Surrounding Sound

Surrounding Sound

24.11.2005 Sossa Jorgensen

Driving home one afternoon, I was listening to a radio program discussing what music you should not listen to when being in the traffic. British researchers concluded that heavy rock and sounds of car crashes was not recommended. Maybe not surprising?

This summer, we hoped that drivers would listen to sound art on the car radio, without considering consequences for the traffic. The idea was to introduce sound art in a new manner. For a ten years period we have been focusing on finding different ways to show sound art, under the label BallongMagasinet.
When the audience approached the gallery F-15, outside Moss, where we had organised the sound art exhibition ”The Idea of North”, they would be introduced to the show already on the car radio.

The exhibition focused on sound in different ways: installations, broadcasts, soundscapes and a listening lounge. Each work dealing with the topic “sound and site”.

The listening lounge was a compilation of sound pieces presented in headphones. When reflected upon, it had a similarity with our childhood’s audio experiences: Sitting in an ear chair, listening to children’s morning radio, creating images from what we heard. Only here, the chairs were custom-designed from scrap metal and the content in the different hubs was more complex: Categorized as ”Abstractions”, ”Concrete landscapes”, ”Changes” and ”Tales”.

The chosen tracks ranging from musical compositions, noise, audio plays and sounds capes, to text sound compositions, all connected to the theme of the exhibition. It was important sharing this with the audience as it was anchoring the exhibition historically and contemporary. But just as much: No library or museum in Norway yet provides such material.

Exposing sound art in an art gallery can be like watching a film: the visual and the auditive language becomes one: The two medias merging makes you feel surrounded by the art piece and what is sound and what is visuals has less importance. Some reactions from the audience were pointing at this, saying that in this exhibition the borders between architecture and artworks were diminished.

Søssa Jørgensen.
Visual artist,
Founder of BallongMagasinet together with Yngvild Færøy.