A Thing Heard: Four ways of listening

Wed 16Aug

At The Middle Floor

A Thing Heard: Four Ways of Listening is a collaborative tour showcasing the work of four contemporary British artists working in the field of sound art. The artists have curated a collection of sculptural artworks that use sound as the primary medium, exploring the inherent materiality and physicality of sound through a range of media, working methods, and outcomes. The works utilise both conventional and unconventional methods of sound production; combining high-tech electronics (loudspeakers, computers, sensors, surface transducers) and customised sculptural elements (wood, rope, sheet metal, bioplastics, carbonated liquids, pyrotechnics) to demonstrate four distinct ways of working with sound in an artistic discipline.

Jordan Edge’s Acclimate is a temperature-reactive sound installation that uses industrial fans and loudspeakers to explore the physical and psychological effects of noise on the human body. Joseph Higgins’ Many Gods, Many Voices is an electro-acoustic composition and sound installation, using a bespoke sonic table to embody the ‘otherness’ of the human voice. Joshua Legallienne’s Action Without Action is a series of kinetic sculptures that produce acoustic sound without the use of loudspeakers, electronics, or conventional sources of energy. Charles Pender’s Maelström is an immersive multi-channel installation using surface transducers to propagate sound into suspended sheets of metal. The artists will install, present, and de-install the works in each venue within the timeframe of a single evening. Originally developed as long-form installations, the works have been adapted for the concert format specifically for this tour. By showcasing the work in this context, the artists hope the tour will bring sonic arts to a wider, more inclusive, audience.

All four artists currently live and work in Brighton, UK.

Jordan Edge – Acclimate (2017)

Acclimate is a temperature-reactive sound installation exploring the physical and psychologi- cal effects of noise on the human body. Four prepared oscillating fans are positioned in a cross formation; each fan coupled with a loudspeaker emitting pink noise to articulate its position in space. The fans act as sonic objects, generating their own sound as well as modulating the sounds from the loudspeakers through airflow regulation. Temperature sensors dictate the speed of each fan, which in turn, create fluctuations in air pressure at a molecular level. These subtle shifts in the air affect the way in which sound is propagated and spatially diffused; creating a complex listening experience that is different with every encounter. The piece acts as a metaphor for homeostasis, the human body’s ability to constantly regulate itself in response to changes in external conditions.

Jordan Edge (b. 1993, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

Jordan Edge is a Brighton-based sound artist, sound designer, and performer. Edge’s practice communicates the act of listening over time, and listening as a process to develop greater understanding of our environmental and sonic surroundings. In his most recent work, Edge has been experimenting with industrial fans to manipulate the medium through which sound travels, creating reactive sound environments that explore the physical and psychological effects of noise on the human body. Edge was the recipient of the Seoul Award of Excellence for his most recent installation work, Acclimate. Edge also produces music under the alias Red Hook Grain Terminal with future releases confirmed on Always Human Tapes (US) and Audio.Visuals. Atmosphere (BE).

Joseph Higgins – Many Gods, Many Voices (2017)

Many Gods, Many Voices is a 4-channel electro-acoustic composition and sound installation. The centerpiece of the work is a bespoke wooden table, 8 foot in length, with two loudspeaker drivers embedded into the surface at either end. Two additional loud- speakers expand the sonic field, creating a bi-directional corridor of sound. Focused on the ‘otherness’ of the voice, the piece takes reference from Dada and early experiments in sound poetry to produce an exploration of non-semantic vocal and bodily sounds. The language-less voice provides all of the sonic material; coughs, splutters, groans, and other usually undesirable involuntary bodily sounds are sent back and forth at high velocity to produce an unsettling experience. The work takes its name from T. S. Eliot’s 1941 poem The Dry Salvages, and uses Eliot’s portrayal of the sea’s ability to speak without language as a conceptual starting point.

Joseph Higgins (b. 1994, Cambridge)

Joseph Higgins is mostly known through his DJ and production work under artist names Metrist and L.SAE. After breaking onto the scene in 2014, Higgins has performed inter- nationally and released work on labels such as Opal Tapes (UK), Fifth Wall (US), Parachute Records (IT), and Osiris Music (UK). Higgins cites his influences mostly from the world of acousmatic, electro-acoustic music, and musique concrète; this is evident in both his electro-acoustic compositions, and more club-focussed work. Alongside his work as Metrist, Higgins has been developing his sound art practice, experimenting with multi-channel arrays and exploring the embodiment of the voice into sculptural objects. Higgins continues to release records as Metrist, with two 12” vinyl releases scheduled for 2017 alone.

Joshua Legallienne – Action Without Action (2012-2017)

Action Without Action is an ongoing series of sculptural works that produce sound without the use of loudspeakers, electronics, or conventional sources of energy. Using non- traditional, everyday materials such as ice, water, gases, pyrotechnics, sheet metal, glass, bioplastic sheeting; the works elicit chemical reactions and undergo physical processes to produce spatial arrays of unamplified, acoustic sound through kinetic movement. Each sculpture has been constructed to be responsive to the conditions of its environment, allowing for different sonic outcomes with each installation. By providing intimate experiences with a single focus, these works attempt to highlight the importance of listening and its role in staying present in an increasingly fractured and virtual world.

Joshua Legallienne (b. 1985, Harlow)

Through sculpture and performance, Joshua Legallienne explores the sonic qualities of everyday materials; focusing on the creation of high-fidelity sound without the use of loudspeakers, electronics, or conventional sources of energy. Fascinated by the quiet sounds at the threshold of perception, Legallienne constructs fragile systems that create subtle acoustic sound through physical movement. His work investigates the interplay between environmental phenomena and the physical properties of raw materials, favour- ing those which have the ability to transform over time. Legallienne’s work has performed and exhibited in Germany, Norway, and the UK. He is the sonic arts curator for Fort Process, a biennial sound art festival held in Newhaven, UK; and runs ppppp., a vinyl only record label that promotes sound art and improvised music.

Charles Pender – Maelström (2017)

Maelström is an immersive multi-channel installation using surface transducers to propagate sound into physical materials. Reflecting on the philosophical theory of emanation, the work attempts to evoke strong psychological and physical responses; representing ‘the soul’s descent’ through sonic means. Surface transducers are attached to each sheet, transferring bass frequencies directly into the materials. Electrical impulses are converted to vibration, producing acoustic sound from the physical movement of the sheets. Variations in sound pressure exploit the sheets’ resonant frequencies to produce a complex array of harmonics and natural plate reverberation. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s 1841 short story, A Descent into the Maelström, the work explores the concept of the maelström as a symbol of human consciousness, ‘a whirlpool of emotion’.

Charles Pender (b. 1993, Salisbury)

Charles Pender is a sound artist whose work explores the physicality and perception of sound within an installation context. His current practice combines multi-channel sound diffusion and the manipulation of sheet metal to produce immersive and engaging experi- ences for audiences. Influenced by architectural design and acoustics, Pender creates visceral environments through the articulation of space through sound, that are as much for the body as the ear. Pender also creates music under the alias face.v, with music released on Phinery (DK) earlier this year.