Scurried over to The Bluecoat early this afternoon to catch the Listening exhibition before it closed today. As soon as we ventured in I was drawn to the beautiful, unearthly sounds of female voices singing. Although I was unable to decipher actual words, the sounds pulled me closer, and I followed the sound, in part out of curiosity to find out what words the voices were singing. Primarily, as I’ve said, it was purely the sound that caused me to stop and move toward it, as a starting point to listening, and I had no thought of whether following this could have any negative implications! No surprise then to find out this exhibit by Ragnar Kjartansson was called Song and ‘summons the spirits of the infamous Sirens of Greek mythology’. It seems I would have been lured away quite easily had I been in Odysseus’s shoes...
Seawomen by Mikhail Karikis, captivating both visually and sonically, focused on the deep sea diving women of South Korea who practice an ancient breathing technique in order to dive to great depths. To someone afraid of open water swimming, these women (apparently in their sixties) are amazingly inspiring in their skill and bravery - they took to the open water with a matter-of-factness and they looked elated on the return boat journey. Back on land they are also the coolest biker women!
The Whisper Heard by Imogen Stidworthy was the exhibit I was most interested in hearing. The separation of voices, and dislocation effected by presenting a voice minus figure, has proved informative to my own project on sound in poetry. More to follow on that...
Glad I got to experience this fun and interactive exhibition, especially exhibits such as Laurie Anderson’s The Handphone Table - sitting at this with our elbows placed on the table (I clearly remember getting told off for doing that as a child!) and cupped over our ears, we were able to hear sounds traveling from the table, up the bones of our arms, to our ears!