Past Exhibition

Sound:On
Sonic experiences of cellular technology

December 17, 2013—February 10, 2014


Curatorial Statement

by Michael Blaine, Joygill Moriah, and Shaniqua Outlaw

Sound:On is an exhibition of sound art created by New Media Art student artists from Baruch College. The exhibition seeks to explore the plethora of sounds interjected into the cultural zeitgeist by computer and cellular technology.

The pieces featured in the exhibition question the role of cellular technology and its associated vernacular as both facilitators and disruptors of communication. The exhibit questions the dichotomy of sound that is both melodic and tuneful, while also an agent of aural pollution and confusion.

The exhibit's name, Sound:On, plays on the phrase "sound off," an expression which means to explain one's opinion forcefully. Our waking hours are forcefully bombarded with constant noise: alarms to wake each morning, music to drown out car horns, people chatting away while they walk the street, or the incessant hum from the recycled air vent at the doctors office. To "sound off" is Sound:On.

20th century composer, poet, and music theorist John Cage famously remarked, "Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating." Sound:On invites the listener to come face-to-face, both passively and actively, with that which has become a sonic, technological extension of our own bodies, right down to the phantom vibration in our cell phone pocket. Alarming, meditative, communicative, overwhelming, intimate and worldly, Sound:ON is cognitive dynamism.

Waiting for a Text, by Nick Delgaudio shows the slow evolution of data sound from that which is personal and transitory into the collective sea of our shared sound data experience. The artist invites the audience to define the limits of the line between our casual relationship with sound and the moment we become unwittingly and unwillingly trapped in its vortex.

In Let's Talk, Adriana Poveda reminisces about a moment in time in which cellular noise and the technological vernacular is not only overwhelming but also creates a communicative generational gap. What happens when those who share a common language find they can no longer effectively communicate? Presented with spoken Spanish dialogue, this work allows non-Spanish speaking listeners to share the experience of confusion and disorientation that swirls around the subject.

In Yangseub Lim's piece, Space Orchestra, the artist chooses to juxtapose sounds of cellular technology with sounds associated with the notion of outer space, evoking questions about the correlational relationship between sound and isolationism. This work teases questions of the nature of musicality and the paradoxical relationship between the cold din of noise and the comfort of its embrace.

Delgaudio, Poveda, and Lim created these sound art works during the Fall 2013 semester for Introduction to New Media Arts (NMA 2050).

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The New Media Artspace is a teaching exhibition space in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Baruch College, CUNY. Housed in the Newman Library, the New Media Artspace showcases curated experimental media and interdisciplinary artworks by international artists, students, alumni, and faculty.
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