“Loss sheds a light on what remains, and in that light all that we have and all that we have had glows more brightly still.”
- Michael Bywater, Lost Worlds.
Sound is temporal and temporary; a reproduced sound recording is a physical, analogue approximation of a thing that once was. Hauntology can be defined as something which is simultaneously backwards- and forwards-looking. As Dunning's first solo show outside the UK, this exhibition collates some early, non-site-specific works establishing these as some of the main themes in his practice.
Untitled with Records and Hammer (2009)
Viewers are invited to smash a vinyl record with a hammer, on a workbench. The diminishing pile of unbroken records and the growing amount of detritus form part of the installation. The records used were each carefully considered and bought by the artist in an attempt to become a professional DJ. As such it is a personally cathartic piece and an autodestructive rebirth, acting as a meditation on ambition and failure.
Found bottles are hung at heights determined by the numbers on their bases, in an order prescribed by chance-determination; a corresponding composition consists of the pitched-down sound of each bottle being tapped, assigned to a note according to the same numbers. The work is the culmination of a pseudo-archaeological investigation through an imagined narrative, questioning the “objectivity” of an object.
Visitors are invited to read into a microphone from a children’s book while wearing headphones: The sound from the microphone is delayed and fed back to the readers, causing them to stutter and slur their speech. The nostalgic use of a children's story book clashes with the frustration of impeded reading.