[rumori] review: sound art show at Refusalon Gallery

joel [rumori] review: sound art show at Refusalon Gallery
Fri, 11 Dec 1998 11:01:32 -0800 (00913402892, v03007800b29708003b6dat[])

>I seldom have as much patience for gallery shows as I would like to have.
>But one pleasant thing about art in a gallery is that it's usually a very
>non-linear, almost interactive experience. One can wander, scan, pause,
>and gaze at will, viewing the pieces in whatever order is desired,
>skipping over ones that don't immediately catch one's fancy, lingering
>over others that hold the attention.

I like this about gallerys also. I guess I look at them the way I walk
around a carnival or play video game. I want to see good stuff right now,
totally amasing, give it to me yeah yeah yeah! I remember seeing some
pieces at MOCA and this guy had some pieces that were indicated on the wall
with the generic nametags with titles like "radio frequency 82 killohertz". I got so excited i wanted to jump up and down. It was way better than
"Total Recall", which was pretty lousy anyway. If there are lots of things on display that are not intresting to me at a gallery or a midway, i
try to spend some time to get deeper. What is going on here? Why does
someone make this? What was going on? What was it like to make all those
identical stuffed animals in a factory in China? What do those colors mean
to someone? Do I just not get it? Probly. I have pretty much fun at

>First, my expectations: I was hoping to see and hear a bizarre variety of
>sculptural devices, actual physical objects that made sound.

Lo, the precious few times i have seen a show that featured anything like
this i lament. If just half of the paintings i have seen of pastel fields
of color on pastel fields of color were mechanical noisemakers and
fiddle-dee-doos I would go to twice as many openings.

>player has a pair of headphones, and a custom cd-r with one track by one
>artist (with a couple exceptions).
>My immediate reaction was, well, why a gallery? Why not just sell the CD?

Headphones are usually so not fun in a gallery. Like a concert, headphones
imply a kind of listening that takes sit-down time. The sad thing is that
there are so many other ways to put the sound in a space. parabolic
speakers are great because they can be mounted on the cieling pointing
straight down. you can hear them great if you stand under them, but not if
you walk away. And a room full of them would produce a gentle collage as
you move from one to the next. There are lots of good reasons to put the
music in headphones, but it is usually not so exciting or inspiring to
encounter this in a gallery. But when the headphones are suspended in oil,
mmmmmmm. jol