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My Substitute Life

By Rhizome

The B!AS International Sound Art Exhibition focuses on 'the various changing states of sound in modern environments, with lifestyles directly replaced by sound wave frequencies being the natural composite of harshness, authority, vulgarity and ambiguity.' Okaaay, let’s unpack that! Curated around the theme, 'Life Substituted: Sound Wave Frequency,' the show's contributors use sound to isolate and intensify distinct aspects of society and our position within it. For example, Maywa Denki's 'Switched On Kappa 2005' is a live performance that the artist calls a 'product demonstration,' involving fish-motif nonsense machines, original musical instruments, and flower-motif objets d'art. Christina Kubisch's 'Bird Tree' brings nature and technology together in an interactive installation that allows the visitor to receive and mix sounds via a wireless headset. Incorporating emerging and established artists, the show offers new media approaches to art-making that should stimulate new questions: How does the privileging of sound create fresh discourse around traditional visual art? Does this project complexify or dumb down notions of identity, place, and dialogism? Is bricolage the new aesthetic? Opening on 24 September and running through 20 November, it’s definitely worth a look. Or a listen. - Peggy MacKinnon

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