Sat 16 Apr 2016

This is a past program.
ACCA Main Exhibition Gallery

Sound as Consequence is convened by NEW16 artist Julian Day and brings together a community of artists to explore the possibilities for sound within an exhibition context. Symposium includes mini keynote lectures from Julian Day and Joel Stern, a panel conversation with artists Eric Demetriou, Camilla Hannan, Thembi Soddell and Danae Valenza, and performances by Thembi Soddell, Eric Demetriou and Herbert Jercher.

$5, Bookings essential.

Mini Key-note lectures:

Julian Day, Action and Relation
In recent years the museum has increasingly embraced performance, continuing its shift (or return) from a space of display to a space of action. Choreographers and theatre makers are among the most visible actors in this turn. How, then, might sound fit within this? As Brandon LaBelle notes in his 2006 book Background Noise, ‘sound is unignorably relational’. It is an invisible yet palpable energy, perceived by and frequently enacted by the body. This paper extends this notion to sketch a prospective ‘relational aesthetics of sound’. It positions sound within broader dialogues around social practice and participation, helping emancipate it from its disciplinary yoke towards a fuzzier focus on the interpersonal and territorial. Within this framework, sound is inherently an action – between people, within space – and is thus deeply political. No longer a kinetic diversion, sound is a dynamic means to critique the world around us.

Joel Stern, Expanded Sonic Practice
This talk takes American sound theorist Seth Kim-Cohen’s notion of ‘expanded sonic practice’ as a starting point for discussing curatorial approaches to sound and listening. Kim-Cohen has argued that an ‘expanded sonic practice’ must foreground the spectator’s subjectivity, the space of reception, and the context of performance. In other words, it should not focus on the sound itself, but the relations it engenders. Following this lead, how can curators 'think' sound beyond the debates of medium (i.e., the ontologies of 'sound'), and rather, as a critical tool or methodology (i.e. the epistemologies of ‘sound’)? To what extent might curators read and (re)frame works—ranging from visual art to writing to theatre to comedy to music—through the prism of audibility? Is it possible to both reject sound’s medium specificity in lieu of an expanded and fundamentally interdisciplinary approach, but still embrace sound art as a discrete category?


Eric Demetriou and Herbert Jercher collaborate in a sonic exploration of the Australian art of whip cracking; performing improvised music with various Australian stock whips, low frequency cycle waves and 44 Gallon drum implosions. 

Thembi Soddell will be presenting a work drawn from her PhD research into first-person madness narratives, which explores the embodiment of trauma, emotional extremes and psychological distress within sound. This work includes sounds sampled from Alice Hui-Sheng Chang (voice), Jim Denley (flute), Samuel Dunscombe (clarinet), Emah Fox (voice), Cat Hope (electric bass) and Marty Kay (field recording).

Symposium participants:

Julian Day is an artist, composer, writer and broadcaster who treats sound as a vital means of examining the world. Julian looks to sound's deeply relational and territorial properties as a series of tensions between abstract and political forces. This plays out in site-responsive performances, installation, video and text. Julian also performs as An Infinity Room (AIR) and co-directs Super Critical Mass, a large-scale participatory project that uses sound and social connection to frame public places as heightened sites for interaction.

Eric Demetriou is an artist whose work incites a thrill-seeking experience flirting with trouble, danger and pleasure, through outcomes of kinetic sound-based sculpture. Compiling a body of work that investigates the application of noise, partnered with a mischievous demeanor, his research focuses on connotations of noise being an undesired excess material, with a political economy that anticipates a reception of hostility.

Camilla Hannan is a sound artist who works primarily with field recordings. She processes these recordings into abstract representations of place and experience. Camilla has a particular interest in site-specific work outside of the traditional gallery context, working in installation, composition and radio.

Herbert Jercher is a multi-disciplined sound artist working as a guitarist, composer, performance artist, sound sculptor and educator as well as an active member of the Australian Whip crackers & Plaiters Association (AWPA). He creates sound sculptures that encourage interaction by people of all ages and abilities.

Thembi Soddell is a sound artist, electroacoustic composer and practice-led researcher with an interest in psychology, perception, extreme emotion and the subjectivity of experience. Thembi works primarily with the sampler, generating sounds from field recordings, instrument textures, played found objects and synthesis to form surreal and ambiguous realisations of place and experience.

Joel Stern is a curator and artist based in Melbourne. He's a PhD candidate in curatorial practise at MADA: Monash Art Design and Architecture and, with Danni Zuvela, is the artistic director of sound art organisation Liquid Architecture. Joel's other projects include experimental film collective OtherFilm and Australian/Indonesian initiative The Instrument Builders Project. He has been responsible for festivals, publications, exhibitions, screenings and concerts in Australia and internationally for over ten years—both independently and under the aegis of major institutions. Joel performs often as a solo artist and as part of the groups Sky Needle and Soft Power.   

Danae Valenza is an interdisciplinary artist with a strong interest in music and collaboration. In her ‘phono-social’ experiments, Valenza works with musicians, performers, technicians and composers, producing works with a dynamic ‘visual musicality’, which are also informed by the history of music and the visual arts.

Audio files

Sound as Consequence – Panel Discussion