste and overconsumption, and the nexus of memory, detritus and divination. Apple’s aim is to study and deconstruct the chaotic and hysterical “noise text” that is created from input to output, distorted by dynamics introduced by humans as well as objects.

Ela Stiles is a Melbourne-based singer, experimental musician and producer. Recent work and performances have seen her shift dramatically and fabulously from experimental music into pop and dance music. For Shining Abyss she will perform electronically – Improvised vocal abstractions and song ideas, accompanied by synth and pre-made tape recordings.

Hextape is the solo project of Bridget Chappell, who brings her training as both a classical cellist and gabber DJ to her quest for the urgent dance music. As a producer she has toured Australia, Europe, and South-East Asia, and coordinates the Melbourne Squat Orchestra and co-organises Vapor Noir rave. As a sound activist, Bridget has pursued an agenda of celebrating and agitating for marginalised voices in electronic and experimental music, leading her to found the Melbourne Sound School, winner of the 2017 The Age Music Victoria Award as Best Avant-Garde Act.

Romy Seven Fox is a sound artist, sculptor and performer based in Melbourne. Her work primarily deals with exploring identity and body, protective witchcraft and navigating queer spaces as a trans-woman. Collectively she has performed in OMEGA MART (2012) by Meow Wolf (Santa Fe, NM), is half of Industrial R&B band Mild3w (with Mossy 333) and is an active member of performance art vehicle Embittered Swish. Individually she has performed creative work at Firstdraft Galleries, Airspace Projects, Randwick Council Eco Park, as part of FOMO’s ‘FAUX MO’ after-party in Hobart and Transgenre Festival.Currently she is working on “Estrogenesis”, an exploration of trans futures, medical dreams and nightmares, with Embittered Swish for the 2018 Next Wave Festival.

Negative spaces are never blank. Just as there is no space around objects, only objects in space, there is no gap between sounds, since there is no possibility of silence. Instead what we hear is the noise of the layers, the various shades and feints and foley and interstitial emissions that, stitched together, produce the reassuring throb of frequencies we are schooled to call “background”.

Similarly. A strobe light appears to come on and off, but what we see as light and dark made large, a perfect example of pure black and white, is not in fact discrete. What seems to be simply ‘on’ and ‘off’ is not a dyad. Rather, a strobe is a string, a set, a sequence of pulses giving way to each other: a swelling, an exploding, a fading and then a darkness, until the new swell lights up again. Despite appearances, despite conventional thinking, this is not binary.

In this program, there’s no figure and no ground. There is no negative space. An empty institution is never completely empty. Instead, it becomes a spatial politic for the throwing of light and shade. We invite a queering of the spatial politics of the invisible and visible, of the notions of audible and inaudible – a questioning of the question of ‘the one’ or ‘the other’ – in order to enter the space opened up by this voluminous negation.

In sound, how we structure sonic experience can provide models for how we structure community. The world is fucked. But, the gallery is empty. What will we do now?

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