Sound Art Text
All about sound art. And art with sound. And sound in art. And sometimes music, installation and film. And often Fluxus.
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This weekend, I traveled to Bristol to explore the exhibition Sounding the CIty. It was in a wonderfully weird venue - an Edwardian toilet.
The first entrance leads to the vestibule of the men’s. Annotated maps are pinned to the walls, speakers are concealed in the cisterns. A wash of field recordings - bells, birds, street life, waves - echo off the tiled walls.
The entrance to the ladies’ leads into the mirror lined powder room. The gendered differences between the men’s and the ladies’ are treated neutrally; the most important features of the space are acoustics and architecture. Again, old and new maps of Bristol line the walls. This room is silent, and leaves space to read, reflect and add thoughts to the guest book.
Three cubicles invite the visitor to don headphones. The performative element is unavoidable; your entry confines you to a solitary listening experience within your chosen compartment, which for comforts sake can only be done by sitting on the cobwebbed toilet seat that time forgot.
Seagulls, a bell tolls, water splashes, far off people murmur - these are the Sounds of Bristol. I’d be interested in hearing these in contrast to other cities near the sea - does Bristol sound very different to Liverpool, Cardiff or Ipswich?