Is sound a sculpture ?

Screenshot 2015-03-04 at 15.47.53

There’s been some interesting things going on around the the Henry Moore Institute recently, people chipping away at big blocks outside reducing them to dust, clay being thrown at the outside of the building so I was intrigued when I heard about a travelling wave so popped along this lunchtime to see what that was about.  Apparently all of these are part of an Event Sculpture series which encompasses sound, objects, dance, action, images.  These events happen (mostly outside the gallery) and then the results have moved into the gallery so that they now exist within a gallery space, no longer an event ?  Something like that, anyway back to sound as sculpture, I’ve heard the expression aural sculpture used to describe music and for me it fits with the sort of sound created by a band like Godspeed You Black Emperor or Mogwai and of course it’s also the name of an album by The Strangers but is sound, something that you cannot see a sculpture?

The Traveling Wave  by Anthony McCall creates the sound (loudly) of an ocean that ‘crashes’ and moves through the gallery space powered by a series of space age looking speakers arrayed along the floor.  It’s strange being in Leeds, nowhere near the sea, been assailed by the sound of the ocean.  It creates feelings of times spent near the ocean, holidays and memories for me came vividly to the fore.  I did feel transported and it challenged my perception of art and sculpture and was of course as different a break as I could have had from my desk which is no bad thing at all.  I often talk to my kids about what is art and this is certainly something open for debate and I have no idea whether or not this is a sculpture after all beyond the speakers there is nothing to see.  Made me think though that’s for sure.

What was slightly odd was that alongside this there were a couple of people cavorting around the floor in various embraces and kisses, which I realised after several moments of bemusement was another event sculpture called Kiss by Tino Sehgal and then also around the gallery there was the noise of hammering – the sound of which is all that is left from the event a while ago that had large blocks chiselled away outside the gallery.  So in that case something did exist and now it doesn’t and all that is left is the sound of what happened.  Scratches head.

An utterly intriguing and thought provoking way to spend a lunchtime

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One thought on “Is sound a sculpture ?

  1. When I went to have a listen it was taking place in the corridoor at the front entrance. What struck me in terms of ‘sculpture’ is that it effectively turned the cement ‘box’ that we were all standing inside into another space… like the sound was trapped in space like one of those mini-wave machines you see scientists rig up, inside a perspex box. Shutting my eyes and listening seemed to turn the space I was standing in into a little enclosed canal where a boat might come and moor up.

    I kind of enjoyed it, cos I’m big on capturing natural sounds. Twas a clever way to represent ebb & flow. Because I tended to stand at teh mid-way point I could almost imagine knee high water rushing around me as it ‘passed’.

    Was ‘The Kiss’ thing in the same room then? I think that’d spoil the experience for me, as it sounded really pretentious, hahaha ;D

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