Either Ear

Either Ear, Sarah Hughes installation view, various painted wooden and brick objects

Ryoko Akama and Sarah Hughes

The first event organised under the banner of Either Ear, a curatorial collaboration between SoundFjord and Kostis Kilymis, was a one-day exhibition of sound art that had hardly any sound in it. The only strictly sonic component to be heard at Cafe Oto’s project space in east London was a high-pitched sine tone coming from Ryoko Akama’s installation, which was just about audible in the intervals between trains coming and going at the nearby station. The sine wave was apparently modified by the input from a contact mic placed on the sandbags from which the walls of the space were built, but it was hard to hear precisely how this input contributed to the fluctuations in the tone — perhaps to the work’s benefit. More easily graspable was the visual and conceptual correspondence between the two architectures of the project space on the one hand and the row of small perspex pyramids through which the tone was fed on the other.

Either Ear, Ryoko Akama installation view
Either Ear, Ryoko Akama installation view

Continuing in the architectural vein was Sarah Hughes’ assorted sculptural objects made from painted bricks and pieces of wood, arranged in what she termed a ‘composition’. This work made no sound, nor did it mimic time-based art forms through translations such as obvious linear or sequential arrangements, for example. As such, thinking of it as a work of sound art presented something of a challenge. My eventual feeling was that it was not, but that it didn’t impose any particular restrictions on its perception, sitting comfortably within a sound-related context without needing to produce sound itself. This points to a certain mobility or nomadic propensity: the work is able to move more or less freely between various discourses and circles of distribution, to be present without imposing a particular frame of reference. Being quietly present is something Hughes’ more audible outputs often do very well — take “The Good Life”, her collaborative record with Kilymis, for example.

It was good to see quite a number of people drop by to see and hear what was going on, and the arrangement of the venue made space for conversation as well as contemplation. I’m intrigued to hear and see more from both these artists, and to learn what Either Ear will do next.




http://thesorg.noise-below.org (Kostis Kilymis / Organised Music From Thessaloniki)

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